What It Costs
|Traveling around by car is an adventure all its own.
What It Costs
Currency: Prices are often posted in Jamaican dollars but check to make sure. Check the current exchange rate. When prices are given without any indication whether the are US$ or J$, the price usually is in U.S. currency. If you pay is US dollars, you may receive any change in Jamaican currency. To avoid this, use credit cards whenever possible, preferably ones without a foreign exchange charge of 3% or so. In Montego Bay airport departure area has an exchage bank but often with long lines. Take care of cash exchanges before checking out of your hotel.
Taxes & Tipping: A government tax of 10% to 15% on all hotel rooms, 20% on all rental cars and 20% on overseas phone calls. Tipping is 10-15% although a service charge of this amount is often added to the bills.
Getting There: Jamaica enjoys frequent air service from North and South America as well as Europe. Airlines flying to Jamaica direct from the U.S. include Air Jamaica, American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United. Other airlines include Air Canada, British Airways, Copa, Cayman Air, Sunwing Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
Getting Around: Rental cars are some of the Caribbean 's most expensive, costing as much as $100 per day in winter. The reason: In addition to the rental charge, there's a collision-damage waiver that's sometimes mandatory plus a 20% government tax. Tour operators sometimes arrange for hotel pickups. Should you choose to drive in Jamaica, stay alert because driving requires your full, close attention. Roads are narrow, big trucks barrel around the curves with no warning. In general, Jamaicans tend to drive like the devil is chasing them and closing fast.
Health & Safety Warning: Be careful where you walk after dark. Crime is an increasing problem. Don't leave any valuables unattended anywhere; use hotel safes where possible. Don't be stupid in using drugs. Police use surprise roadblocks to catch those carrying drugs. Use the obvious care you would traveling anywhere and you should be fine; don't get caught off guard by too relaxed an attitude.
For More Information: In the U.S., call 800-JAMAICA. Web site: www.visitjamaica.com .
(Jamaica Arrival Briefing Part 3)