29 Nov 7 Packing Essentials for Jamaica
If you’re packing for a trip to Jamaica – or anywhere in the Caribbean – here are a few helpful items we recommend packing.
I bring this up because we just packed for a trip to Jamaica ourselves! Seven months ago today, we concluded our Peace Corps service in Jamaica and returned to the States. Now, believe it or not: we’re back! We’ll be in the country for a three week visit. Our aim: to reconnect with Peace Corps and Jamaican friends and to pursue some leads for a potential business opportunity.
Providing shampoo and other toiletries is not a standard practice in Jamaican hotels – unless you’re in a high-end all-inclusive. Although familiar shampoo brands can be often be found in Jamaican stores, it tends to be at a premium price (like most imported goods). Consider bringing your own.
Of course, when you’re in Jamaica, you should eat Jamaican food! But sometimes it’s wise to have a back up snack. As mentioned above, imported items like granola bars, packaged nuts, cereal, etc. can certainly be found on the island. But it will be much cheaper to bring from home. (We went for Kind bars which are all-natural, made with ingredients you can pronounce.)
3) Replacement jewelry
A friend of ours lost his wedding ring while snorkeling, so we’ve been extra cautious with our own rings any time we’re in the ocean. For the two years we lived on island, we actually wore cheap replacement wedding rings to avoid the risk of loss. It’s not just about slipping off in the ocean. Tourists can be ideal targets theft. You can prevent theft simply by looking like you don’t have any valuables.
I prefer not to get salt water in my eyes when in the ocean, and if there’s a pool around, I’ll sometimes swim laps for exercise. We found that basic swimming goggles were a perfectly adequate – and less bulky alternative – for snorkeling in Jamaica. (Sadly, reef degradation has made good snorkeling rare around the island.)
Sunscreen is probably a given. But I can’t tell you how many tourists we saw looking like fried lobsters. Get a good, sweat- and water-resistant SPF. Expect the sun to be stronger than you anticipate, and reapply every time you come out of the water!
6) Bug spray
Mosquito bites are annoying. But packing repellant is especially important now that the chikengunya virus is active in Jamaica. The virus has severe symptoms (fever and joint pain) and is only spreadable via mosquito bites. Speaking from experience, natural alternatives to Deet simply aren’t as effective. We plan to use our bug spray liberally and pray that we don’t get chikengunya!
7) Surge protector
Jamaica uses essentially the same electrical system as the U.S. The prevalence of power surges, however, is much higher. To protect your electronics, we highly recommend the Belkin SurgePlus Mini, which also gives you the ability to charge by USB.
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