Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
We advise Irish citizens in Jamaica to exercise a high degree of caution.
Latest travel alert
Extreme Weather in the Caribbean Region
The Atlantic hurricane season generally runs from June to November each year and can also affect the eastern and southern USA with heavy rain, flooding and extremely high winds.
Citizens with plans to be in the affected region during this period should consider the need to travel based on information relating to extreme weather projections.
Hurricane Maria is currently heading across the Caribbean Sea as a category 5 storm towards Montserrat, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico after causing widespread damage on the island of Dominica.
Winds of up to 160mph (260km/h) and heavy rains were recorded in Dominca late on Monday as the eye of the hurricane passed. A tracking forecast has indicated that the eye of Hurricane Maria will move over the north-eastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday, and approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Tuesday night and Wednesday.
The storm will continue moving toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a strong Category 4 or a Category 5 and is not expected to diminish in strength.
Hurricane Irma passed over the Caribbean on 7 to 10 September causing severe flooding and damage to buildings and infrastructure across the region, including popular tourist areas. Some areas may still be without mains water supply or electricity, so extra care is needed during hours of darkness. Airports have reopened and flights have resumed but there may be delays.
You should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities and your hotel or tour operator.
If you have a holiday booked for a future date you should liaise with your tour operator or contact your hotel to check if there has been any damage/whether the hotel is open and functional. There may be problems with utilities and services for the foreseeable future while the recovery is underway.
There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Irish Citizens are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) at http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, start by talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
The Emergency services numbers in Jamaica are:
- Police: 119
- Ambulance service: 110
Because there is no Irish Embassy in Jamaica, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consulate in Kingston or the Irish Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.
Other EU embassies
You can also contact the Embassies or Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
Safety and security
Safety and security
Impromptu demonstrations can take place in non-tourist areas of the inner city of Kingston. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational. Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
The capital of Jamaica, Kingston, is prone to high levels of crime and violence, including kidnapping. You should always take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
- Avoid West Kingston and inner city areas.
- The motive for attacks on tourists is usually robbery. In such cases, do not attempt to resist.
- Avoid walking through the city at night, and avoid walking alone at any time.
Beware of pickpockets, muggers and bag snatchers, especially in areas where large numbers of people crowd together. We recommend that you stay in established hotels away from the inner city.
Lost or stolen passports
If your passport is lost or stolen, you need to report it immediately to the police. Getting a replacement passport will be easier if you are able to provide a copy of the lost or stolen one, so keep photocopies of your passport
If you’re planning to drive in Jamaica, you should be careful as there is a high rate of road traffic accidents. Traffic in Jamaica keeps to the left as in Ireland, however much of the road network, especially outside the main cities, is in a poor state of repair. If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
Avoid public buses and only use taxis regulated by the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association and ordered from a hotel for your sole use.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
The hurricane season in the Caribbean normally runs from July to October. You should pay close attention to local and international weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities. Always monitor local and international weather updates for the region by accessing, for example, the Weather Channel, or the US National Hurricane Centre website.
Local laws and customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
The Jamaican authorities take the issue of illegal drugs in any quantity extremely seriously and possession of even a small amount of a prohibited substance can result in imprisonment. Conditions in Jamaican prisons are extremely harsh. The smoking of marijuana in Jamaica is not legal.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
Irish citizens don’t need a visa to enter Jamaica. However, if you are unsure about the entry requirements for Jamaica, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Jamaica.
You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.
It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Jamaica.
The international code for dialling Jamaica from Ireland is 001. The code for Kingston is 876. To call Ireland from Jamaica use the prefix 011 353. For example to call the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin dial: 011 353 1 408 2000.
Irish ATM cards displaying the Maestro and Cirrus symbols can usually be used in ATMs in Jamaica, but you should confirm this with your bank before you leave. Always be vigilant when using ATMs.