Monday, February 9, 2015

What Money To Bring To Jamaica? US Dollars Or Jamaican Dollars?

Which type of money or currency should you bring with you on your Jamaican vacation? US Dollars or Jamaican Dollars? This is a common thing tourists wonder about when planning their trip to vacation.

If you're going to Montego Bay, Negril, or Ocho Rios you will definately be able to get away with bringing US Dollars. Probably through most parts of the island you would be fine bringing US Dollars with you. If you're planning on venturing outside of the tourist areas however it may be a good idea to have some of the local currency.
jamaica money for vacation
Should I Bring Jamaican Dollars Or US Dollars To Jamaica?
There are a few reasons I like bringing Jamaican Dollars to Jamaica or the local currency period to a country and that is it shows your more saavy than others so people may give you better prices. I also notice just period, you tend to pay 10% to 20% less when you pay in local currency. As in Jamaica or Mexico or anywhere they tend to give a poor exchange rate to tourists when paying in US Dollars. Another reason I like the local currency is you don't really have to figure exchange rates as much. Sure you want to do a rough calculation in your head to make sure you're not paying $10 for a bottle of water but when paying in the local currency if someone tells you 200 JA your not trying to figure out how much US Dollars to give them. Lastly, I think using the local currency shows respect and that your making some effort. Granted in other countries they do take dollars but imagine if someone walked into a retail store in the US and tried to pay with Canadian Dollars or Euros? It wouldn't work. I think making the effort to get the local currency shows some respect for the people and shop owners.

So which is going to be financially smarter to do US Dollars or Jamaican Dollars? If you wind up getting your currency from a currency exchange you probably come out about even. As I said you tend to get better prices in Jamaican Dollars however if you go to a company like Travelex and pay a 15% margin on your currency plus a $9.95 service charge your pretty much giving away any savings to Travelex. There are cheaper places to exchange your money however. If you go through your own bank back home you will pay a margin and may have to order anywhere from a few days to a week in advance, however you will get a better rate than a currency exchange at the airport. There are Hi-LO grocery stores in Jamaica which oftentimes have great exchange rates as well. Lastly using your own ATM card is normally 3% plus an ATM charge from the machine and possibly your bank. Yes it will add up if you make a bunch of transactions of $20, but if you take out the max probably $400, you will still come out ahead of using a currency exchange.

Hope that helps give you some advice on tips on which currency you should bring on your Jamaican vacation.


  1. Here's a great blog post comparing Negril to Playa Del Carmen. Give it a read if your trying to decide which destination



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