Spring Break Need-to-Knows
Thoughts of Spring Break immediately conjure up images of white sand beaches and turquoise seas filled with tanned, toned bodies, partying away their semester stresses. Spring Break in Jamaica is no exception. The island is one of the hottest Spring Break destinations in the world, where having a good time is the rule of thumb. Here are a few need-to-knows to make the most of your Jamaican Spring Break.
You don't need to get Jamaican money before you arrive on the island. In all resort areas, licensed cambios and bureaux de change are easily and readily accessible. Also, our banks, located across the island, will exchange just about all currencies, give credit card advances and change traveller's cheques. Jamaican ATMs accept international bank cards with Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and Plus logos. At the ATM you will receive Jamaican currency, automatically exchanged and withdrawn from your account for a nominal fee. Some ATMs will disburse US dollars - the machnes which do so will be clearly marked. In Negril and Montego Bay, especially during the Spring Break season, many places accept and quote prices in US dollars. However, you should only pay with US dollars if you have the exact change, because generally you will receive change in Jamaican currency and the exchange rate varies among businesses.
During Spring Break in Jamaica, you may feel like you're on a completely different planet, miles away from it all, but if you want to call home…"No Problem!" Jamaica is well connected to the rest of the world. Direct international telephone service is available in all areas 24 hours a day, and telephone operators will gladly facilitate collect, third-party or credit card calls. Mobile phone rentals facilitating overseas dialing are available from LIME, Digicel and other distributors on the island. International faxes can be sent from most hotels. E-mail and Internet access is readily available too, usually at hotels and parish libraries, but also at local Internet cafes.
The "official" drinking age in Jamaica is 18 years old, but always remember to drink responsibly.
By law, marijuana is an illegal substance in Jamaica. The use, sale and possession of drugs such as ganja (marijuana), cocaine, crack, ecstasy, heroin and any other controlled substance is against the law. Violators are subject to severe punishments - specifically arrest, fine and imprisonment. Do not attempt to purchase, use, consume or transport ANY drug. If there is someone trying to sell you drugs, be firm and say NO!
One of the best things about Spring Break is hanging out with your friends in an exotic tropical setting. So remember to stick together and use the buddy system when breaking up into smaller groups. Avoid wandering off alone, especially at night. If you plan to separate from your friends, make sure to let them know and to tell them where you are going.
Jamaica lies just north of the equator and receives a lot of sunshine. The sun is most powerful during the hours of 10am to 2pm, when harmful UV rays are strongest so:
- Before you go partying all day in the sun, remember to lather on waterproof sunblock or sunscreen, and reapply regularly.
- Got sunburn? Aloe Vera is a great home remedy for sunburns. You may buy the sticky leaves of the plant to rub directly on your skin, or purchase manufactured lotions containing aloe.
- During the day, try to take temporary refuge in the shade, drink lots of water, cool off in the sea and be careful not to overexert yourself physically during any athletic activities.