Have Feet, Will Travel

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Facts About Jamaica

Flag of Jamaica

Although it is one the destination spots to have gained a foothold in popular consciousness, some facts about Jamaica are still important to keep in mind when traveling there. Jamaican culture has managed to find its niches in the United States and England, but to actually visit the island is to see it unadulterated and magnified.

The chief association most travelers will have with Jamaica (beside ganja-smoking Rastafarians) is music. As the birthplace of reggae, ska, rocksteady, dub, and dancehall, and the associated artists of Peter Tosh, Lee Perry, Desmond Dekker, and Bob Marley, Jamaica's music scene is one of its largest cultural attractions. The less-recognizable genres of ragga, mento, and calypso can also be heard at dance halls across the island. Tempo-wise, the music of Jamaica tends to match the culture's easygoing pace; unsurprisingly, many of the exotic, molasses-slow isles of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels were based on Jamaica.

When not dancing, locals can usually be found eating. Some visitors may be familiar with Jamaica's trademark jerk spices, or their cheap and delicious beef pockets. Like these dishes, Jamaican food tends to be comfort food, but with some unexpected ingredients (saltfish, anyone?) and plenty of heat. Ital cuisine, which conforms specifically to Rastafarian dietary restrictions, can also be found in more rural areas, but contains no meat, oil, or salt.

What the Jamaicans do with spice to their food, they do more so to alcohol content in their drinks: the rum is often overproof and visitors should prepare their livers accordingly. Softer fare includes the unusual but delicious grapefruit and champagne colas.

Despite some areas being cripplingly impoverished, Jamaica is generally safe, and locals are friendly towards guests. As with any large city, there are areas in Kingston that are better off avoided for most people, but getting away from the resorts and visiting the true island is definitely recommended.

Quick Info:

Capital: Kingston

Language(s): English

Religion(s): Christianity

Currency: Jamaican dollar (JMD)

Electricity Voltage: 110V

Calling Code: +1-876

Popular Travel Destinations:

  • Montego Bay
  • Port Antonio
  • Ocho Rios

Official Website: www.visitjamaica.com

Travel Forums:

*Note* - Some of the graphics on this page were taken from the CIA World Factbook which contains a wealth of information on every country in the world. I highly recommend it.

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