Jamaica - Money & Costs
Money & Costs in JamaicaCurrency: Jamaican Dollar
Jamaica is relatively inexpensive compared to other Caribbean islands, though how much you spend depends largely on the style in which you travel. Budget travelers will need around US$20-30 per day, while those staying in comfortable hotels and eating at tourist restaurants will need at least US$75 per day - add another US$50 per day if you hire a car. Rates at all-inclusive resorts begin at $300.
The Jamaican dollar is the only legal tender, though prices are often quoted in US dollars, which are widely accepted. European currencies are generally frowned upon so it's best to have US dollar traveler's checks. All major brands of traveler's checks and credit cards are accepted in Jamaica. You can exchange money at banks, licensed exchange bureaus or hotels, though the rate at hotels is usually 2% to 5% below the bank rate. Plenty of Jamaicans will approach you to change Jamaican dollars on the black market. This is illegal and the black market rate is usually only 5% to 10% better than the bank rate so it's not worth the risk of falling for a scam.
The government charges a 15% General Consumption Tax on hotel and restaurant bills and most purchases from shops. Most hotels add an additional 10% service charge. A 10% tip is considered normal in most hotels and restaurants, though some restaurants add a 10% to 15% service charge, in which case there's no need to leave an additional tip. Most prices in shops are fixed but bargaining (higgling) at street stalls and markets is expected. Bargaining occasionally gets a bit brusque so do your best to keep things good natured.