Jamaica — Visas and Vaccinations
Citizens of most Western countries can enter Jamaica without a visa, including those from the US, Canada, the EU, and Commonwealth nations. Most of these nationals can stay for up to six months; Germans three months and Japanese 30 days. It is best to ensure passports are valid for at least six months beyond date of exit. Cruise passengers also require passports.
Health and Safety
Crime is a problem in Montego Bay, and especially Kingston, the latter of which is beset by pick-pockets, muggings and gang violence in certain areas that tourists wouldn’t normally frequent. Visitors can minimize their risk by avoiding inner-city areas after dark or altogether, especially in West Kingston, Spanish Town, Grant’s Pen, August Town, and Harbor View. It is best to stick to licensed JUTA taxis and avoid withdrawing money from ATMs at night. If you carry a fanny pack, make sure it is concealed.
The waters are relatively safe in Jamaica, with mild surf and shallow for the most part. The roads can be busy, especially in the cities with aggressive local drivers, and mountain routes become dangerous when wet. Be sure to buy the extra insurance offered when renting cars and avoid driving after dark.
The sun is strong so sunscreen is a must. Public hospitals are not great in Jamaica, though there are several private facilities. Hotels have doctors on-call, which is useful, but expensive and often require payment up front. Procuring travel/medical insurance is, therefore a must with a provision for water sports if you intend to engage in these activities. Having the vaccination for hepatitis A is recommended, along with keeping tetanus boosters up to date.
The weather is typically warm year round and Jamaica generally doesn’t get hit by hurricanes as much as neighboring Cuba, the Dominican Republic or Florida, but it is worthwhile to check the forecast during hurricane season which is June through November.