English is the official language in Jamaica, but a local language based on a mixture of English, Spanish and African languages is also spoken.

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Jamaica’s official currency is the Jamaican dollar. You won’t have any trouble finding ATMs, banks and exchange bureaus. The exchange bureaus at the airports and hotels usually have better rates than banks. Cash and traveler’s checks are best exchanged in US dollars, and major credit cards are widely accepted.

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Jamaica’s international country code is 1, followed by 876. To call another country from Jamaica, dial 00 followed by the appropriate country code. The main towns and resorts usually have Internet cafes, and web access is available at hotels and parish libraries.

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Tips are usually included in the all-inclusive resorts, but everywhere else you should tip 10 to 15 percent for taxis, personal services and room service. Restaurants sometimes include a service charge, but you should tip 10 to 15 percent if not. It’s customary to tip parking attendants, bellboys and porters $1 for each bag or drink.

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Jamaica has a high level of crime and violence. Stay alert and watch your surroundings. Avoid walking or using public transport at night and don’t resist if you find yourself the target of an attempted robbery. Never give strangers a ride. Be cautious when traveling to and from the airport and avoid the Mountain View route. You should also be cautious on the Hummingbird route at night and avoid ever walking alone on the beaches or in isolated areas.

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No vaccinations are required to enter the country. If you’re coming from an area infected with yellow fever, you’ll need to provide a yellow fever vaccination certificate upon arrival. There are risks of dengue fever and leptospirosis in Jamaica. Protect yourself against mosquitoes and stay away from rivers and dams. The tap water is generally safe, but can cause upset stomachs. It’s a good idea to stick to bottled water if you’re on a short trip. The country’s medical facilities are reasonably good, but can be very expensive, so make sure you are covered by health insurance.

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Jamaica’s electrical current is 110 volts, 50Hz and uses flat, two-pinned and three-pinned plugs.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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