Jamaica is an island country in the Caribbean Sea, situated roughly 145 km south of Cuba and about 190 km west of Hispaniola (the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic). With its 10,990 square kilometres, Jamaica is the fourth-largest islands in the Caribbean; only Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico are bigger.
Jamaica used to be a British colony but achieved independence from the UK in 1962 and is now a Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as its queen.
Driving is done on the left-hand side in Jamaica, just as in the UK.
Arawak and Taíno peoples from South America settled on Jamaica between 4,000 and 1,000 BCE.
The island was colonized by Spain from the early 16th century to 1655, before being conquered by the Brits. Under British rule, it became a leading sugar exporter. The slaves were emancipated in 1838, and were partly replaced on the plantations by indentured laborers from China and India.
The official language is English, which dominates fields such as government, media, education, and the legal system.
For most of the residents, their primary spoken language is Jamaican Patois (Patwa), which is an English-based creole. Many residents in Jamaica speak both English (Jamaican Standard English) and Jamaican Patois and will switch between them depending on the situation.
Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglohone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada.
What’s the official currency on Jamaica?
The official currency is the Jamaican dollar (JMD).
Several million tourists visit Jamaica each year to enjoy the pleasant climate, the beaches, the culture, and more.
The inland of the island is dominated by the Blue Mountains, while the outskirts are narrow coastal plains. The Blue Mountains is where you find the island’s higest point: Blue Mountain Peak at 2256 meters above sea level. The summit is accessible via a walking trail.
Despite being home to nearly three million people, Jamaica only has two cities: Kingston and Montego Bay. Kingston, on the southern coast, is the capital, and its metropolitan area includes towns such as Portmore and Spanish Town. Montego Bay, on the northern coast, is a popular tourist destination with plenty of beaches, big resorts, and duty-free shops. It has a cruise line terminal, and the Donald Sangster International Airport is located within the city limits. Locally, Montego Bay is known as MoBay or just “the second city”.
Other examples of notable resort towns in Jamaica are Ochos Rios, Por Anotnio, and Negril.
For many visitors, the music scene is an imortant part of their stay in Jamaica. The island is the birthplaces of several musical genres and sub-genres, including reggae, ska, rocksteady, mento, dub, danceahll, and raggamuffin (ragga).
Jamaica is located in the tropics, but the climate at higher elevations in the inland is more temperate than tropical. Along the coast, you can expect hot and humid weather year round.
The driest parts of the island are found on the south coast, e.g. the Liguanea Plain and the Pedro Plain, which are in the rain-shadow of the mountains.
There is a risk of hurricanes and tropical storms during the Caribbean hurricane season.
Casino gambling in Jamaica
Casino gambling is legal in Jamaica and there are several different casinos to chose from on the island. Horseracing tracks and sportsbetting parlors are also available.
Many, but not all, casinos in Jamaica are located in hotels or resorts. In Kingston, you can find quite a lot of gambling establishments in strip malls (often without any table games).
Examples of casinos and gambling halls in Jamaica
- Club Jamaica Gaming Lounge. Located in Runaway Bay on the northern coast.
- RENO bar and gaming lounge. Located in Ochos Rios on the northern coast.
- Rajmaville Gaming Lounge. Located in Portmore, a coastal town on the southern coast, not far from Kingston.
- Monte Carlo Gaming Lounge. This is one of the most notable casinos in Jamaica, and it is found within the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston.
- Acropolis Barbican is a casino located roughly 3 km north-east of central Kingston.
- Jamaica Pegasus Derby Room is a slot machine arcade at Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, circa 2 km south-west of central Kingston.
- Vegas Gaming Kingston is a gambling arcade less than 3 km north of central Kingston.
- Christelle’s Gaming is a gambling arcade in the northern part of Kingston.
- Macau Gaming Lounge is a gambling arcade in the northern part of Kingston.
Good to know about Jamaica
Size: 10,991 km2 (4,244 sq mi) of which 1.5 percent is water
Population: Circa 2.9 million at the 2017 estimate
Most populous city: Kingston
Official language: English
Official currency: Jamaican dollar (JMD)
Time zone: UTC-5
Driving side: Left
Internet tp level domain: .jm
ISO 3166 code: JM