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Best Advice From Expats on Moving to Jamaica

Joshua Wood, LPC

Summary: Expats in Jamaica offer advice for newcomers about deciding where to live in Jamaica, what to bring with you and more.

Falmouth, Jamaica
Falmouth, Jamaica

If you're moving to Jamaica, read these comments from expats living in Jamaica about how they made it all happen. You'll find information about deciding where to live, what to bring (or not), and more.

Deciding Where to Live in Jamaica

Expats living in Jamaica have offered a lot of advice about where to live on the island. After reading their comments below, also check our article 7 Best Places to Live in Jamaica.

"When we first moved to Ochi, we were staying in an apartment that was rented out by my husband's company. Since the apartment was a bit far from downtown and also very dark, we started looking around for a new place. Our lease was almost up, so we were actively on the lookout. A friend of ours saw a sign right outside a nice looking complex advertising a real estate agency and we called right away. Now we live in an ocean front apt and couldn't be happier," said one expat who moved to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

"I had stayed as a vacationer in guest houses in this area. When I was looking for an apartment to live in I saw the ad say a street name in the area I loved so I had friends come look at it and send me photos for my approval," mentioned another expat when asked about moving to Jamaica.

"I chose my community by asking friends and family for references. I wanted to reside near the airport but not in a commercial zone. I chose Retreat Heights which is located outside of the town of Falmouth but close enough to hotels, airport and entertainment," commented one expat who made the move to Jamaica.

"Work chose it for me. A word to the wise, if work is choosing your place to stay make sure you travel to Jamaica and see it for yourself. If work expect to send you to Jamaica they should pay for a 1 week trip to the country staying in a compounded hotel with a driver available to you. Do not move to Jamaica without being there before!!," remarked another expat in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

"I found my first place, through friends, and then found second place, which was perfect, thru a referral of someone i spoke to on email, for a while, who had lived in the same apt...it really is best to check out a place for a while, before you decide where you want to live...you will more than likely change your mind..at least once..," said another expat in Jamaica.

"We wanted to be close to the Montego Bay airport so we looked at a few parishes on the west half of the island. Falmouth is up and coming so we selected Falmouth. My husband and I are real estate agents in the US, so we just felt comfortable contacting a real estate agent to find our current house," remarked another expat who made the move to Jamaica.

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What to Bring When Moving to Jamaica (and what to leave behind)

When we asked expats living in Jamaica what they wish they had brought when moving to Jamaica and what they wish they had left at home, they replied:

"I'm glad I brought my mountain bike, my dive gear and an underwater camera. I wish I had a trailer to haul the kids on my bike. I wish I had brought more shorts and underwear. The beach is rough on clothes. I wish I had brought a second laptop so my kids could surf and play while I work. I wish I had not brought the DVD collection and player but the kids are glad I did," commented one expat living in Negril, Jamaica.

"Money, money and more money - things that got lost in the Abyss - books, photos, video tapes - with no a/c mildew destroys," commented one expat living in Calabar, Jamaica.

"Nothing really, i brought everything i needed, and you can get most things out here," commented one expat living in Manchester, Jamaica.

"I wish I had brought more baby toys, baby clothes and baby accessories in general. I wish I had left our winter clothes behind! Also, I haven't worn any dressy clothes, nor my high heels," commented one expat living in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

"More household items, the cost of them isn't very cheap here in Ocho Rios, Jamaica," commented one expat living in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

"Jamaica is like the states so you don't have to over-pack. As a returning resident bring as much as you can. But, otherwise it is more economical to purchase you items here in Jamaica," commented one expat living in Falmouth, Jamaica.

"BRING A Generator (Seriously), power cuts are rife and expect to be without power, internet or water for 2-3 days at a time. Toiletries, I should have stocked up on things like shaving foam and toothpaste etc as it is far to expensive here. An umbrella, it rains almost every day here (all year - dont believe the hype on net) LEAVE AT HOME Jumpers, coats etc - It is hot and humid," commented one expat living in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

"1) More solar things, like lights and phone charger. 2) More good, big beach towels (ones here cheap, flimsy, but easier to wash by hand!) 3) Rechargeable batteries of all sizes and the batteries (don't skimp) 1) Less clothes 2) Less shoes 3) LESS..period," commented one expat living in Negril, Jamaica.

"1. I wish I had gone to Dollarama and stocked up on spices and kitchen stuff. It pains me to spend $8-$10 on items I know I could get for free. 2. I brought a TV, but wish I had shipped both. Electronics are crazy expensive here. 3. Sheets, bedding, towels. I packed light so I didn't bring too much of anything. I had already read from others not to bring too much clothing and I'm glad I didn't," commented one expat living in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

"Wish I would have brought: -Coffee Maker with extra coffee pods (Keurig), my art supplies, extra mosquito repellent. Wish I would have left at home: Several pairs of shoes, electronic gadgets I don't use, and jewelry," commented one expat living in Falmouth, Jamaica.

Advice for Newcomers to Jamaica

In a recent thread about Moving to Jamica, several expats living there now have provided a ton of advice that will be useful to anyone considering a move there. Here are a few of the highlights:

"In my opinion... you have to acclimate yourself and NOT try to live like an American, Canadian or Brit. If you currently reside in a major metropolitan city like Chicago, New York, Miami, Seattle, etc than you'll do fairly well here in terms of cost of living. If you currently live (in the U.S., Canada or England) paycheck to paycheck and still can't make ends meet you'll have a tough time here."

"Carry 100s and 50s...1000 to 2000 will get you around just fine. ATM fees and exchange rates are something to be aware of......I have several banks in several countries so I shop for the least expensive rates. Overall the JCB bank machines are the cheapest. The Scotiabank machines are the the most expensive by far."

"Well, if the friend was moving from a country in which gas is supplied via a main pipeline rather than a gas cylinder, I would suggest that he or she not take the cooker (gas stove). Also, ensure that your house is wired with the appropriate voltage and AC adapters, otherwise large electrical appliances are not likely to work," said one expat who moved to Spanish Town, Jamaica.

Finally, you'll also want to read our 10 Tips for Living in Jamaica.

Expats living in Jamaica interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Read Next

Moving-To-FalmouthAn Expat Talks about Moving to Falmouth, Jamaica

An expat in Falmouth, Jamaica offers some insight into moving there. It includes cost of living information, what to bring and what you might want to leave at home.

Culture-Shock-in-NegrilAn Expat Talks about Culture Shock & Living in Negril, Jamaica

A Canadian expat who moved to Negril, Jamaica found driving to be the most challenging part of moving to Jamaica. Waiting on others was a big issues at first, but eventually he adjusted and appreciated the laid back lifestyle in Jamaica.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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First Published: Jul 01, 2018

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