No wonder it’s popular. With its pristine beaches, laid-back vibe, vibrant culture, great music, delicious food, and amazing history, Jamaica is a Caribbean paradise.

It’s natural to want to plunge right in. But to get the most out of your trip with the least hassle and stress, it pays to first learn a little something about the local customs, environment, and rules. Planning your vacation to Montego Bay should include planning what NOT to do as you enjoy your stay here.

Don’t Worry About Exchanging U.S. Dollars Before Your Trip

U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere on the island. Many vendors accept them, and most restaurants and grocery stores will take credit cards. Be sure to let your bank know that you are traveling to Jamaica, so you won’t have any problems using your debit or credit cards. If you do need to exchange U.S. dollars (USD) to Jamaican dollars (JAD), here’s a currency converter. (Depending on when and where you convert your cash, the exact exchange rate you get will vary.)

Do be prepared to pay cash, either USD or JAD, for tips and small purchases. There are several ATMs in Montego Bay and in Hopewell.

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

But if you do forget to pack sunscreen, don’t forget to pick it up at a local shop. Many things you may have forgotten can be found in Montego Bay or at the Round Hill Gift Shop & Boutique just across the street from Coconut Cottage. But whether you pack it or buy it after you get here, sunscreen is essential. High-SPF reef-safe sunscreen is best, since there’s a coral reef on the beach at the Round Hill Resort. We also highly recommend sunglasses, sun hats, and other items to protect you from the strong Jamaican sun. This is especially important if you’re traveling with kids.

Don’t Drive Yourself

To get around, you can either rent a car or, for shorter trips, take a taxi. However, both options can end up adding considerably to the total cost of your vacation. And then there’s the time and trouble involved in getting used to driving on the left side of the road if you’ve always been a right-side driver.

As a guest of Coconut Cottage, you will be provided with a full-time driver and a 12-passenger van (available to guests who stay for five nights or more). Here is what will be included in the cost of your stay:

  • A dedicated, licensed driver and tour guide.
  • Airport transfers both ways.
  • Service to anywhere, anytime. (Long-distance trips — such as to Kingston, a two-hour drive from Montego Bay — require an additional fee.)
  • One tank of gas (guests pay for any additional gas).
  • An air-conditioned and wheelchair-accessible van.

Don’t Be Afraid to Leave the Villa to Explore

Montego Bay is famous for its stunning beaches, luxurious resorts, pristine coastline, versatile dining destinations, great golf courses, and hopping nightlife and music scenes. Because of its rich, centuries-long history, there’s a lot of architecture, music, food, and heritage to explore.

Your complimentary Round Hill membership also gives you access to the resort’s beaches. We recommend that you explore Montego Bay, including its nightlife destinations, restaurants, and art galleries. We know that you will fall in love with this special place, and we will be happy to share our favorites with you so that you can get the most out of your stay.

Don’t Ignore Safety Advice

Is Jamaica safe? Be sensible and you’ll be fine. Use the same caution in Montego Bay that you would use in any foreign city. Coconut Cottage has a full staff on the property during the day and security personnel at night. We also have lockable in-room safes for your valuables.

Taking a few common-sense precautions will help you stay safe and make the most of your stay in Montego Bay.

  • Do not hitchhike or take rides with strangers. Take a bus or a taxi instead.
  • Use only taxis that have red number plates, since these are the taxis that are licensed and insured.
  • Avoid traveling to remote or unfamiliar areas at night, especially when you are alone.
  • If you venture out at night in populated places like Kingston, travel with a group and stick to well-lit, busy areas.
  • Don’t forget that marijuana is illegal in Jamaica — and, yes, you can be arrested for possession.

Don’t Rush Through Your Vacation

Coconut Cottage is a serene villa with panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and the evening lights of Montego Bay. We have everything you need to feel relaxed and unrushed, from our state-of-the-art amenities to candlelit dinners to a private butler. Time slows down in Jamaica. So embrace the island’s spirit, kick off your shoes, relax, rejuvenate. We are proud to offer personalized and flexible service (especially if you book with us directly).

With a little due diligence and common sense, plus a few insider tips from the locals, you can enjoy a stress-free trip that you will remember for the rest of your life. We are happy to answer any of your questions or concerns, help you with logistics, and point you toward our favorite destinations.

You can find more helpful tips about your stay in Montego Bay in our FAQ. If you are ready for your Caribbean adventure, book your stay with us!