Volunteer in Jamaica

What to Know Before Volunteering in Jamaica

Jamaica is a great place to visit. You will be sure to find fun, excitement and adventure on your trip to Jamaica. It is wide to always be prepared so it is good to research the details of the exact area of Jamaica where you will be volunteering before you arrive. No matter where you go, you will be guaranteed to find native things that will enhance tour experience and make it memorable.

What to know before in volunteering in Jamaica

Anyone travelling to and from Jamaica will need to have a valid passport when entering and leaving the country. It is also advised that you travel with an alien resident card along with your passport for the country in which you have citizenship. These are basic requirements but it is also wise for you to check if there are any additional requirements from the country you are travelling from. You can check it here:



Volunteerism in Jamaica

Jamaica is a great place and very good to visit and partake in the local culture. While it is a popular destination, there are many areas where it is still developing and may do well with volunteerism. Volunteers can engage in meaningful projects that do things such as giving back to local communities, schools or organizations. It is good for volunteers to visit the island and offer their time and skills to implement changes in different areas of the island.


The language spoken in Jamaican is mainly English mixed with Jamaican Patois. It is sometimes referred to as Jamaican Creole and is spoken by almost all Jamaicans intertwined with English. It is seen as a native language that closely resembles English. The language heavily uses English or spinoffs from words. Patois can be seen as a very passionate way for people to share ideas and their feelings. Patios can be simple to understand if you take the time to listen. Once you have a general conversation going with someone, you should be able to figure out what they are saying.



Jamaica has a tropical climate. This means that it is mostly hot in the day and can be cooler at night time. It depends on the time of the year you visit Jamaica, it can get colder at night but it is manageable. Jamaica also usually has a fair amount of rainfall which balances the heat you will feel in the day. Temperatures can reach a high about 27/30 °C (81/86 °F) in the day and a night time temperatures of about 20/23 °C (68/73 °F).


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The currency that is used in Jamaica is known as the Jamaican dollar. The currency for the Jamaican dollar is JMD, JA$ or J$. The most common exchange rate that is used for the Jamaican dollar is with the United States dollar. The rate fluctuates and mostly goes between USD$1 = JMD$135-JMD$146. The dollar is used in the denominations of J$50, J$100, J$500, J$1,000 and J$5,000. The front of each bill has the amount printed on them so you will be clear how much the note is valued. It is also a good fact to note that on the back of each Jamaican dollar note, there is a Jamaican scene or a famous landmark.


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Timings and weekends

Jamaica does not have any time changes. The time on the island can be gauged between Eastern Standard or Central time depending on where you are coming from. The time will always be the same or +/- one hour from those time zones.

On the weekends, persons in Jamaica like to go to the beach and hang out with family and friends. Some amount of commerce still happens on the weekend but it is mostly a time to relax, spend with family, go shopping for the household or worship. Food Markets are usually busy on the weekends and this is a good time to recharge and get ready for the week ahead.


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Public transportation in Jamaica mainly consist of  taxis, buses and minibuses . they go all around the island and can get you anywhere you want to go. Once you have arrived and gotten the lay of the land, it is good to get acquainted with a driver or you can get a recommendation from a local for you to get acquainted with. This could create a safe transport for you to use anywhere you need to go. You can establish a relationship with them and feel assured you will arrive where you are going safely. It may cost a little more based on being a personal hire but it would allow you to travel at your own pace.

If you are taking a taxi or transportation ensure you take one that has a “red” license plate as these are licensed to transport persons by the government. Many freelance taxis are known as “robot” taxis that are not licensed and are very risky to have them moving you around. If you prefer to rent a car, you can do this as well. There are many reputable car rental agencies that you can get information at the airport. You can rent a car with GPS and remember to drive on the left!


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Religious Diversity

Jamaica is a very religious country and you will find diversity in religious practices. The majority of the citizens are of Christian faith and the others can be classified as Rastafarian or claiming no religious affiliation. The laws of Jamaica allow freedom of religion and restricts discrimination based on religious affiliation


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Jamaica is a colorful nation that has bold foods and flavors. Two popular items that Jamaica is known for is Jerk Chicken and Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. True and authentic local Jamaican food is normally fresh and that is readily available on a Jamaican menu. You will find Jamaican Jerk Chicken almost on every corner in Jamaica. You can purchase this on the street right out of a Jamaican Jerk Pan. This is where they jerk the chicken to give it all the flavor that you taste.

There are several items on the menu that you must try when you are in Jamaica. Some of the items include:

– Jerk Chicken

– Escoveitched Fish

– Ackee and Saltfish

– Jamaican Patties

– Rice and Peas

– Jamaican KFC

– Curried Goat


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The temperature in Jamaica will dictate that you wear clothing that allows you to be cool in the temperate climate. You should travel with jeans, t-shirts and short-sleeved professional wear. For ladies, you can wear skirts and summer dresses so you are comfortable when you are here.

Jamaicans wear modern clothing and visitors will fit right in once you dress for a warm climate.

Safety precautions

Just like in any general place, pay attention to your surroundings as crime is prevalent in some areas around the country. There are some areas where visitors may feel more threatened or maybe more vulnerable so you should take basic security precautions.

Always try to have your identification with you and be mindful of who you talk to and where you go. This could be the highest variable to determine that you keep safe. If you happen to have any issues with a crime or need assistance, a local police station is always near or you can dial 119 as the police emergency number. Many volunteer organizations will give you all the relevant information you need to remain safe and give you tips on how you should navigate Jamaica.


Healthcare is free to all citizens and legal residents of Jamaica. If you have a medical issue, you can seek help from a hospital or a clinic. However, there are issues with free healthcare as many times you will encounter long lines and physicians usually do not use appointments. Unfortunately, there are stories of long waits and persons having to turn up early to be able to leave the place of healthcare at a reasonable time. Private Doctors are widely available but it all depends on your medical issue as you may still be referred to the public system. Therefore, it is advised to take general precautions to prevent the need to visit any medical facility in Jamaica.

Markets and bargaining

Almost everywhere around Jamaica, you will find an informal or formal market for you to buy something. Items such as food, souvenirs or various items can be bought in these areas. Formal markets and shops tend to have fixed prices where you will not be able to bargain too much. In an informal setting, you have more flexibility to discuss pricing and bargain as much as possible. You can strike deals and get things at a bargain as these informal sellers are more motivated to sell. If you tend to use USD to make your purchases because of the exchange rate, sellers will be extra motivated to make deals.


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