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Useful facts for your holiday to Jamaica
Flight and Transfers
There are two international airports in Jamaica. The Donald Sanger International Airport in Montego Bay is our more generally used airport. Direct flights from Gatwick to Montego Bay last approximately 9 hours 30 minutes. Virgin Atlantic flies direct to Montego Bay three times a week.
British Airways flies three times a week to the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, but these often aren’t ideal as landing here generally involves a much longer transfer time to the majority of the resorts we offer.
If you book your transfers with us, you’ll be met on arrival by a Tropical Sky representative who will guide you to your transfer vehicle. Some resorts provide transfer services themselves and are included in your holiday price. This will be noted at the time of booking.
Please be advised if travelling on a flight with Thomson or Thomas Cook airlines you will be required to pay a Jamaica departure tax of USD35.00 per person aged 2yrs or over.This must be paid in cash.This tax is included in your airline ticket price if travelling on a scheduled airline (eg: British Airways or Virgin Atlantic)
British and Irish passport holders do not currently require a visa to enter Jamaica. As long as you have a passport that is valid for 6 months, a return or onward ticket, and sufficient funds/proof of accommodation, you’re fine to travel here. Children and infants also require their own passport. All travellers should check full entry requirements prior to travel by visiting the FCO website or by contacting the relevant embassy.
The official language of Jamaica is English meaning that all signs and official documents will be in English. However, the majority of Jamaicans speak on a day-to-day basis in Jamaican Creole (also known as Patois) which is based on English but includes some Caribbean and African influences.
All Jamaicans can speak English but do so in a heavy Jamaican accent that takes a bit of getting used to.
Self-Drive: Jamaica is not an ideal country for driving yourself around. For one of the largest Caribbean countries, the roads really are not up to standard. Those in and around the cities and towns are often extremely busy and congested, while rural routes are often badly maintained and narrow. Nevertheless, driving your own car gives you complete freedom to explore, which is ideal on an island this beautiful. Driving is on the left, like the UK. It’s also worth noting that generally petrol stations require cash and won’t accept card payments. Car hire is a good idea if you’re booking one of our villas, to potter around the local area. Delivery to and pick up from the villa is included in the prices, which start at £200 for a small air-conditioned car. Drivers must be between 21 and 75 years old, and drivers under 23 have a surcharge of $6 per day. Child seats are compulsory to 3 years, and cost $10.50 per day. You’ll need to remember to take your licence and a credit card.
Bus: Buses are a very cheap way to get around, but there are no creature comforts. The local bus system is Jamaica is nothing like the organised system in the UK. Buses run on scheduled routes, but there isn’t usually a timetable – the bus departs when it is full (and in Jamaica full literally means full).
Taxi: The most common mode of transport for non-driving Jamaicans is the route taxi. Route taxis are essentially minibuses that travel all across the country. They will have usually have ‘Route Taxi’ emblazoned on them, making them easy to spot. They are a very cheap way of getting around and definitely a fun way to interact with locals who generally use them for everyday tasks.
Boat: Taking a boat is not usually an effective way of getting around – there are no scheduled routes or any indicator of how long it might take. You may be able to haggle with local fishermen or boat owners to take you somewhere along the coast, but they will likely charge a ridiculous amount for a very slow ride.
The official currency of is the Jamaican Dollar. Most hotel and resorts, and some attractions, restaurants and shops will accept US dollars, although usually at less-than-favourable exchange rates.
220V, 50 Hz, round two pronged plugs.
Vaccination & Health
As health requirements change please consult with your GP or specialist travel clinic well in advance of your holiday for specific information related to your travel and medical history. Additional information can be found by visiting NaTHNaC or MASTA Travel health.
Tap water is very safe in Jamaica and if you’re staying at one of the hotels or resorts we provide you won’t have any problems with water. It’s also worth noting that Jamaica is a very hot country all year round and that you need to drink plenty of water.
GMT -5 hours (-6 hours in summer)