Jamaica’s crystal-clear Caribbean waters beaches and chilled-out culture make it a tourist magnet.
But living in this island paradise is a more complex proposition which can be really rewarding — provided you plan properly.
If the thought of spending a year or two as a Jamdown resident floats your boat, here are five insider tips for earning, learning and staying safe.
If you come from a nation with a social security safety net and plenty of job opportunities, life in Jamaica is far more focused on survival — so it’s absolutely vital that you secure steady work before you set off.
One top tip for immigrants is grabbing a position with your local embassy or consulate — for example, working at The British High Commission in Kingston can be interesting and reasonably well-paid. But be warned – if you’re recruited locally instead of being posted from your home nation, your terms and conditions won’t be as generous.
Crime in Jamaica isn’t nearly as rife as sensational press headlines would have you believe, but it’s still a significant factor.
Capital Kingston offers far more job opportunities than other metropolitan areas and jobs are few and far between in rural areas outwith international hotels. So discuss the safest areas to stay with local consular staff before making the move and avoid any hotspots highlighted by official government foreign travel advice.
The best approach for long term travellers to Jamaica is to maintain an open heart and open eyes — take the opportunity to make new friends but don’t be naïve and place yourself in vulnerable situations.
One of the best ways to avoid pitfalls is by seeking advice from expats on a site like InterNations where you’ll grab tips on everything from the cost of living to the best nightlife and entrepreneurial opportunities. These groups also organise regular events where you can meet likeminded incomers in person.
If you spend an extended time in Jamaica and don’t attend any parties or festivals, you’re really missing out on some of the most vibesy and unique experiences on the planet.
And provided you attend events in company and make travel and accommodation arrangements beforehand, it’s a perfectly safe place to let your hair down.
If you love roots reggae, Rebel Salute is one of the best live music events to soak in the superb atmosphere — there’s no alcohol allowed at this Rastafarian-inspired event, but vegan food and herbal supplements ensure you’ll have a terrific time nonetheless.
If you want to keep an iron in the educational fire and upskill for a new job once you return home, Jamaica’s excellent broadband speed and service mean studying online is child’s play.
Earning an online degree from a uni like Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning ensures you’ll have plenty of time to work, socialise and return home with a vocational qualification under your belt.
And you might even connect with classmates from other exotic locations who inspire your next travel adventure!
That’s our list! Add your own tips for living in Jamaica in the comments section.