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South Coast , Jamaica - General Information
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South Coast , Jamaica | General Information

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.

The main banks are FirstCaribbean International Bank (tel 800/744-3242), National Commercial Bank (tel 888/622-3477), RBTT Bank (tel 888/991-2825) and Scotiabank (tel 888/960-2675). They all have ATMs at numerous locations around the country.

Bank hours vary. Generally they are open Mon-Thurs 8:30/9am-2/3pm and Fri 8:30/9am-4/4:30pm.

Post Office
Mon-Fri 8am-5pm (postal agencies have reduced hours)

Extended hours for the following branches:
Liguanea, Kingston 6 - Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat 9am-1pm
Cross Roads, Kingston 5 - Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat 9am-1pm
Greater Portmore, St Catherine - Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 9am-1pm

Mostly Protestant, including Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Church of God, Jehovah's Witness, Methodist, Moravian, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist and United Church. Roman Catholic and some other spiritual faiths also represented.

The local currency is the Jamaican dollar (J$ or JMD). Paper money runs in denominations of J$50, J$100, J$500 and J$1000 bills, and coins in 1¢, 10¢, 25¢, J$1, J$5, J$10 and J$20 pieces. All notes, except J$1000, include a symbol to aid the visually impaired. US dollars are widely accepted, but confirm in advance whether the item is priced in US or Jamaican dollars. Most large shops, hotels and restaurants accept major credit cards and traveller's cheques. Many resorts accept Discover and Diners Club.

To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.

American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 800/877 3060
Discover Card: 801/902-3100
MasterCard: 800-1561
Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect)
Western Union: 926-2454

There is a J$1000 departure tax payable in cash at the airport if it is not already included in the price of your ticket.

A valid passport is required. All visitors must also have an onward or return ticket and sufficient funds for the duration of their stay.

Nationals of countries other than Canada, the US and the UK may require a visa. Consult your nearest Jamaica consulate/embassy or call the Immigration, Citizenship & Passport Division at 876/754-4742.

As of January 8, 2007, all persons travelling by air to the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport, Air NEXUS card or US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.

Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.

British High Commission: 510-0700 (Kingston)
High Commission of Canada: 926-1500 (Kingston), 952-6198 (Consulate, Montego Bay), 800/276-2989 (toll free to Ottawa)
US Embassy: 935-6044 (Kingston), 935-6000 (Kingston duty officer; after-hours emergencies), 952-0160 (Consular Agency, Montego Bay)

As of November 1, 2006US$J$/JMD
British pound sterling1.90173126.505
Canadian dollar0.8888159.12445
European Union euro1.2721784.62592
Japanese yen0.0085130.56627
Swiss franc0.8009753.28110
US dollar--66.52092

There are numerous public hospitals and pharmacies located island wide, but medical care and facilities are limited in remote areas. The University Hospital of the West Indies (tel 927-1620), located in Kingston, has the private Tony Thwaites Wing (tel 977-2607 or 977-2025), which caters to affluent patients.

Serious cases may require air transfer to the US. Medical care can be expensive and facilities often require patients to pay up front or provide a credit card impression as guarantee of payment. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.

Emergency phone numbers:
Ambulance, 110
Police, 119
Fire, 110
Air/sea rescue, 119
Hurricane update, 116

There are harsh penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs.

The following items are prohibited: indecent and obscene materials and all publications of deLaurence Scott and Company and the Red Star Publishing Company, both of Chicago in the US, relating to divination, magic, occultism or supernatural arts.

Permits are required for importing the following restricted items: meat, ground provisions, fruit, vegetables, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, herbal teas, firearms, used tires, two-way radios, coconut derivatives, oil-producing seeds, edible oils, liquid or solid detergents, motor vehicles, explosives, alcohol in bulk, sugar, human remains, pesticides and live animals.

For more information call the Customs Department at 876/922-5140 to 8.

The official language is English, although many people also speak a local English patois.

The general post office (tel 922-2120) is located in Kingston, but there are numerous post offices and postal agencies island wide. Post offices are generally open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, while postal agencies usually maintain reduced hours. The offices in Liguanea (Kingston 6), Cross Roads (Kingston 5) and Greater Portmore (St Catherine) have extended hours and are also open Sat 9am-1pm. Most hotels sell stamps.

Postcards: to all countries - J$50

Letters: First-class airmail rates (per 15g):
- J$60 to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Guyana, Canada, US and Central & South America
- J$70 to the United Kingdom and Europe (except Cyprus)
- J$90 to the Far East, Asia, Australia, Africa and New Zealand

Jan 1 New Year's Day
Mar (varies) Ash Wednesday
Mar/Apr (varies) Good Friday
Mar/Apr (varies) Easter Monday
May 23 Labour Day
Aug 1 Emancipation Day
Aug 6 Independence Day
October (third Mon) National Heroes Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day

There is a 15% General Consumption Tax on most goods and services.

The phone system on Jamaica is modern and cellular and Internet services are available.

The country code is 876. Local phone numbers have seven digits. For local directory assistance dial 114 and for directory assistance for the US and English-speaking Caribbean, dial 555-1212 (charges apply for both of these numbers).

Cable & Wireless/C&W (tel 888/225-5295) provides telecommunications services. They sell World-Talk prepaid calling cards at C&W offices and other vendors throughout the country.

You can also dial 1-800 CALL USA to use US calling cards, major credit cards or to make collect calls.

For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?

To call Canada collect dial 8 from a pay phone or 1-800-876-2000 from a private phone; to the US dial 9 from a pay phone or 1-800-876-1000 from a private phone. To call collect within Jamaica dial 0 + the local seven-digit number and follow the automated voice prompts.

C&W bmobile and Digicel (tel 888/Digicel) provide cellular roaming services. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with one of these companies.

Average temperatures vary between 66°F and 99°F year round, with the best weather between Dec and Apr. There are two rainy seasons: May-June and Sep-Nov.

The island is on Eastern Time year round, which is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Jamaica does not observe daylight savings time.

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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