Jamaica Facts and Information
There are so many things that help define Jamaica. If you are the type who strives to know all about Jamaica, then Jamaica facts and information is a great place to start.
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90 miles south of Cuba
Jamaica is an independent country, completely self-governed since 1962 when the island ceased to be a British colony.
Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean and the third largest in the region. With a total land area of 4442 square miles (10991 sq. km.), the island is 146 miles long with widths varying between 22 and 51 miles (35 and 82 km).
The two most important are tourism and mining with agriculture and manufacturing also contributing to the economy.
Jamaica is in the Eastern Time Zone (EST). Keep in mind that the island does not observe daylight savings time.
Jamaica is home to 2.5 million people of diverse ethnic origin. This blending of cultures is a source of great pride to the Jamaican people and is reflected in their country's motto: "Out of Many, One People".
There are very few ATM machines that accept US bank cards. Don’t forget the machines dispense money in Jamaican Dollars.
The local currency is the Jamaican Dollar. Make sure to check to see what the current exchange rate is before you travel, and these can change often. The US Dollar and Canadian currency is widely accepted, as well as travelers checks and major credit cards. Foreign currency may be exchanged for Jamaican dollars at any bank during regular business hours or at licensed exchange bureaus in the airports and at hotels island-wide. Make sure that you get a receipt if you want to change J$ back to U.S.$ when you depart.
Purchases of goods and services on island may be made with any currency which is negotiable in Jamaica. Before making any purchases, be sure that you understand what currency is being quoted.
Jamaica is usually warm and sunny, between 75 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit all year. During the winter the nights can become cool, so bring a jacket. Click here for more information on the weather in jamaica and especially about hurricane season.
More information on weather in Jamaica.
Every person entering Jamaica must have a valid passport to provide proof of citizenship.
110 volts/50 cycles - same as in the U.S. No adapters necessary for North American visitors, but European visitors will require one.
Firearms are forbidden by Jamaican law. This includes ammunition also. Firearms must be declared on arrival and surrendered to Customs. They will be given back immediately prior to departure from the island.
Banking hours: Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Friday hours: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Most Jamaican people are friendly and peaceful, however, petty crime is a problem in urban areas. Use common sense: don't walk the streets at night and draw attention with flashy jewelry or large sums of money.
The official language is English. The Jamaican dialect is called Jamaican Patois.
Driving is on the left side of the road. English style.
You can contact the Jamaica Tourist Board at Tourism Centre, 2 St. Lucia Avenue, New Kingston 5, Jamaica; (809) 929-9200 or 800-JAMAICA. There are Jamaica Tourist Board offices in New York, Los Angeles, Coral Cables, Chicago and Dallas. The phone number in New York is (212) 856-9727.
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