Jamaica is a beautiful country in many ways and as a Jamaican local, I have plenty of advice on how to stay safe. There are safe places in Jamaica, however, the keys to staying safe are to exercise extra safety precautions – be alert not alarmed. Use your common sense and you should have no troubles traveling in Jamaica. It is also advisable to buy travel insurance.
Here is the final part of the blog that was started last week on how you can stay safe while traveling in Jamaica.
7. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Restrictions in Jamaica – Updated January 7, 2021
Jamaica's air and sea borders are open to all foreign travelers. Before check-in and boarding a flight to Jamaica, all passengers need Travel Authorization.
· Non-residents must apply for travel authorization here
· Nationals/non-nationals who are resident by marriage or work permit should apply here.
British Airways has operated special two, one-way flights to London. One was on January 11, from Kingston to London and on January 13, from Montego Bay to London. British Airways is unlikely to operate any other flights from Jamaica in January.
8. Safety After Dark
Jamaica has a vibrant nightlife, especially in major towns such as Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. There are many nightclubs and outdoor parties that showcase our dance and music culture every night.
But, be aware that walking around, especially alone, after dark is not recommended. If you must walk somewhere, stick to main roads and more populated areas.
It’s better to use a chartered or registered taxi (indicated by a red license plate) instead of walking or using public transportation at night. Here are several Jamaican taxi companies that you can call to charter a cab:
· On Time
· El Shaddai
9. Is Jamaica Safe for Families?
Jamaica is a great destination for families. There are many family-friendly accommodation options to choose from. but ask before you book to make sure there are kid-friendly facilities. If you’re traveling with children, here are a few tips to keep everyone safe:
· Keep your family close together in crowded areas to avoid separation. You could also introduce a code word to keep children alert and know when they need to stay by your side
· Larger resorts and hotels on the north coast of Jamaica tend to be more family-friendly. You can however, find places suitable for families all across the island
· Keep constant watch of children at the beach or pool.
10. Is Jamaica Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Jamaica is relatively safe for women to travel alone, but unfortunately, sexual harassment and sexual advances are not uncommon – especially against female travelers.
Here a few quick safety tips to consider:
· Women may be frequently catcalled by Jamaican men. Be firm yet polite – say you are in a hurry so you can’t stop to talk is usually better than ignoring someone completely
· Avoid hitchhiking
· Don’t walk alone at night or in poorly-lit areas
· Dress modestly while out and about
· Be aware of your surroundings
· Drink alcohol in moderation. Avoid leaving your drink unattended and don't accept drinks from strangers.
11. Natural Dangers
· Hurricane season: the official hurricane season is from June to November, and the months of May and October are usually very wet
· Weather warnings: local weather forecasts give adequate warnings and evacuation procedures. If there’s a hurricane during your visit, make sure to stock up on non-perishable foods (like canned food). Also, stay away from windows during the storm
· Earthquakes: Jamaica is located near two tectonic plates. The island however ,does not usually experience many major earthquakes. The last major earthquake was in 1993. On January 28, 2020, there was a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that occurred 86 miles (139 km) north of Montego Bay, which was felt all over the island. While there was no reported damage, here are some tips on what to do if there’s an earthquake during your trip.
12. Travel Health in Jamaica
Travel with insect repellent because Jamaica has mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever and chikungunya virus, especially after long periods of rain. Also, follow these preventative measures to cut the chances of mosquito bites.
Vaccination from Yellow Fever is required before entering Jamaica but only if you are traveling from a Yellow Fever-endemic country. Other travel vaccinations recommended for Jamaica by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention include, Hepatitis A and B, typhoid and rabies.
If you get sick or injured overseas, your medical bills could be expensive. Make sure you pack travel insurance, with 24/7 emergency help. For Americans, your current credit card provider may offer travel insurance as one of their benefits. The creditcards.com experts created a guide that covers what’s included in travel insurance and how to assess what coverage you need based on your trip type, destination, and length.
So, is Jamaica Safe?
In Jamaica, exercise extra safety precautions – be alert not alarmed. Use your common sense and you should have no troubles traveling in Jamaica. Don’t forget to buy travel insurance – get a quote.
By Diedre McLeod,
World Nomads Contributor - Wed, 19 Aug 2020
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Jacqueline Cameron is a writer/editor with decades of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.