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Jamaica

If you’re travelling to Jamaica, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

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.

Overview

Security status

We advise Irish citizens in Jamaica to exercise a high degree of caution.

Latest travel alert

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/.

Our advice

Emergency Assistance

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

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

Social unrest

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.

Crime

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.

Petty theft

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 

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Jamaica, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Ottawa.

Driving

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

Taxis

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.

Hurricane season

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

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.

Illegal drugs

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.

Additional information

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.

Passports

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.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Jamaica.

Communications

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.

ATMs

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.