Land of wood and water…

Jamaica, whose name means “Land of wood and Water”, is composed of several ethnic groups, of which the main one is that of African descent, from which the ‘ Rasta ‘ movement originated. The warmth of the sun is tempered by the light sea breeze that the Jamaicans call “Doctor Breeze”. Rigogliosissima the vegetation: in Jamaica have been classified more than three thousand different types of plants and flowers. Generous also the sea, to admire with mask and fins to discover countless varieties of coral and shells, and meet the multicolored tropical fish that fill its coral reef. The holiday in Jamaica has the ‘ easy ‘ rhythm of reggae songs, the scents and flavors of international cuisine and that of Creole, appetizing and rich in spices, the joy of rum or even the cream of rum, the intoxicating aroma of coffee and cigars. It adorns amber bracelets, ornate wooden objects, distinctive straw hats, handicrafts in black coral, imaginative t-shirts and typical naïve paintings.

Capital: Kingston (1.1 million AB.)
Population: 2.5 million.
Area: sq km. 10,990 (like Abruzzo).
Religion: Christian-Protestant.
Documents: Valid passport for at least 6 months, Italian driver’s license.
Visa: Not required.
Airport: Norman Manley International (18 km from Kingston); Donald Sangster in Montego Bay.
Electricity: 110 V.
Time zone: 6 hours less than Italy (Kingston H. 6-Rome H. 12). That become 7 in summer with daylight savings time.
Banks: 9.00-14.00 Monday to Thursday, Friday until 16.00.
Phone: To call from Jamaica 01-139 followed by the district number without the 0 and the desired number. To call from Italy 00-1876.
Language: Most Jamaicans speak Jamaican Creole, also known locally as patois (Patwa). Jamaican pronunciation and vocabulary are significantly different from English, despite an intense use of the language or its derived languages. Jamaican Creole is used almost exclusively when the Jamaicans speak to each other. In all other cases, especially with tourists, in the English language.
Although all Jamaicans are able to speak English, Westerners may have difficulty understanding it, in fact it is a heavily accented version of their language. Some Jamaicans also speak other popular languages, such as Spanish.
Local currency: The currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar ($J, JA $) which is coined in banknotes of $50, $100, $500, $1.000 and $5.000. Coins in circulation are $20, $10 and $5. The exchange rate is hovering close to 83 Jamaican dollars for every dollar in the United States. (€1 = 100 Jamaican dollars).
Other currencies: The US dollar is widely accepted in the most visited places. In fact, all the hotels, most of the restaurants, almost all the shops, and almost all the attractions in major cities accept the US dollar. While it is possible that visiting the island you can come across locals, in the suburban shops of cities and in rural areas, areas where the US dollar is not accepted.
It is good to always stay constantly updated on the exchange rate in Jamaica, in fact just know that in the beginning of 2009, 1 US $ had a value of almost $90 JAM!
It is advisable to buy products made on the island, they are cheaper and it supports the local economy. Prices are generally higher in tourist areas such as Negril and Ocho Rios.
Credit cards: credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard and to a lesser extent American Express and Discover are accepted in many industrial establishments, such as supermarkets, pharmacies and restaurants in Kingston, Montego Bay, Portmore, Ocho Rios and Negril and most Of the other major cities. Cash advances from MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express credit card are available from commercial banks, credit co-operatives or banking companies during opening hours.
Withdrawals and exchanges: to withdraw or change money there are ATMs called ABM in Jamaica, which are widely available in every city and almost all ABM in Jamaica are connected to at least one overseas network such as Cirrus or Plus and sometimes both. In fact, the safest way for a visitor to conclude business in Jamaica is to use a ABM to withdraw cash directly from their foreign account in local currency.
The cuisine: The Jamaican dishes are very tasty and spicy, especially with curry and peppers, and are normally accompanied with rice. The Akee is the local fruit used to prepare the traditional dish, the cod with Akee. The dishes of fish, molluscs and crustaceans are highly recommended, including lobster. For drinking we recommend the local beer and rum, excellent both, as well as the Shams Maria, a rum coffee.

How’s the weather?

Jamaica is located in the tropical belt 18 degrees north from the equator near the Tropic of Cancer.
Temperatures are from 27 to 35 degrees all year round. They change the humidity rates much higher from April to October. On the contrary it is drier during the winter period from November to March.

What currency should I bring?
The national currency in Jamaica is the JMD (Jamaican dollar) called Jai.
All also accept American dollars even if the remains are given in dollars Jamaicani.In all hotels and authorized exchanges of the island you can convert both U.S. dollars and euros in Jamaican dollars.

Do they need vaccinations?

No in Jamaica do not need any type of vaccinations.

Are there dangerous insects?

There are no dangerous insects but only annoying as the sand Fly on the beaches and mosquitoes especially in the wetter months.

Can I drive with an Italian driver’s license?

You can drive in Jamaica with your Italian driver’s license. Be careful because you drive on the left side of the road as in Britain.

How is the National Health Service?

Hospitals are there but public health leaves much to be desired however there are several well-equipped private clinics and competent physicians. These clinics are expensive so we recommend medical insurance.

Does the Italian hair dryer work?

Not because of the voltage. The 5-star hotels are equipped with hairdryers, otherwise we recommend travel hairdryers.

What do you eat?

In the hotels usually international cuisine. Otherwise very popular Creole cuisine.

Is the fish good?

The sea that surrounds the island is the sea of the crystalline Caribbean is hot but not loved by the tastier fish that prefer cold seas.
Good is the Red snapper (dentine) Tuna and lobsters!
There is also a clam that lives in the shells which is typical local and is called Conch.

I find Internet connections?

Almost every hotel, Guest House is now several public places are equipped with free WI-Fi which either for a fee.

Is the water drinking?

It is almost always, if it is not indicated. The ancient name of the island is Xaimaca (Land of wood and water)

What documents are needed?

The return ticket and the passport with a residual validity of at least 6 months.

Is it dangerous?

Jamaica is a tropical paradise and at the same time a very difficult country due to its troubled history. Reggae music is the most obvious example.
It is useless to hide that the ghettos of the main cities are dangerous. However the tourist places are quiet. Even here always wins common sense, we are guests of a proud people with its culture that surely has many points in common but is still far from ours.
Experience has taught me that those who are looking for trouble find them as well as those who have no respect and think they can behave rudely is not welcome.
On their side in the tourist places years of experience have taught him not always conventional behavior to try to “extort” a few euros to the tourist. They hardly ask for alms but often take advantage of the discomfort that many feel towards the populations of color exploited and humiliated in history… Their aggressive disposition and the English being does not help the approach to an Italian tourist accustomed to the sweetest, but no less devious ways of the Spanish-speaking islands….