Jamaica is by-far the most popular English-speaking island in the Caribbean.
Every year, the island welcomes upwards of 4 million people! While many of those are returning residents and repeat visitors, a large chunk are first-time visitors.
If you fall in the latter category, then you may have a lot of questions. One of the most common questions that we get happens to be ‘how much money should you bring to Jamaica?’ That’s a great question and not one that is easy to answer.
However, if you keep on reading, we’ll give you all the information you need to help you determine how much money you should bring on your Jamaican vacation.
Determining the Right Amount of Money You Should Travel With to Jamaica
As we just mentioned, it’s not easy to give a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much money you should bring. There are a few factors that you should consider when making the decision.
Let’s look at them in further detail.
How long will your trip be?
The most important factor that will determine how much money you need for a trip to Jamaica is the length of your stay. Prior to traveling, it is recommended that you determine a daily budget and stick to it as much as possible.
A good daily budget is about $100 USD per person per day while on the island. Note that based on your activity level, this budget will either decrease or increase significantly; which brings us to the next point – what activities do you have planned?
What types of activities do you plan to do?
Are you the type that relaxes by the pool and lounges in your room? Or are you the type that goes searching for adventure and new spots to eat? If you’re the latter, then you will need the budget to match.
Activities in Jamaica range in price, according to location and other factors. For instance, a visit to the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park in Ocho Rios will cost you about US $20; however, a visit to the nearby Dolphin Cove attraction will cost you upwards of 45 USD depending on the package that you choose.
There are lots of activities that fall in the US $10 range though – for example, a visit to Reach Falls in Portland or Hope Zoo in Kingston.
In addition, there are lots of places that you do not have to pay to access. These include beaches, parks, and some waterfalls.
One example of this is the historical ‘Spanish Bridge’ which sits on the border of St. Ann and St. Mary. While this location is free, it is a bit far from the resort area so you might incur quite a bit of cost for transport. The spot is also remote so you may need a local guide to find this hidden gem.
How much money do you want to spend on food?
While the food in Jamaica is not super expensive, these costs can add up if you’re on an extended stay. A budget of at least US $10 per meal is practical while vacationing in Jamaica if you intend to eat at ‘local’ restaurants. If you prefer fine dining and intend to visit fancier type establishments, then a budget of at least US $60 per person for a meal should be adequate.
Jamaica is home to many markets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables that will come in handy if you intend to cook while on your stay. Purchasing fruits and vegetables from these markets is a lot cheaper than buying them from grocery stores.
Will you be using cash or credit?
While most establishments in Jamaica accept credit/debit cards, not all do. So it is definitely advisable to carry cash if you intend to venture outside of your resort or hotel.
In addition, a lot of street and craft vendors do not accept cards, so if you intend to shop locally, cash is best.
This does not mean that you need to travel to Jamaica with lots of cash though. You can always access cash at the airport, or at local ATMs which oftentimes allow you to withdraw money in USD or local currency.
Do you have any specific preferences or needs?
Are you a cash or card type of girl/boy? If you prefer the latter, for safety or other reasons then this will impact how much cash you are willing to have on hand.
If you prefer to use cards, then you will need to ensure that your cards are approved for overseas use by your bank before you travel. It’s also advisable that you do some research to ensure that the attractions/places that you plan to visit accept this method of payment.
A good rule of thumb is to have a mixture of cash and money on your cards, in case emergencies arise that require the use of one or the other.
What type of accommodation do you plan to stay in?”
If you are staying at an all-inclusive type resort then you may not need as much money on hand, because you’ll probably be spending a lot of time at the hotel utilizing add-on services that are included in your accommodation costs. Meals are also covered at an all-inclusive, so it’s unlikely that you will be eating out as much.
On the other hand, if you are staying in an Airbnb-type accommodation, then you are generally responsible for your own needs and will need to make purchases of food, toiletries, and other items.
There are many factors that will impact how much money you spend while on vacation in Jamaica. Your general spending habits, the food you like, your activity level, and personal preferences all contribute. Despite this, however, it is recommended that travelers budget at least US $100 in cash for each day of their visit. This will cover food and any incidentals that pop up during the vacation.
In addition to the budgeted cash allowance for your vacation, it is wise to have some extra money available on your debit or credit cards in case of emergency.