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Jamaica Travel Information
From: Jamaica Adventure Guide

When To Go
Regardless of when you visit, you’re almost always assured of short-sleeve weather, balmy trade winds and plenty of sun. Temperatures vary only about 10° between summer and winter. The hottest months are July and August, when temperatures top out at 85 to 90°; the coolest month is February, when highs can reach 86-90° and nighttime can dip as low as the mid-60s.

The complete story

Jamaica Adventure Guide - This travel guide walks with the adventurous traveler to the heart of Jamaica, to the miles of sand beaches, to the rugged Blue Mountains, to the country villages that provide a peek at the real Jamaica

The busiest tourist months constitute “high season” – the months between December 15 and April 15. During this time, rates are at their highest (and really reach a peak during the week between Christmas and New Year’s).

TIP: Rooms can sometimes be difficult to come by at top resorts during high season, so plan ahead.

The “shoulder seasons,” the months on each side of high season, are very pleasant weather-wise, yet you’ll find prices much lower during this period. The least expensive times to visit are during the summer months and the peak of hurricane season (August through October). Remember, hurricanes are forecast days in advance, so keep abreast of conditions and you should have time to reschedule in the event that a hurricane is visiting at the same time you are.

TIP: Recently, many of the largest resorts have started instituting a “hurricane guarantee,” offering guests their money back for days lost to bad weather.

Water temperatures dip slightly during the winter months, when they average 80°. During the summer, the waters warm to about 84°, a balmy bath-like temperature that makes wet suits strictly optional.

Immigration & Customs - Entry Requirements

US and Canadian citizens may enter Jamaica with a passport or other proof of citizenship, such as an original birth certificate with a raised seal, a naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship along with a photo ID (all documents must bear the same name). You’ll also need to show a return or ongoing ticket. A voter registration card is no longer valid proof of citizenship.

Citizens of the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Germany, Ireland and France will need a valid passport and a return or onward ticket.

Customs Regulations

US Customs
US visitors can return home after a 48-hour visit with up to $600 of duty-free purchases. If you buy Jamaican art, rum, perfume, coffee or other locally made items, they are also duty-free. Visitors can mail to the US an unlimited number of gifts worth up to $100 without duty (cigars, liquors and perfumes are not included).

TIP: Before your trip, get a copy of the “Know Before You Go” brochure (Publication 512) from the US Customs Service at your airport or by writing the US Customs Service, PO Box 7407, Washington, DC 20044.

When you leave the US then return home, you will pass through US Customs at your point of US entry. You’ll complete a customs declaration form, one per household, identifying the total amount of your expenditures while out of the country.

Your duty-free allowance includes any items purchased in duty-free shops, gifts presented to you, gifts you bought in Jamaica for other people, and purchases you might be wearing (such as clothing or jewelry).

The US Department of Agriculture allows you to bring back up to one ounce of decorative beach sand.

Some items cannot be brought back to the US. These include:

Books or cassettes made without authorized copyright (“pirated” copies)
Any type of drug paraphernalia
Fruits and vegetables
Meats and their by-products (such as pâté)
Plants or plant cuttings
Tortoiseshell jewelry or other turtle products (these are offered for sale in Jamaica)

TIP: Keep your sales slips and pack so your purchases can be reached easily.

Canadian Customs
With a seven-day absence from Canada, visitors may claim a $500 exemption yearly, not including alcohol and tobacco. Exemptions cannot be pooled with other travelers in your party.

British Customs
UK travelers have the following exemption: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or one liter of spirits for visitors age 17 or over and all other goods up to £36 value.

Japanese Customs
Japanese travelers have an exemption of up to Yen 200,000 and three bottles of liquor for travelers age 20 and over.

Departure Tax
Departure tax from Montego Bay and Kingston airports (not for intra-island flights) is US $25. Departure from Ocho Rios and Montego Bay cruise ports is US $15 per person. The tax is payable only in cash.

With its strong British history, the citizens of Jamaica are modest, conservative people who generally frown upon displays of skin. Although nudity or topless bathing is permitted on some beaches, it is typically not practiced by locals. Most islanders follow a more conservative style of dress than seen in US beach communities.

Bathing suits are appropriate only for swimming; when off the beach, wear a cover-up. Bare chests are also frowned upon outside the beach area. However, leisure wear – T-shirts, shorts, sundresses and sandals – will be readily accepted in any Jamaican community.

High season (mid-December through mid-April) is the dressiest period, the only time when jackets and occasionally ties will be required at a few restaurants for dinner. Generally, “casually elegant” or “resort casual” is the order of the day, an indication that it’s fine to wear polo shirts, khakis and sundresses.

Leave the dogs – and the cats, ferrets, gerbils and every other four-legged creature – at home. No pets are permitted entry into Jamaica. The reason is simple: Jamaica has no rabies and doesn’t want any.

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