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What NOT To Do In Jamaica
18 Top Tips To Keep You Safe, Save Money, and Enjoy Your Vacation

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What Not To Do In Jamaica
by Wellesley Gayle,

what to not do in jamaica - warning and tips and recommenadations

Are you visiting (or vacationing in) Jamaica but is a bit anxious (or even nervous) about making some costly mistakes?

Rest easy!

As your buddy, I've done some research for you and now present you with my top tips for keeping safe, saving money, building friendships and enjoying the vacation you truly desire.

Yes, there are a myriad great reasons why over 4 million persons visited Jamaica last year, more than the population of the country, but it pay to play it safe at all times.

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what to not do in Jamaica - travelling with money in jamaica
  1. Don’t take around large sums of cash

    That's actually a no-brainer. At the least of it, you become uncomfortable and it will show - turning you into an easy target. Also carry smaller bills vs larger bills.

    In the same breath, don't forget to declare cash and negotiable items greater than US$ 10,000 to Jamaican Customs while entering or leaving the country. (Get more Jamaican money exchange tips on the website as well)

  2. Don't carry around only US or foreign denominations

    Always keep some Jamaican currency. Although most suppliers in the resort/tourist areas trade in the USD, and other major currencies, you'll find you can pay in Jamaican dollars as well, more so, you can use the Jamaican Dollars for tips, local transportation etc.

  3. Don’t Exchange Your Currency At The Hotel Or Airport

    I might very well get some stick for this, but it is the truth. Don't use the the man on the street either.

    Hotel and airport rates are usually poor. Exchange only what you need then and exchange the rest at a reputable cambio.

    And the man on the street? Well you may very well get a higher rate, but your money can easily be swindled from you.

  4. Don't Waste Money On Dinner

    OK, let me qualify that :-)

    In many Jamaican restaurants, the price for the same or similar menus is vastly different between lunch and dinner.

    I know one, a Chinese restaurant in Montego Bay, that serves lunch specials for just about $5.5 USD, or equivalent, but the same dinner menu goes for upwards of USD $17.

  5. Don't Use Traveller's Checks in Jamaica

    Use ATM’s instead. Minimize transaction fees by making fewer and larger withdrawals. Store the cash safely in your money belt before exiting the booth. ATM’s give the best possible rates of exchange and you can get your cash fast. (

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what to do in jamaica - personal safety tips
  1. Don't Wander Off By Yourself

    I recommend that you travel with friends or a driver/ tour guide. This again is true regardless of where in the world you are.

  2. Don’t take expensive jewelry/ items on trips or excursions.

    Ideally, don’t take them on your trip at all. We have had too many of these horror stories. Many of the excursions and attractions don't necessarily have secure lock boxes.

  3. Never forget to make photocopies of your ID(s) in case of loss

    That speaks for itself but also never forget to give your friends or family your contact information or itinerary - just in case of an emergency.

  4. Watch The Road!

    Be extra careful when crossing the street. We have several examples of drivers stopping to allow pedestrians to cross only to be mauled over by another driver who didn't see what was happening.

  5. Don't Be Shy, Ask Questions

    Don't forget to question your tour, resort or adventure operator about safety standards and relevant licenses. This is important should anything go wrong.

    For example, do ensure that proper vests, life jackets and safety equipment are provided before going on a water excursion or expedition. I’ve personally had a bad experience here that you can avoid by just doing this.

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tips on getting along in Jamaica

  1. Shopping? Don't be afraid to bargain or ask for discounts!

    Feel free to do so, don’t be afraid, Jamaicans almost expect you to bargain, in fact, we are good at it too!

  2. In the same breath... Don't be afraid to politely say no.

    You might be approached by people selling wares, souvenirs and various services. If you're not interested in purchasing anything, just say so firmly and politely and you will be left alone.

  3. Don't Assume All Jamaicans Are The Same

    In particular, don't expect that everyone in Jamaica smokes or is interested in smoking. The truth is most Jamaicans don't smoke!

  4. Don't be offended by Religious beliefs/ practices

    In fact, I encourage you to embrace it as you explore the richness of the Jamaican culture.

    Jamaicans, in general, are religious (primarily Christians) so please don’t be offended if a bible verse is quoted or someone says ‘Lord have mercy’ when you think it probably unwarranted.

    Please take some time to understand our culture, the way of life and the do’s and dont's. Understanding and respecting them could make a world of difference to your trip.

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what to do in Jamaica - wellesley and wife sitting on beach at club decameron

  1. Don't Only Dress For The Beach

    It still surprises me that many visitors still envisage Jamaica as just sand, sea and fun! Note that outside of resort areas or on a beach, a swimsuit is not considered appropriate clothing.

    Some businesses will actually post their dress code in a notice on their premises, but most require at least a shirt and shorts.

  2. Don’t forget to carry your insect repellent as a precaution

    Depending on the season and /or where you are staying; there might be some mosquitoes and ‘see-ums’ at nights. In the same breath, don’t leave your sunscreen lotions in the days either.

  3. Don't forget your drinking water on the road.
    You'll need lots of it, particularly during excursions.

  4. Don't discount the value of a trusted local guide or friend.
    Not only will you get to see more of the real Jamaica, they know the best and cheapest local places.

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In Summary...

That's it! My top tips on staying safe, saving more, building relationships and having a great vacation in Jamaica land we love. If you find it helpful, please be sure to share it with someone who might find it helpful.

Be sure to read my article on safety in Jamaica and top places to visit in Jamaica for additional insights.

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