Jamaica Travel Guide + Travel Restrictions
Updated: Aug 29
Wanting to travel to Jamaica but not sure where to begin? Perhaps you're just looking for tips on navigating through the country? Maybe you're even looking for all the Jamaica travel restrictions? I've got you covered with this Jamaica travel guide and the current Jamaica travel restrictions.
Getting Around Jamaica
When you fly into Jamaica, chances are you're either flying into Montego Bay (MBJ), which is more popular for leisure travel, or Kingston (KIN). Either way, most resorts will have shuttles available to pick you up from either airport, but just to be safe, make sure to call the resort/hotel prior and confirm. If you're flying into the same city you're staying, taxis are another reliable option, but I would opt for the shuttle if available.
Another, more adventurous way, to get around is renting a car. Jamaica has very similar rental car companies as the U.S. and you can, of course, reserve a car ahead of time, but be warned: this is not an easy country to drive in, and they drive on the left side of the road. If you're not afraid of a little challenge, I definitely recommend it! We drove from Kingston Airport to Ocho Rios (~1.5 hours), which is basically going from the South coast of the country to the North coast of the country. The drive, for the most part, was absolutely beautiful; I literally felt like I was on another planet driving through the forest mountains, but please note: even if your GPS tries to take you a "shorter route," stick to the highway. The neighborhood roads in Jamaica are small, curvy, filled with potholes, often one-lane and difficult to navigate, so I recommend spending as much time on the highway as possible. I made the mistake of taking a "short-cut" on the way to Ocho Rios and experienced one of the scariest drives of my life.
Also don't forget to have some money ready for tolls, they don't take card, but they do take both Jamaican and U.S. Dollars (though if you use U.S. Dollars, you'll get change back in Jamaican Dollars). In short, cars and boats are your best, and arguably only, mode of transportation around Jamaica.
What to bring/how to be safe
It's no secret that Jamaica is known for theft. The best way to prevent it from happening is as simple as keeping your belongings as close to your body at all times and not putting things in your back pockets. I carried around a small purse (shown above) the whole time; It was pretty transparent, but I think it showed people that I didn't have anything valuable to take. I also used the tiny boxes that the resort uses to put soap and shower caps in to put cash, cards and IDs in. Not having something that looks like a wallet might prevent the idea of even stealing. I also used mini skincare bottles to carry other important things like sunscreen.
Jamaica Travel Restrictions
If you’re planning a trip to Jamaica soon, you should expect to follow some travel restrictions and precautions; these change somewhat often so always make sure to double-check government information here.
Here are the restrictions as of December 2020:
Negative COVID Test to be presented to the gate agent before boarding (Jamaica asked for a test no more than 10 days old, but we didn’t wait nearly that long before the trip)
Completed and approved Jamaican travel authorization form (which can’t be completed more than 5 days before departure, the official document will be emailed to you)
Upon arrival in Jamaica, every passenger has to go through a health screening before even going through customs (temp check, travel authorization check, etc.)
I recommend having a screenshot of both your negative COVID-19 test and approved travel authorization form (make sure both screenshots show your name nearby, so they can verify it's your documentation).
Other precautions taken on the island:
Temperature checks at the resort and at Dunn’s River Falls entrance
Everyone wore masks and some face shields
Hand washing stations set up all throughout Dunn’s River Falls
Sanitizer stations set up all throughout the resort
Distanced seating every where
One of my all-time favorite activities to do in other countries is visit their grocery stores. There's so much you can learn about what kinds of produce they have available, the size of the store and, my personal favorite, what the popular chip flavors are. Pictured here we have ketchup flavored chick 'n chips, cheese wheels and extreme BBQ Ole chips, which we had to get because we kept seeing ads for all over Jamaica. When you walked down the aisle, you could tell Jamaicans like more "extreme" and spicy flavors.
The other, more popular, activities in Jamaica are visiting the famous Dunn's River Falls, located in Ocho Rios, ocean swings, snorkeling, diving and glass bottom boating.