Jamaica : Safety by City
Jamaica is an island country located in the Caribbean Sea, and with its sheer size it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean.
Cuba is to the south of Jamaica and to the west of the island of Hispaniola.
This island country is, obviously, a paradise for summer lovers, with its gorgeous sandy beaches, rich in gardens of corals, but that’s not the only thing to take your breath away: past the beaches, you will encounter vast banana groves disappearing somewhere in this country’s sheer mountains.
Exploring this island, you will surely run into magical waterfalls emerging as if out of nowhere.
Its capital Kingston is a city of many cultural wonders: downtown part of Kingston is where historic buildings, buildings of law, banks, street markets and one of the Caribbean’s greatest art museums are located.
The uptown part of Kingston is reserved for the financially stable, with the city’s best hotels and restaurants.
Though Kingston is a somewhat dangerous city when it comes to crime, it is certainly not boring: it has been named a Creative City of Music by Unesco in 2015.
Warnings & Dangers in Jamaica
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Jamaica is a country where you should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of something going wrong, though it is, overall, somewhat safe to visit it.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transportation is not the safest or the most convenient option: it is very dangerous due to high levels of crime. Always call a reliable taxi service instead of hailing a taxi from the streets, since there have been reports of taxi drivers assaulting tourists.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
There is an extreme threat of petty crime. Pickpockets are practically an everyday occurrence in Jamaica. You should be extremely careful when handling your valuables and never carry your money in a purse or a pocket. Never carry all your money in the same place, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
When it comes to natural disasters, there is a threat from hurricanes in Jamaica. The hurricane season lasts from June to November. You can also expect earthquakes.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
There is also a high risk of getting mugged. Jamaica has a high level of violent crimes and it has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world; bear in mind that these crimes do not only happen to locals. Attacks occur both during day and night.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Even though there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Jamaica's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
There is a medium possibility of getting scammed in Jamaica. Like in every country taxi drivers might try to overcharge you. Apart from that, double check your change and negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Jamaica isn't the safest place for a woman to be visiting alone. If you do, be sure to avoid remote streets, both during day and night, and do not flash your belongings or handle money in public. Stay out of the streets at night and be vigilant for any possible dangers at all times.
So... How Safe Is Jamaica Really?
Though Jamaica is alive with music and culture, it also has a very dangerous side. The crime rates are an increasing problem and one of the biggest problems tourists face in Jamaica is petty theft. Never flash your jewelry, valuables, cash or electronics such as cell phones, iPads, iPods or cameras, since thieves are on the lookout for these things. Most types of accommodation provide safes where you can store these things, and this is highly recommended. Leave everything that might be stolen at home.
However, you should keep in mind that while the most common form of crime in Jamaica is petty theft and most thieves aren’t violent, this could change at any time if you resist. If you end up in a situation where criminals are aggressive towards you, hand everything immediately and live to tell the tale. Jamaica has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world, and these crimes do not only happen to locals: many tourists have been killed during the last couple of years so avoid any risky areas.
Also, sexual assaults of female tourists are not uncommon at all, so women are advised to avoid traveling alone, and if they do, not to roam around areas filled with bars, clubs or intoxicated people. Some women have even been assaulted within their resorts, so be careful at all times while in Jamaica, wherever you are.
- Visas - Most countries do not need a visa in order to enter Jamaica. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 90 days past your date of return from Jamaica. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Jamaican dollar is the official currency in Jamaica. ATMs are widely available throughout the country and credit cards are accepted in most establishments, particularly in tourist areas.
- Weather - There are two types of climate predominant in Jamaica. There is the upland tropical climate characteristic for the windward side of the mountains, and the semiarid climate characteristic for the leeward side. There is also plenty of rainfall throughout the year, influenced by the warm trade winds from the east and northeast.
- Airports - Tinson Pen Aerodrome, in Kingston, is the largest of Jamaica's three domestic airports. It is located on a major highway, Marcus Garvey Drive that connects Kingston to the nearby residential community of Portmore.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Jamaica, since it covers not only the costs medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.