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Potential move to Jamaica

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8/28/2015 09:22 EST

Hi my husband and I are seriously considering moving to Jamaica for a 3 year work transfer. I would be grateful for any advice that would sway our decision either way. We are English and have never been to Jamaica.

8/28/2015 12:27 EST

If you are being paid to go to Jamaica for three years I would tell you to go. If you have children or are intolerant, racist, or not open to new experiences I say stay home. I took a job there sight unseen 11 years ago. I now call the island home.
Feel free to contact me for particulars.

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8/28/2015 12:33 EST

I appreciate your reply Ed - and if everything pans out I will be in touch.

8/28/2015 20:52 EST

Jamaica is great if you can appreciate the slow pace at which things move. What part of the island are you going and do you need a home to rent?

8/28/2015 22:05 EST

Hi there, I would start by asking you what are your major concerns about moving to Jamaica? If you had, say, the prospects of moving to New York, would your concerns be the same? I will start by saying straight off that I have recently relocated to JA to take up a 3 year contract - I arrived in November 2014 and I can honestly say that there is not a single day that I have really regretted my decision...which is not to say hat I don't get periodic bouts of homesickness, of missing family and friends, but those bouts are only ever temporary...SKYPE, FaceBook,WA and other forms of free or lost cost communications means that I see and talk with my loved ones in the UK on a daily basis - far more often than I did when i was 'at home'. And of course they all want to visit me here nd several friends and family members have already done so and plan to come again...and again..and again. I on't lie and say that it's all great; there are many, socio-economic problems here, but, and here's the thing, Jamaica is an abundantly rich society on so many different levels. It's like most other places in the world - you will find good and bad people, though I can honestly say that for the most part, you will encounter unconditional goodness...Jamaicans are a warm hearted people who will respond to you in the way you approach them...approach with attitude and you will get attitude, approach with warmth and that's what you will get back - 9 times out of ten. You will probably have heard about the crime, and again, yes, there is no getting away from it. Crime rates are high - this is after all a desperately poor society...let me rephrase that, many people live in extreme poverty, but there is a great deal of wealth here...the problem is the unequal distribution of that wealth...I am still amazed at the sight of huge 10 and 20 bedroomed mansions in various parts of Kingston, where I live...though I am equally taken aback by the many garrisons (ghettoes) that are a part of Kingston. That's the side of Kingston you will see in most documentaries, juxtaposed against the sights of stunning beaches of Negril, Ochi, Mobay etc...and this is a stunningly beautiful don't have to go far before you are in the Blue Mountains which really are breathtaking...if you like the outdoor life, if you value a rich and diverse environment, then come to Jamaica...the cost os living is high, yes that's true, but you can save a lot of money by shopping from roadside vendors and markets rather than the large supermarkets, the shelves of which are stocked with imported goods and so therefore expect to pay high prices...if you insist on having access to British or UK goods, then you can get these also...but at a price...several upscale supermarkets stock Tesco and Waitrose products..Housing costs depend on where you live and the type of accommodation you want, but you will generally get more for your money than you would in the UK, and you can enjoy a much higher standard of living... many expats prefer to live in gated communities and that might be a suitable option until you find your feet...after all, many middle class Jamaicans also live in gated communities...that said, I think you will miss out on a lot if you shut yourself away from local communities...that said, there are definitely places that you would not want to live, for various reasons, but an estate agent will be helpful if giving advice as to areas to avoid (and sometimes, areas aren't to be avoided because of crime, but because of poor infrastructure e.g an area may not be well served by water or power supplies. As Jamaicans will tell you, this is a land of wood and water, but in a drought year - as we have been experiencing - water may be scarce (and likely to be scarcer in certain areas)...but most people adjust to water shut offs and become pretty good at stocking up on drinking water and conserving water ...whether you will need your own transport depends on where you live...the transport services are generally OK but not as predicatable as you might be used to, and many rural areas are not well served. I lve in Kingston and don't have my own transport and I manage to get about fairly easily using taxis which are relatively inexpensive. But having your own transport does mean you can get to visit the more inaccessible, but incredibly beautiful parts of the interior...if you do want own transport, you will be able to access various to health care, you will definitely need health insurance, but most expats are covered by their employers...if you have children, schools are generally good and you can get advice on schools from other expats and locals...if you like to travel, then you're in for a treat, as Jamaica is within easy reach of many other islands - Cuba, the Caymans, Dominica, Puerto Rica and can also get to the eastern caribbean islands such as Barbados, St. Lucia, though be warned that many fllghts are not direct, and so to get to Barbados, for instance, can involve a stop over in Miami (and that can be from 5-22 hours!)...if you're a culture vulture, Jamaica offers so much to see and, it's not London, but you can take in local theatre (sometimes from the UK, USA etc), museums, opera and classical concerts, art galleries and shows...if your'e a foodie, Jamaican food is superb, but you will also find everything from sushi to Lebanese cuisine, wine bars, night clubs...there really is something for everyone to meet all budgets...and on weekends, the beaches and mountains's not surprising that so many expats stay on here after their contracts have ended...relocating here was one of the best decisions I have ever made, I love my life here, I have a great circle of friends - very few of whom are expats - and

8/30/2015 15:11 EST

Any advice to offer
I want to live in Jamaica but giving up my teaching assistant job is going to be hard
Where would I get another job like that from.
I have been in my job for years now and wish I had done the teaching training now as this is where I want to be now
Any advice folks

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8/30/2015 18:27 EST

So you are working in a paying job in the USA or Canada or England (you don't say where) and want to move to a 3rd world, albeit beautiful country and expect to make a living, how again?? No offense to anyone, but I never cease to be amazed at people who just are willng to throw caution to the wind like this. Take a long vacation in Jamaica, and until you have an independent income, stay right where you are. That's the best advice you heard all day.

9/1/2015 09:42 EST

Being realistic and open to something different and new is a must. Thank you for your world-view and your experience.

9/21/2015 12:21 EST

There is a great spot in Negril called The Royal Hummingbird Resort on West End Rd. this is a great place to stay and check out Jamaica, the rates are very reasonable, contact them at 397-6270 ask for gary

9/21/2015 14:30 EST

Do you mean this place:

9/21/2015 17:40 EST


Sounds like the poster was doing a bit of self-promotion....Jamaica style dat!
But...and this is my experience... I have stayed in some real dives in Jamaica over the years. I also lived in the Ritz Carlton for a month--they were my employers--and I have to say I never had a bad experience as far as the owners or staff were concerned. Bad rooms? Mosquitoes and roaches? People in adjoining rooms doing loud and questionable stuff? Plumbing issues of all kinds?
Yes to all. But I have to say that the owner of the very worst of the worst places became, and still is, a friend.
But to anyone coming from abroad---Ask first!
Someone online can help you out. One more thing, if you wish to save money you are going to spend time living in a less than 5 star establishment. You will need to get real with your water is optional and costly. screens on windows, let alone AC are optional, count the fans in the place, talk to the people who run it. learn from websites and forums like this one.
Lots more on this, but I think it needs to be lived to be understood. Once the vacation is over reality begins...


9/21/2015 18:25 EST

I use to stay in Kingston in the Altamont Court and I loved it. Very small hotel with good service and lovely gardens. It was inexpensive compared to the large Pegasus or Wyndham.

9/22/2015 10:56 EST

You can check them out on face book, The Royal Hummingbird Resort for new pic's

9/22/2015 12:39 EST

Hi Helen T,

Many English nationals have visited and even stayed permanently in JA. I live in the cool hills of Irish Town which got its name from the English settlers.

A lovely 2-bdrm 2.5 bathroom is available for rental - contact me for more details.

10/3/2015 08:45 EST

They will have income. They would be moving on a job transfer.

One of the hard parts about moving/living in JA is choosing the right area. We are on the North Coast and love it...I can sit on my balcony and watch the ships roll by.

You can't come on a 'long vacation' and get an idea of 'living' here. It's totally different. Living in a hotel or resort is NOT the same as renting or owning your own home. There are plenty of nice places for expats to live across this island and if you can afford it on the salary they are offering...go for it. (we don't find JA to be expensive as a whole, but some do.)

The downside to living in JA is this: the drivers are friggin crazy, the crime is insane (but we're going on 30 yrs without an issue), no one does anything with a matter of urgency (but you do get use to that), you need 2 passport photos signed by a JP to do anything, and finding quality 'goods' is hard..we have to import a lot of things (car parts, pet food, household items, etc) too much Chinese crap invading the island. Medical care can be issue, but Miami is 90 mins away and it's $99 a flight.

10/3/2015 20:56 EST

Inbox me if you are looking to rent. I have a fabulous home on the north coast.

10/4/2015 14:23 EST

I will private message you.

10/5/2015 11:03 EST

This is really great advice. I agree. Just stay a few months or weeks every year and enjoy the steady income you have in the UK or like me, the USA. It's a beautiful life to live if you think about it. Make your money here and recouperate in your island of choice whenever you want, in a house you own or are renting every year......sweet.

10/5/2015 18:19 EST


10/6/2015 06:13 EST


this is a lot of people do it. They come for three months at a time and head back to the states or the UK and it works well for them. Some do season rentals (same unit year after year) and others buy a home or build a home.

For anyone looking to move here that's how I suggest they start out. So many people come here without a clue and quickly find out that unless you have Jcan ties (marriage or descent) moving here isn't as simple as packing your stuff and setting up a home. There's a lot more involved...and having money does make the process a lot easier.

10/6/2015 10:42 EST

I suggest people rent before they buy, especially if they don't know the area/neighborhood.

If you have some flexibility with your time, look for a place you can afford the rent on year-round and then come and go as you please. I like being able to leave my things in place than have to store it or haul it back and forth, or re-set up a kitchen etc.

10/9/2015 14:00 EST

Well said!

10/9/2015 14:02 EST

Hi there deepwaters

10/9/2015 14:10 EST

Thank U, DeepWaters for the props! We are really happy that u guys had a great time here with us in Negril!!!
It was our pleasure serving u...

10/9/2015 14:12 EST

Very good response, Cessj! With an open mind, the world is your oyster...

10/9/2015 14:18 EST

Hi There, Gardis,

The Royale Hummingbird Cliff Hotel recently (June 2015) changed management, refurbished, and reopened (August 1, 2015) as The Royal Hummingbird Resort. New pics can be seen on our Facebook page Resort

Thank You,

Gary Dyer
General Manager
The Royal Hummingbird Resort
West End, Negril, JAMAICA

12/22/2015 11:41 EST

Whats a realistic amount of money to move and get settled in Jamaica?

Also, what is the process to work there? How much does that cost?

I have a bachelors in counseling, is it possible to get a professional job as an American?

12/22/2015 15:39 EST

Do not move to Jamaica hoping to find a job as an expat. Wont happen. Your best bet is to obtain employment here before moving. I've lived here for some time (work permit, license, tax #, etc) and have pretty much given up on working in Jamaica, I work overseas seasonally and return for downtime. I have an arrangement that works for me, it probably isn't for everyone.
Moving expense is entirely dependent on how much stuff you intend to move.....
Best of luck

12/25/2015 10:45 EST

Hi There, a realistic amount of money will be relative to what you have in mind. What would you be planning on taking with you? a Fridge, a Stove, TV, etc. or a 1 x 20' Cntr.?. One thing I can tell you from a customs perspective you will only get duty exemptions if you are brought in by a company, meaning you have a contracted Job Letter, work permit etc and a Letter detailing your employment. If not be prepared to pay duties that will be based on values applied by the Customs officer who does the inspection at the port of entry. I just completed a 1 x 20' for an American Expatriate who has her Certs in Physical Therapy got her work permits and she paid US$1054.00 in duties I think the officer really showed her due consideration to her efforts to re-locate and was very lenient, I say this because her site inspection notes actually spoke to over US$2500.00 although not everything valued

12/25/2015 10:50 EST

I agree with this post 100%....I hope you heed the advice, you wont get it better

1/4/2016 10:21 EST


2016. Moving mid Oct/Nov.

To the amazement of friends I have decided to take early retirement at 50 because I can and cannot bear to remain in the UK the way the country progrssing into a dog eat dog state. Now I received a letter from my first penson provided that I will not be entitled to recieve that part of my pension contribution until I am 65. This is the sorry state this country is going to.

I was born here and I am blessed to have family in Jamaicavand Guyana. Parents from both. I dicoverex Jamaica in 2010 and fell in love with the country in 2011, 2013 I took a career break and stayed in Jamaica for 6 months. Going between Jamaica and Guyana.

I have made my final decision and soon will put in my request for early retirement, likewise I will be a lone female and I do not know much people. I do have a cousin whom inhaveca good relationship with which is a great plus.

I to would like to either join groups or do voluntary work. I would be grateful for any suggestions.

I will locate in Montego Bay firstly with the possibility of moving to Falmouth - Trelawny.

Comments, suggestions welcomed.

1/4/2016 10:27 EST

Thank you for the advice.

I intend to rent for a year. Like you if I need to leave the island I do not have to pack up everything.

I was thinking a guess house or an apartment.
Something confortable and affordable.

1/10/2016 16:34 EST

Thanks for your response. I plan to bring clothes and bath stuff. I'm trying to figure out how much a place costs to rent. It sounds like getting a professional job could be a challenge. So I plan to save up enough money to stay for say 6 months or more and go back to the states to work for a few months. I just want to know any challenges that can come up. Also, what realistically does it cost to mail a few boxes, get a one bedroom, preferably in a safe area close to the beach or negril. How much monthly, US dollars can I live on.

1/11/2016 00:22 EST

Can I suggest contacting ClassA realtor. They are on the internet and also whatapp. I am receiving notification from them presently.

I have started early in price checking etc.

I have a while to make my move, vefore obe kbows time cteeps up on you.

1/26/2016 07:25 EST

Hi Ed
I am also considering a job offer in Jamaica. I am tolerant but what is the concern you raised about moving there if you have children?

1/26/2016 23:16 EST

Hi All,

I recently married a JA national, however I am Canadian. I am well educated with Master's degree and 10 years project/event management experience but having a hard time finding work out there. He is finishing University in a year and runs his own business but has limited time for clients, which means I need to be able to contribute towards bills. Any advice on getting work?

1/27/2016 08:35 EST

Your husband has a business but no time for clients - there's your opportunity, get involved in his existing business!

2/17/2016 17:37 EST

Right to the point

3/2/2016 11:43 EST

ridiculous Jamaica has jamaica too like other places and undergoes the same problem as us or other places, better I live on a place that I am happy and have just enough money than having money and living in fear and not happy

3/2/2016 16:47 EST

hello there,
it's a big upheaval but worth doing as much research as possible prior to considering any move. I've settled in pretty well but I guess it's what you make it. There is lots of information online about life in Jamaica - check out. Also maybe consult FCO country specific advise for more of the practicalities about life here. I recently came across an expat survival guide book - worth a read if only to get your expectations in check!

Good luck and drop me an email if you want any more specific info.

3/2/2016 22:35 EST

Helen... not sure if you're the same Helen that posted last year who was considering a move here to take up a job. If so I'm glad you decided to give bit a go. There are challenges to living hete but it really is what you yourself choose to make of it. Jamaica is one of the most beautiful places on earth. People are generally fine also.. no worse no better than people anywhere else. if you out in you will get a lot out. In other words just be open to new experiences good and bad.

3/2/2016 22:47 EST

Helenjones1, what is the name of the expat survival guide book that you mentioned and where did you find it?

I lived in Negril, Jamaica for three months this past year and loved it!!! The best advice I think I could give anyone planning an international move is "Be flexible. It is all about adapting." As far as Jamaica goes, I think it gets a bad rap as far as crime and such. Yes, things do happen and you need to be wise and aware; however, generally the people are very nice and helpful and protective of the tourists. Again, I loved living there and am working to save up so I can go live there another 3-6 months.

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