Jamaica's unit of currency is the
Jamaican dollar (J$)
, divided into 100 cents. It comes in bills of J$1000, J$500, J$100, J$50 and J$20, and coins of J$20, J$10 and J$5. It's worth keeping a sharp eye on J$100 and J$1000 bills, which look alarmingly similar. At the time of writing the
rate of exchange
is roughly J$48 to US$1 and J$69 to US$1. This is prone to fluctuation, and as a result, the
has emerged as an unofficial parallel
currency, with prices for tourist-oriented goods and services usually quoted in
US$. You can use this Currency
to always have exact information about foreign currency you
is likely to be the major expense, although extremely basic rooms can be found for as little as US$30. Expect to pay US$60-80 for a room with air-conditioning and cable TV. Accommodation aside, if you travel around by bus or shared taxi and get your food from markets and the cheaper caf?s and roadside stalls, you can just about survive on a daily budget of around US$30 per day. Upgrading to one decent meal out, the occasional taxi and a bit of evening entertainment, expect to spend a more realistic US$40-60; after that, the sky's the limit.
are generally Monday to Thursday 9am to 2pm and Friday 9am to 3pm or 4pm.
, which are widespread throughout the country, are often more convenient, opening later and offering better exchange rates. FX Trader, with branches islandwide, is one to look out for; call 1-888/398-7233 to find the nearest outlet.
at the main airports offer rates slightly lower than the banks, and at
the rate is invariably significantly lower.
Jamaica is not a cheap country to visit. Still, don't hesitate to
negotiate on prices,
particularly in taxis and at markets and roadside stalls. Even hotels and
guesthouses are generally fair game for a bit of bargaining when things are