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Cost To Live In Jamaica
What Would Living In Jamaica Cost?

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Cost To Live In Jamaica | A Trip To The SupermarketCost To Live In Jamaica | A Trip To The Supermarket

Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer

There are times when Jamaica gets so attractive that you want to stay longer. Or, maybe you got a job and need temporary accommodations. Whatever your reason to live on the island, you should be guided by the information that I will share with you as we explore the cost to live in Jamaica.

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1. Housing

The housing option you choose depends on your reasons for moving to Jamaica,  your financial situation, the number of persons making the trip with you etc.


Renting works for persons who are not planning on living in Jamaica full time; you're only planning on living on the island for a certain period.  If you are moving alone or haven’t yet pinpointed the area of Jamaica you would like to live in and would like to test out a few areas first, then this is the best option for you.

  1. The rent you pay will be dictated by:
  2. The area (whether it is rural or urban)
  3. The size of the house/apartment
  4. The amenities (pool, security, gym, etc)

Rural areas will always have cheaper rent, and you could take advantage of that if you are willing to give up on certain luxuries.

A 1 bedroom apartment in rural areas can be as cheap as JMD 12,000 (US 76) or up to JMD 20,000 (US 128) which in many cases is furnished accommodation.

In urban areas, the breakdown is a little different. You can still find accommodations for JMD 12,000 but essentially you will get what you pay for. Rent this cheap usually means it is shared accommodations, it isn’t a modern home or the house is in an unsavoury area.

For comfortable living accommodations for a single person, rent can cost JMD 25,000-30,000 (US 160-192). This will sometimes only cover rent, furnished accommodations can cost an additional JMD 5,000 (US 32) to JMD 10,000 (US 64) depending on how furnished the accommodations might be.

Some cities too are more expensive than others, in Kingston for example, single person accommodation can cost up to JMD 50,000 (US 320) with not many amenities included. Renting for a family is going to be alot more expensive. If you live in an average neighbourhood a 2 bedroom home is at the very least JMD 85,000 (US 544), again this comes with the most basic of amenities. You would not get appliances or furniture.

The more affluent communities will be more expensive. They are usually closer to shopping centres, the apartments are more modern and oftentimes have a shared pool and gym for the residents of the apartment complex.

Some apartments have 24-hour security as well. For accommodations like this for a single bedroom apartment, it will cost JMD 156,000 (US 1,000) to JMD 187,200 (US 1,200). A 2 bedroom apartment can cost JMD 234,000 (US 1500) to JMD 312,000 (US 2,000).

Buying A Home

Buying a home is basically ruled by the same criteria. The bigger the home, the “better” the community, then the more expensive it will get. A standard 2 bedroom is JMD 18,000,000 (US 115,384).

Building your home in Jamaica is a story all to itself, but it is a great option as you would be able to build your home exactly the way you want. Realtors are great options to consider whether you are buying renting or leasing.

2. Utilities

So your main utilities in Jamaica will be electricity, water and internet. More often than not, if you are moving to Jamaica and you are not a retiree, you’ll be working freelance and would definitely rely more heavily on reliable internet.


Some more rural areas do not have reliable internet yet, and those that do are not using the services of the main service providers in Jamaica, Flow and Digicel. That is something to consider.

Flow is the most used internet service provider as Digicel’s broadband services are not quite as fast outside of the corporate area. The average price for internet from Flow is JMD 5,000 (US 32), this gives you 20mps upload and 10mps download speed. For a plan with 100mps upload and 50mps download speed, you will be paying between JMD 7,000 (US 44) and JMD 12,000 (US 76).

If you only use the internet for recreational purposes and live alone, then the cheaper option might work for you. But if it will be used by a family or you rely on the internet for work, the faster speed is worth the expense.


We only have one company in Jamaica that supplies electricity, it is the Jamaica Public Service (JPS). The price of electricity is heavily dependent on the cost of imported oil and the Jamaican to US dollar exchange rate. The higher either one of them goes, the more expensive electricity bills become.

For the average single-person household, electricity will cost JMD 5,000 (US 32) to JMD 6,000 (US 38) and that is if you have basic appliances (a refrigerator, microwave and fan), if you say, work from home, or have a family of 2 or more you will be looking on JMD 8,000 (US 51). Amenities like AC, electric water heating or stove will significantly increase your bill.


The National Water Commission (NWC) is our only water provider and the reliance on them is great, especially in urban areas. In very rural areas, this is not an expense and most people have concrete tanks or plastic drums that pipe water to their homes or they just use buckets.

Urban persons do not have the luxury of space to set up their own water supply and also because it is almost always apartment complexes, it isn’t allowed or sensible to do so either. 

The average bill for a single person without a washing machine and dishwasher is JMD 2,500, but hand washing is still pretty common here. With a washing machine, your bill will come to at least JMD 5,000 (US 32). A family of 3 will pay around JMD 9,000 (US 57).

Of course, all these prices depend on how your family uses utilities (well with the exception of the internet pill which is postpaid and is a price set by the company and won’t change very frequently). 

3. Food


Outside of rent, this will be your biggest expense. Although Jamaica does have a lot of homegrown products we do import a lot of food still. Rice and flour are staples in our diet, and neither is grown on the island. A trip to the supermarket can cost a pretty penny. For the average single person, getting a month's supply of groceries can cost JMD 30,000 (US 192) per month.

There are some things that we do to lessen the expenses, like splitting the grocery shop into three places, the supermarket, the farmer’s market and the meat shop. Yes, everything is available at the supermarket, but ground provisions and meats are quite expensive there.

But this is for someone who “shops like a Jamaican'' and is familiar with the local products. The products you would be familiar with as a foreigner would be imported, which means they attract additional import fees making them and your grocery bill more expensive.


In Jamaica, we have our cooking gas in 25, 30 and 100-pound cylinders. 

The average family buys a 30-pound cylinder and that lasts on average 2 months if you cook at least 2 or more times per day. The same pan would easily last a single person for at least 3 months depending on cooking habits. A 30-pound cylinder costs on average JMD 4,600. Prices can be less or more depending on individual mark-up prices and delivery charges by companies.

This is the average cost of basic grocery items in Jamaica currently:

Cost To Live In Jamaica | Jamaican Food Basket 2022

Cost To Live In Jamaica | Basic Food Items And Prices (US and JMD Currencies)Cost To Live In Jamaica | Basic Food Items And Prices (USD and JMD Currencies)

This list does not include all the grocery you would need in a month, it only includes the most common grocery items for most persons. 

4. Health Insurance

Plans differ based on the coverage you are looking for. The two major companies are Sagicor and Guardian Life. An average plan for a single person cost JMD 3,000 monthly, a family plan costs on average JMD 8,424 (US 54). 

5. Transportation

Public transportation is reliable, especially in the towns. The further you get from the town the more difficult and expensive it gets to travel. Travelling around the town areas generally costs JMD 150 (US 1) for each person per ride for short distances. If a majority of your travel will be just to the town and back, for let’s say 5 days a week, your average monthly expense on transport will be JMD 6,000 (US 38). 

But the convenience of having a car can’t be ruled out. You may decide you need one to get around, in which case you can either decide to get a used or brand new car. A used sedan, just for context, can cost between JMD 750,000 and JMD 900,000 depending on the year, model mileage and other factors. Of course, buying a brand new car will cost way more, in this case, it will cost on average JMD 2 Million (12, 820).

With a car comes other expenses like gas, gas prices change quite often because Jamaica imports it as well. The average cost to fill the tank of a car is 6,000 (US 38) which will, at best last a week and a half (of course this depends on your travelling habits and how often you drive.

You also have to consider repairs and yearly fitness, licensing and insurance costs. 

6. Entertainment

Now, these costs will be dictated by you. Attractions in Jamaica generally have cheap admission (US 10-20), but, you usually aren’t allowed to bring food or drink and that can cost quite a bit. 

For parties, the admission is usually no more than JMD 2,000 (US 12) but for high-end parties, admission can cost thousands (or in your case hundreds) of dollars. For example, Reggae Sumfest tickets can cost anywhere between JMD 3,100 (US 20) or JMD 46,000 (US 300). 

A trip to the movies will cost JMD 1,500 (US 9) which is fairly reasonable, but again movie snacks are expensive. 

Eating out can cost anywhere between JMD 6000 (US 38) per person to JMD 17,000 (US 108)  or more depending on the nature of the restaurant.

7. Housekeeping/Child Care Services

Nannies, Helpers and Gardeners aren’t something that every Jamaican has. But if you wish to here is the average cost of each:

  • Nannies and live-in workers - Nannies and live-in help can cost anywhere between JMD 40,000 (US 256.41) and JMD 80,000 (US 512). The disparity between both figures is great, but that is due to a few things including, who will be responsible for food and utilities for the worker. If they are responsible for their bills then it will cost more but, if you will be responsible for food and utilities, then that would be considered when setting a wage.
  • Housekeeper - JMD 15,000 a week ( JMD 3,000 per day does not include the cost for cleaning products you are expected to provide them)
  • Gardeners - JMD 7,000 per visit ( for an average-sized yard, most charge based on the size of the yard and whether or not you provide the equipment.

Important Note: The current exchange rate is US 156 to JMD 1.

You can use these prices for a close estimation of the general cost to live in Jamaica. 

I hope it helps! Welcome (back) to Jamaica!

Just in case you are wondering if you can live in Jamaica as a non-national, if you get married to a Jamaican, you sure can. Here are the options available.

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Watch Video! The Cost To Live In Jamaica | How To Live In Jamaica For 6 Months

How much does it cost to live in Jamaica? Maura Watson shares some valuable information and some neat tricks to living on the island!

Return to Can I Live & Work In Jamaica? from Cost To Live In Jamaica
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References & Sources For Cost To Live In Jamaica

  1. HOW TO LIVE IN JAMAICA FOR 6 MONTHS | Cost To Live In Jamaica | Featuring Maura Watson | On THE SPOTLIGHT Show,
  2. National Housing Trust,
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