Shopping in Jamaica
According to youremailverifier, the following articles may be imported into Jamaica duty-free (people over 18 years of age) if they are listed on the customs form handed out on the plane:
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars;
1 liter of alcoholic beverages;
170 ml of perfume and 340 ml of eau de toilette;
Personal effects worth up to US $ 500.
Foreign rum and matches only with import license, meat, fruits, vegetables, ground foods, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, herbal teas, walkie talkies, coconut products, oil seeds, food oils, detergents, large amounts of alcohol and sugar.
Goatskin products (including drums, handbags), coffee, offensive or obscene materials (including prints, paintings, photos, films, lithographs, engravings, books, cards or writing).
On the roadsides and on the many craft markets, countless traders offer their goods. Hand-woven fabrics, embroidery, batik, wood carving, oil paintings, strawwork, and leather sandals are just a few of the handicrafts Jamaica is known for. Haggling is allowed, as a rule, prices can be negotiated by around 10-30%.
The in-craft workshop sells custom-made carpets and reproductions of porcelain and pewter items from the ancient, sunken city of Port Royal. In the mountain village of Highgate, Quakers run a workshop that specializes in making wicker and wooden furniture, straw mats, etc. Jamaica rum, Rumona liqueur (the only rum liqueur in the world, hardly available outside of Jamaica) and Ian Sangster’s Rum Cream, as well as pepper jellies, jams, spices and coffee are also nice souvenirs.
Weekly markets that sell fresh fruit and vegetables take place regularly. The Coronation Market in Kingston is the largest and best-known market in the country, especially on weekends it is very busy. Other major markets include Linstead Market in St Catherine, Brownstown Market in St Anne, Savanna-la-mar Market in Westmoreland and Albert George Market in Falmouth.
In some stores you can buy a number of international items tax-free (in-bond). Tax-free export goods are packaged and sealed and may only be opened outside the country. All purchases must be paid for in local currency.
Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Some shops close Wednesday afternoon (in Kingston) or Thursday afternoon (in other locations).
Jamaica is the home of reggae music. Live reggae concerts and jam sessions take place almost every evening across the island, especially in the cities of Kingston and Negril. The concerts usually start late in the evening and often last until sunrise. International stars like Ziggy Marley, the son of the famous Jamaican reggea artist Bob Marley, can also be seen here.
Folklore shows and performances by steel bands take place regularly in all of the larger towns, as well as discos, nightclubs and jazz music. At least once a week there is a steel band show somewhere on the island with limbo dancers and fire-eaters.
The liveliest nightlife can be found in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, while Kingston has the largest selection of bars, pubs and clubs. The Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril is the island’s largest party mile and there are numerous discos such as Alfred’s, Roots Bamboo and The Jungle. Live music is often played on the weekends. Theme parties are held regularly in the popular Margaritaville Caribbean (Internet: www.margaritavillecaribbean.com).
Small bands and sometimes calypso singers with guitars often perform in the larger hotels. Folklore shows and steel bands are common, as are discos, nightclubs and jazz music. The tourist office organizes cultural evenings under the motto Meet the People. More information from the tourist offices in Kingston, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, Ocho Rios or Negril.
Specialties include rice and peas (mutatis mutandis “rice and peas”), an excellent dish, without peas, but with beans, shallots, rice, coconut milk and coconut oil; Saltfish and Ackee (dried cod with cooked ackee fruit), goat meat curry with rice; Jamaican pepperpot (“pepper pot” with cured beef and pork, okra and calaloo), chicken fricassee (stew with chicken, carrots, yam, shallots, onions, tomatoes and peppers in cold-pressed coconut oil) and suckling pig, filled with rice, paprika, diced yam and thyme with grated coconut and cornmeal. Patties are the most popular snack (pies with minced meat and breadcrumbs or other fillings) and can be found everywhere in different shapes and price ranges.
Most hotels and restaurants add 10% service charge to the bill. Waiters expect 10-15%. Hotel staff and porters also expect a tip. Taxi drivers get 10% of the fare.
Jamaican rum is world famous, especially Gold Label and Appleton. Rumona is a rum liqueur. The Red Stripe and Dragon Stout beers are excellent, as is Tia Maria (a chocolate and coffee liquor from the Blue Mountains). Fresh fruit juices and the excellent Blue Mountain coffee are also very tasty.
Minimum age for consuming alcoholic beverages
In Jamaica you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.