Countless traders offer their wares on the roadsides and in the many craft markets. Handwoven fabrics, embroidery, tie-dye, wood carvings, oil paintings, straw crafts and leather sandals are just a few of the handicrafts Jamaica is known for. Bargaining is allowed, as a rule prices can be negotiated down by about 10-30%. The In-Craft workshop sells custom-made rugs and reproductions of porcelain and pewter items from the ancient, sunken city of Port Royal. In the hilltop village of Highgate, Quakers run a workshop specializing in the manufacture of wicker and wooden furniture, straw mats, and so on. Nice souvenirs are also Jamaican rum, Rumona liqueur (the world’s only rum liqueur, rarely available outside of Jamaica) and Ian Sangster’s Rum Cream, as well as pepper jellies, preserves, spices and coffee. Weekly markets selling fresh fruit and vegetables are held regularly. The Coronation Market in Kingston is the largest and most well-known market in the country, especially on weekends there is a lot of activity here. Other large markets include Linstead Market in St Catherine, Brownstown Market in St Anne, Savanna-la-mar Market in Westmoreland and Albert George Market in Falmouth. In some stores you can buy a number of international items tax-free (in-bond). Tax-free export goods are packed and sealed and may only be opened outside the country. All purchases must be paid for in local currency.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Jamaica in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
Mon-Sat 09.00-17.00. Some shops close on Wednesday afternoons (in Kingston) or Thursday afternoons (in other locations).
Jamaica is the home of reggae music. Live reggae concerts and jam sessions take place almost nightly across the island, especially in the cities of Kingston and Negril. The concerts usually start late in the evening and often last until sunrise. International stars such as Ziggy Marley, the son of the famous Jamaican reggae interpreter Bob Marley, can also be seen here. Folklore shows and steel band performances are regularly held in all major towns, as well as discotheques, nightclubs and jazz music. At least once a week there is a steel band show with limbo dancers and fire eaters somewhere on the island. The liveliest nightlife can be found in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, while Kingston has the largest selection of bars, pubs and clubs. Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril is the largest party area on the island, there are numerous nightclubs such as Alfred’s, Roots Bamboo and The Jungle. Live music is often played on the weekends. Theme parties are held regularly in popular Margaritaville Caribbean (website: www.margaritavillecaribbean.com). Small bands and sometimes calypso singers with guitars often perform in the larger hotels. Folk shows and steel bands are common, as are discotheques, nightclubs and jazz music. The Tourist Office organizes cultural evenings under the motto Meet the People. For more information contact the Tourist Offices in Kingston, Montego Bay, Port Antonio,
The food is mostly hot and spicy, but there are also some milder dishes without chili peppers and hot spices. Meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are typically cooked. There are some very good restaurants in Jamaica, especially in the Montego Bay area.
Specialties include Rice and Peas, an excellent dish made without peas but with beans, shallots, rice, coconut milk and coconut oil; saltfish and ackee (dried cod with cooked ackee fruit), goat curry with rice; Jamaican pepperpot (“pepper pot” with salted beef and pork, okra and calaloo), chicken fricassee (chicken, carrot, yam, shallot, onion, tomato and pepper stew in extra virgin coconut oil) and suckling pig stuffed with rice, peppers, diced yam and thyme with shredded coconut and cornmeal.
Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Waiters expect 10-15%. Hotel staff and porters also expect a tip. Taxi drivers get 10% of the fare.
Jamaican rum is world famous, most notably Gold Label and Appleton. Rumona is a rum liqueur. The Red Stripe and Dragon Stout beers are excellent, as is Tia Maria (a Blue Mountains chocolate and coffee liqueur). Fresh fruit juices and the excellent Blue Mountain coffee are also very tasty.
Minimum age for consumption of alcoholic beverages
In Jamaica, you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.
There are 144 hotels and guesthouses that are subject to a 15% consumption tax. 90% of hotels are members of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, 2 Ardenne Road, 10 JM-Kingston. Tel: 926 36 35/36. (Web: http://www.jhta.org/). Categories: The hotels are checked regularly and are divided into four categories: A, B, C and D. The categories are not based on standard, but on winter and summer season prices. Many hotels offer accommodation based on specific ‘plans’. These plans are widely used in the Caribbean, including the Modified American Plan (MAP), which offers rooms on a half-board basis, and the European Plan (EP), which offers room rental only.
Protestants (62.5%) (mainly Seventh-day Adventists (10.8%), Pentecostals (9.5%, Baptists (7.2%), etc.); Catholics (2.6%); Jews, Muslims, Hindu and Bahai communities, as well as Rastafarians who believe in the divinity of the late Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassi (Ras Tafari).
Social Rules of Conduct
General: Outside of Kingston life is easygoing, the people are hospitable and open. African culture and music are omnipresent, the English colonial influence is just as unmistakable. Signs proclaiming Jah Lives (“God Lives,” Jah is the Rastafarian name for God) are common. Possession of marijuana can result in jail time and deportation. Most importantly, do not try to smuggle marijuana out of the country, you could face jail time. Manners: The usual forms of politeness should be observed. They shake hands to greet each other. Many Jamaicans are very hospitable and it is not uncommon for people to invite you out to eat. In this case, a small gift is appropriate. People should be asked before being photographed. Dress code: During the day, casual wear is common, swimwear and shorts are appropriate for the beach or pool. Evening wear ranges from casual in Negril to formal in other tourist areas where a jacket and tie may be expected for dinner during the winter season. In the summer, the wardrobe is more casual. Smoking: Smoking in Jamaica is prohibited in public places, in public buildings such as airports, restaurants and hotel complexes, and on public transportation. Plastic and Styrofoam Ban: The use of disposable plastic items such as bags and straws as well as plastic and Styrofoam packaging is prohibited in Jamaica.
Best travel time
Tropical all year round. Rain showers in every season. Cooler temperatures in the evening. Rainy seasons May and August to October, hurricane season June to November. Best travel time December to April.
Area (sq km)
2,961,167 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Main emergency number