Immigration laws may differ from country to country and it is important to know what are the necessary rules at each port of entry.

Apart from the laws, there are also some specifics that are helpful especially for a first time cruiser. So, here are some things you should know when you cruise to Jamaica for the first time.

Documents required to enter Jamaica

Valid and approved travel documents that provide evidence of identity are required, this means it must have a photograph of the bearer. The preferred document is passport, with a visa also a necessity for persons from most countries.

The document must provide the holder with a re-entry authority to the country of issue, or an entry authority to another country.

Other types of documents which are aceptable to enter Jamaica include:

* ‘Kinderausweis’ issued to German minors

* Laissez Passer

* Military documents for military personnel travelling by air; whether Military passport on I.D

* Documents issued to refugees

* Seamans certificate if travelling by sea


The local currency is the Jamaican Dollar (J$). The value against the United States dollar is US$1 = J$125 (approximately) as at September 2016.

Credit cards or US dollars are allowed as payment for goods and services in Jamaica.

Obey Jamaica’s Laws

Here is something to remember: Marijuana (ganja) is widely available in Jamaica but it is still illegal. If you are caught with possession you will be charged, so please be careful. Other drugs outlawed internationally are also outlawed in Jamaica.

After docking – duty-free shopping, craft markets, tours, reggae

If your ship docks in Ocho Rios you will find several exciting attractions within walking distance, if you wish not to take a taxi. Shopping is available just minutes after disembarking.

For cruisers docking in Falmouth you can have a shopping experience beginning right there on the dock but for attractions you will have to hire a taxi.

The Montego Bay experience is different in that you definitely will have to board a taxi to get into the town, from where the ships dock in Freeport.

The people are friendly

Jamaicans are generally friendly people but admittedly, sometimes they can get too enthused thus making visitors feel a bit uncomfortable. But if you just say to them, “Wha a gwaan mon?” (What’s happening, man?) you will see the biggest smile on their face.   

Jamaicans drive on the left, so watch how you walk

In Jamaica, drivers drive on the left, so remember that if you happen to be walking on the streets.

You can ask for directions

Jamaicans would be happy to direct you to where you want to go, so feel free to ask questions.

Taxi cabs

Jamaica has a transportation / taxi service that is exclusive to the tourism industry and members are the ones specially trained to deal with tourists. Their vehicles are marked either (1) JUTA Tours (2) Maxi Tours or (3) JCAL Tours and they are available in all resort areas. Their vehicles are marked with the specific company they work with and their license plates are red, with two letters (the first one being P, so you might see PA, or PB, etc) followed by four digits written in white.

The taxis are not metered but charge a pre-determined fixed rate.

Transportation service for Jamaicans also carry similar licence plates but the routes they ply is printed on the vehicle. Such vehicles are not members of JUTA, Maxi or JCAL but of other transport organizations.   

Pre-book your tours

It is wise to pre-book tours so you can make effective use of your limited time on land. But just in case you arrived and didn’t pre-book, you can always get a trusted, knowledgeable and friendly driver to take you to one of several fabulous attractions along Jamaica’s north coast, anywhere from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay and beyond.

Listed below are just some of the long list of popular tours closest to each port:

Montego Bay port:  Rose Hall Great House, Hip Strip, Doctor’s Cave Beach, Appleton Estate Tours.

Falmouth port: Rafting on the Martha Brae, Swamp Safari, Greenwood Great House.

Ocho Rios port: Dunn’s  River Falls, Dolphin Cove, Mystic Mountain Bobsled, Chukka Caribbean Adventures.

Water Sports

After sailing on the waters for several days you might not be too keen to want to try water sporting activities. Or maybe you might be yearning to dive in and experience the warm waters of the Caribbean. Well, you can book a tour at any of the above locations and go enjoy scuba diving, sailing, snorkeling and any of the several other water related activities available.

Try our food

If it’s the last thing you do, please try our Jamaican food, Book the Taste of Jamaica Tour.

Jamaican cuisine is loved worldwide and if you’re here for any period of time, eating something Jamaican is a must.

The Jamaican patty is a favourite of many, whether the filling is beef, chicken or any of the other delicious flavours. You should try it but be careful, the meat filling can sometimes be really hot.

If you like chicken then you’ll love Jamaican jerked chicken. Seasoned with local spices and roasted over slow fire until it’s just right, this is Jamaica’s latest culinary gift to the world. It’s been around in Jamaica for decades but only recently being discovered by visitors to the island.

Ackee and salted codfish (Ackee & Saltfish) is the country’s national dish and one taste and you will see why. Try it with boiled dumplings or boiled green bananas, yam and potato.

And you might have heard of Red Stripe Beer. Take a sip of an ice cold bottle, it’s really refreshing. It’s made right here and is as Jamaican as reggae music.

Article written for by Mr.Carl Gilchrist
Please do not copy without permission