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How Do I Not Look Like A Tourist In Jamaica?
How To Fit In Like A Local

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tourist_destinations_in_jamaica_neville_spence_jamaica2How Do I Not Look Like A Tourist In Jamaica?

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer

If you are from a country that sees many tourists yearly, you get very good at spotting tourists even if they try to fit in. If you would love to try and fit in with the locals here are a few tips.

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Dress Appropriately

The first giveaway that you are on vacation is the clothes you wear. Remember, Jamaica is hot, so sundresses, shirts, blouses, T-shirts, light slacks and polo shirts are ideal attire for virtually anywhere on the island. Bright solid colours are always a good choice. Business attire is expected if you will be attending meetings while you are here.

For other functions, such as weddings, funerals, graduations and the like, Jamaicans believe in dressing up and will spend months planning what to wear. But be sure not to underdress.

For the beach, anything goes really. But if you are wearing something very revealing on a beach with many children, even if they are not there with you, it is sort of the unspoken rule that you’ll make sure the parts that need to be covered are. Apart from that, you will be fine.

What isn’t so acceptable is swimwear off the beach. Walking to the beach in just your swimsuit, even with your cover-up, will be frowned upon and in most cases, you will be denied entry into establishments, especially those that sell food.

Even resorts have policies against nudity in their restaurants here.

Also, while you might be itching to wear your Jamaica-branded paraphernalia, we usually only wear these for culturally significant events such as Independence, Emancipation, Heroes’ Day and Jamaica Day.

Rastafarian-coloured clothes are the exception, we all wear those.

Don’t Wear Flip Flops

It's easier to fit in with the locals if you don't wear a flip-flop everywhere. Wear comfortable shoes for sure but we don't think it's cool to turn up in them. For a day in the town or at the beach slides or Crocs will work better.

Fast Food restaurants will allow you to enter wearing your flip-flops but more formal restaurants, even at the resort will not allow you admission for dinner if you aren’t wearing appropriate shoes.

Don’t Be Entirely Unsure of Where You Are Going

You are definitely not expected to know where everything in Jamaica is. But at least be sure of the general location you are heading to. You can use google, the front desk of your resort or the host of your Airbnb or Villa for directions.

By no means are we saying not to appreciate the scenery! You can admire the sights and scenes as anyone would in a new place. But a look of admiration is not the same as uncertainty about where you are going. If you feel you aren’t heading in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to ask and do so the instant you begin feeling unsure and not wait until long after before asking.

The Back Pack

Backpacking? Ok great. It is one of the best ways to see Jamaica however, it looks extremely conspicuous to be hiking through the town carrying a huge, overladen backpack. You can use a taxi service, take a route taxi or bus or use an AirBnB as your base and hike to the next place you'd like to visit. Your backpack would then be much smaller.

Learn Some Local Expressions

Not saying for a minute that you should master the local dialect, just be familiar with some common expressions and recommendations for how you may respond. It will make communication easier with Jamaicans as well.

You could get started with these.


Keep jewellery to a minimum. If you have multiple piercings, that is fine. But, huge necklaces and expensive watches are best left at your hotel for your day on the town or for excursions. First of all, most of the activities you’ll be doing in Jamaica are not suited for expensive jewellery, they could get damaged. They could also be lost or stolen.

While you are here, you could get beaded necklaces, anklets and bracelets in Jamaican or Rastafarian colours.


Having both American and Jamaican currency is important on vacation. In tourist areas, most prices will be listed in USD, so it is best to pay in that currency there. For excursions outside of the tourist area, have Jamaican currency as it might be difficult to have the money converted there or, it might be costly to do so.

Those are the major tips on how to fit in while on vacation. But just in case you need more information on how to prepare for your trip, these might be helpful:

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun while you’re here. If you are searching for some attractions to visit here are some of our favourites:

You might like these

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References & Sources For How Do I Not Look Like A Tourist In Jamaica?

  1. Attractions in Jamaica: The top 60 island excursions (no date) My Island Jamaica. Available at: (Accessed: December 1, 2022).

How Do I Not Look Like A Tourist In Jamaica? | Written: December 1, 2022

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