Travel Basics

Travel Basics

Cellphone Service Jamaica
Jamaica’s country code is 876; to call Jamaica from abroad, dial 1 876 the seven-digit local number.  Cell phones (GSM or CDMA) can be used in Jamaica but be aware that calls might incur hefty roaming charges. If your phone is unlocked, it might be easier to buy a local SIM card (around $20 including credit) from either of the island’s service providers. is another option offering visitors phone and tablet rentals  with call and data plans, with kiosks conveniently located at Montego Bay airport. 


The local currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar JMD, J$. Although prices are typically quoted in JMD, most retailers, tour operators and vendors will accept US dollars. To avoid confusion make sure you know what dollar unit is being quoted before any transaction is done.


Water & Street Food
Jamaican tap water is drinkable although bottled water is always readily available for purchase. As such it is safe to eat street food.


Time Zone
Jamaica runs on Eastern Standard Time (EST) and does not observe daylight savings time.

Jamaican Patois, otherwise known by linguists as Jamaican Creole, is an English based creole language with West African influences.


Although it is the most widely spoken language in Jamaica, children are taught in and most formal business is conducted in standard (British) English.  For a list of funny and useful phrases, visit the website


Jamaica, like other countries in the world, has its fair share of crime. It is always advisable to use the same common sense you would use at home. Store valuables in safes and do not flaunt them in public. Avoid lonely streets or unfamiliar areas at night.  Jamaicans are very hospitable people and will always make an effort to help in case you need directions or assistance


Mosquitos tend to be more prevalent at dawn and dusk. To prevent mosquito bites, wear light coloured long pants and long sleeved clothes and use your mosquito repellent of choice. Although cases are less common now and the illnesses are not life threatening, the Zika, Dengue and Chik-V viruses are carried by mosquitos native to the region. Symptoms include headache, fever, rash and joint pain. Pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should take extra precaution to avoid being bitten as the symptoms can become more complicated. 


ATMS can be found in all major towns across the island. Most are located inside banks but others might be found at gas stations, hotel lobbies, shopping plazas and supermarkets. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card on the island and can be used to withdraw Jamaican or US dollar funds at machines as necessary. 


Emergency Numbers
Police - 119
Fire - 110
Ambulance - 110
Hurricane Update - 116
General Information - 114

Approximate Driving Times 
(Jamaicans drive on the left)
Montego Bay to Kingston: 3 hours
Montego Bay to Ocho Rios: 1 hour & 40 mins 
Montego Bay to Negril: 1 ½ hours
Montego Bay to Treasure Beach: 3 hours
Montego Bay to Port Antonio: 3 hours & 40 mins