Many people dream of traveling to Jamaica to bask in the sun on its beautiful beaches. Some want to learn more about the popular music (Reggae and dancehall). While others want to indulge in the cuisine, like jerk chicken, curry goat, or oxtail. If you’re planning a trip to Jamaica, here are some facts about Jamaica, how to get there, and the Jamaica travel requirements to enter the country, including any current COVID requirements.
Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean, the first two being Cuba and Hispaniola, comprising of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
What most visitors don’t know is that Jamaica is quite mountainous. Jamaica’s John Crow and the Blue Mountain ranges are UNESCO World Heritage sites and were a place of refuge for the indigenous Tainos who fled slavery. The mountains have high biodiversity from endemic plant species, 136 species of butterflies, and 106 known bird species that are only on the island.
More commonly known facts include Jamaica, the birthplace of Reggae and Dancehall music, and reggae artist Bob Marley. Sugarcane is one of the major crops that Jamaica grows. However, bananas, oranges, and coconuts are also important, as are coffee and cacao.
Travel To Jamaica: Requirements To Enter
Before finalizing your plans to visit Jamaica, check to see if you need a visa to enter the country. You need a visa if you are from some countries such as Andorra, Guatemala, Lebanon, or Thailand. But those from countries like Bangladesh, Ecuador, Kenya, and Israel have visa-free access.
Staying Longer than 90 Days
Unless you’re staying longer than 90 days, United States citizens and citizens from some other countries don’t need a visa to visit Jamaica.
Proof of Departure
All visitors must also show proof of their departure from Jamaica. If the plane or cruise ship is only stopping in Jamaica for a short time, or you intend to go to a different destination, you also need proof of an onward ticket or departure.
For health considerations, it’s recommended that you stay up to date on your routine vaccines, including chickenpox, shingles, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza, polio, and Measles-Mumps-Rubella. In addition to the routine vaccines, there are recommended vaccinations for those traveling to Jamaica.
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis B
COVID Vaccination Requirements
If you do not have a COVID vaccination, travel isn’t recommended as the CDC has determined that Jamaica still has a high level of COVID-19. Those vaccinated against COVID-19 must show proof of this up-to-date vaccination record unless you have further documentation.
How To Travel To Jamaica
As Jamaica is an island, the easiest ways to travel to Jamaica are by plane or by boat.
Travel To Jamaica By Plane
Jamaica has three international airports: Norman Manley International Airport, Sangster International Airport, and Ian Fleming International Airport. There are a few airlines that fly directly to Jamaica. They include:
- American Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Norman Manley International Airport has the nickname “The Gateway To the World” for a good reason. It plays a critical role in Jamaica’s economic development as it caters to more than 1.7 million passengers and handles over 17 million kilograms of the island’s air freight. Norman Manley International Airport is in Kingston, the country’s capital.
Sangster International Airport is located on Jamaica’s northwest coast and is the main tourism center with hotels and resorts. The airport is the largest on the island regarding passenger volume and flights, and 95% of passengers are on international flights. Sangster International Airport is in Montego Bay on the opposite end of the country from Kingston.
Ian Fleming International Airport is named after the author who created James Bond and is located in the Ocho Rios resort area. The Ocho Rios Resorts in Jamaica has many fun activities for everyone, as does the Negril Resort in Jamaica. The Ian Fleming International Airport is not an airport commonly used for international travel as it caters more to private planes. But, on June 22, it did have its first commercial flight.
Travel To Jamaica By Boat
Cruise ships not only have activities for everyone on board but allow you to visit other locations on the way to Jamaica. The main cruises that have Jamaica as a destination on their itinerary include:
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Celebrity Cruises
- Disney Cruise Line
- MSC Cruises
- Oceania Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Royal Caribbean Cruises
- Viking Ocean Cruises
Jamaica has three main cruise ports: Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Falmouth.
Montego Bay has activities such as river tubing, zip lines, a snail sail, snorkel adventure, a Rose Hall Great House tour, and more. Port Antonio is suited for yachts, megayachts, and boutique cruise ships. Montego Bay is also known as the best place for snorkeling. Doctor’s Cave Beach is a healing mineral springs and is known for having extremely gentle waves. One popular activity is riding down the Martha Brae River on a handmade raft made from bamboo.
Ocho Rios is a port town that was a former fishing village. Even though “ocho rios” translates into English as ‘eight rivers,’ there are only four rivers. Another interpretation is that it’s a variation of “las chorreas” or “the spouts .”The spouts refer to the nearby waterfalls.
Falmouth is in the Trelawny Parish, of which it is the capital. People know Falmouth for its Georgian architecture, bioluminescent lagoons, and white beaches.
As with any travel destination, it’s important to research everything beforehand so you can adequately prepare yourself for contingencies. Once you take care of everything else, you can enjoy your time in Jamaica, swimming in the luminescent sea in Falmouth, trying all the fruits Jamaica offers, or everything under the sun