Moving to Jamaica: 9 tips you need to know!

I visited Jamaica in November 2013 for the first time and now it’s become home… Fast forward to April 2016 and it’s been just a little over six months since I made the big move to Jamaica and because I get so many requests from foreigners who, just like me, contemplate the idea of moving to yaad one day I decided to share my thoughts from my personal experience and having lived in and traveled to various places.

1) Kingston is small- heck, Jamaica is small. If you’re some big city person, get used to the fact of bumping into people all the time here. There is no such thing as anonymity or going incognito- and to that point, be careful who you confide in and how far your words go. Everyone is kind of connected to everyone. It’s not necessarily a bad thing (there is something nice about the intimate / humane feeling ) but keep in mind this is a small place. Walking out in your PJ pants to buy milk assuming no one will see you is just not gonna work here.

2) Living here is NOT the same as vacationing here- not even the same as just spending several months “living here” (trust me on this one). Living AND working here is a totally different experience so be sure you do something you are passionate about and that you’re working with the right people. I can say I am grateful to be in that place and a big thank you goes out to those who will recognize themselves in this message.

3) Surround yourself with the RIGHT people. Again, Kingston/Jamaica is small. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride and be sure you find the right people to connect with- and remember, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Again- thank you to those will recognize themselves in this message.

Parade in Kingston – Quite a busy place.

4) Explore every aspect of this beautiful island. there are so many wonderful surprises and sometimes they are in the least expected places. There is more to this place then just reggae, dancehall and beaches PLEASE I urge you to understand this. There are some incredible unexpected movements, ideas, projects all happening right now as I type this long long FB status update 🙂 Also try to connect with everyone and get to understand this culture and place as a WHOLE. Uptown, downtown, rasta, black, white, indian, chinese, middle eastern, EVERYONE. Seeing the full picture makes a difference.

5) Make the most out of all this nature!!! Be it the warmth and light from the sun, the abundance of incredible fruits & vegetables or just the beauty of not seeing skyscrapers all around you.

Fisherman in Portland

6) Be careful of potholes. potholes = public enemy number 1… ESPECIALLY when it’s raining.

7) Be very very very very very self aware of your “foreigness”. be respectful when needed. be firm when needed. don’t take things personally- sometimes it’s just culture getting lost in translation (being called a “whitey” is not a racist comment- it’s a descriptive form of communication)

8) Jamaica is intense and while it has TREMENDOUS potential and talent, it also has its fair share of issues. If you are going to live here, make sure you are here to contribute in a positive way. The world does not need more negativity.

And finally, I’m going to put this out there because it needs to be said- I’ve heard too many stories of this nature…

9) PLEASE DO NOT HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX WITH STRANGERS OVER ONE-NIGHT STANDS! Yes it had to be said. This is applicable to Jamaica and any other place in the world!
Disclaimer: #9 is not my personal experience but it certainly does happen (all over the world) and the consequences that come with it are certainly not worth it.

If you are interested in this feature, please contact the Real Jamaica team!


Culture Nut & Curious Cat, Owner of Marianna’s Kitchen (67 Constant Spring Rd, Kingston).
Follow me on Instagram or check out my photography at Flickr.

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