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Emancipation Park in Kingston, Jamaica

Moving to Jamaica

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jun 20, 2023

Summary: Many expats and digital nomads move to Jamaica for its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and vibrant culture. The most popular cities for expats and digital nomads in Jamaica are Kingston, Montego Bay, and Negril. People looking for a place to live in Jamaica can search online for rental listings, contact real estate agents, or look for postings on local expat forums. Additionally, many expats and digital nomads find housing through word of mouth from other expats and digital nomads already living in Jamaica.

William Russell
William Russell
William Russell
William Russell

What do I need to know before moving to Jamaica?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Jamaica, they said:

"It is important for expats to research the areas of Jamaica before settling in to make sure that it is in line with their lifestyle. Expats should also take into consideration Jamaica’s tropical climate as weather conditions can be unpredictable. Expats moving to Jamaica should bring or purchase any medical and home supplies that they may need before settling in as some supplies may be difficult or expensive to buy in Jamaica. Jamaica is an English-speaking country but the Jamaican Patois may still take some getting used to. Expats should also be aware that traveling outside of the major cities can be difficult due to a lack of infrastructure in rural areas. Finally, it is recommended that expats obtain a valid work permit before securing employment in Jamaica," remarked one expat in Jamaica.

"I suggest you visit and rent some homes from airbnb or vrbo in different areas of Jamaica to give you a taste of the areas. The island is not so big that you couldn't see all the major spots in like 2 weeks or less. If you've visited before you probably have some ideas of what you like, which could narrow down your search. Talk to expats about their experiences as well. I'm not an expat (I was born in Jamaica) so my experience of Jamaica is going to be different," said one expat in Jamaica.

"I'm sure that others have advised this, but I would suggest that you rent a place initially until you've spent a year or two in JA and you're sure that you want to settle there permanently. I really wouldn't put all your eggs in one basket, and I would definitely not commit to moving all your hard earned monies to JA," remarked one expat who made the move to Jamaica.

"If you’re looking in MoBay you should check out Freeport, Spring Garden, Spring Farm, half Moon villas, Rose Hall, those would be the places to look if you are looking to purchase a home. They are all upscale gated communities," explained one expat living in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

"Keep in mind the location if you do not have a car. You will want to be close enough to public transportation. Route taxis (taxis that go along a specific route only) travel outside of many of the subdivisions/schemes and along main roads. If I can be of help to anyone, just let me know," said one expat in Falmouth.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Emancipation Park in Kingston, Jamaica

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