What to Bring

Cash: You will not need to exchange your US dollars into Jamaican dollars because everyone takes US currency.  It is recommended that you bring between $300 and $500 per person for spending depending on what you plan to do.  Please have at least $200 in small bills ($1.00, $5.00 and $10.00) with the balance in twenties. Large bills such as 50's and 100's are hard to cash and Chen's in Duncan's and the commissary (currently closed) may be the only place to cash these bills.  Your change normally will be in Jamaican dollars. Your spending money will usually be used for:  

This is per person:

Purchasing extra beverages:  $50 - $100    Beer, Liquer, soda, water, wine and bar tab.

Excursions:                           -0-   $150    Dunn's River Falls, Rafting, Zip Lining

Dinner out at BWI:                  -0-   $ 50     The night before the flight.

Tipping:                               $ 75 -$150     Cooks, housekeeper, drivers.

Purchasing gifts:                  $ 25 - $150 and up.

Total                                   $150 - $600  Per person depending on what you want or do.

If you are staying for the extra 3 night package you will have to add at least $25 - $50 per person per day for food and beverages.  You should aslo tip the staff an extra 50%.

Tipping:  Please refer to the section on tipping your villa staff and bus drivers US dollars or J..

ATMS: There are very limited ATMs in the area so do not count on using an ATM. ATMS also dispense the cash in Jamaican dollars, not US dollars. Most of the local items are relatively inexpensive with the more expensive items found in Duty Free Stores which accept credit cards.

Credit Cards:  They can be used at the Silver Sands commissary (currently closed) and bar as well as Chen's store. Also for shopping at duty free stores in Ochos Rios.  Can usually be used for tourist attractions such as zip line but you would need to check each place separately. Not available to be used at local bars and local shopping for crafts at Fisherman's beach, road side stands and the craft market in Ochos Rios. If your credit card company charges conversion fees for foreign exchange, you will be charged an extra 3% or so for using it in Jamaica.  There are several credit cards that do not charge a fee. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU ALERT YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY THAT YOU WILL BE OUT OF THE US SO THAT THEY CAN PUT AN ALERT ON YOUR CREDIT CARD SO THAT YOU WILL HAVE NO ISSUES USING THE CARD WHILE IN JAMAICA.  DO THIS WHEN EVER YOU LEAVE THE US.

Exchange rate: 2020.  The legal exchange rate is approximately 135J to $1.00 US. less 5% or more in fees.  At Chen's he will convert your dollars into a fair 120J to $1.00 US.

Cameras, jewelry and watches: Please, do not take any expensive jewelry, cameras or watches on the trip. Some villas have safes, but it just isn’t worth the risk of having them lost or stolen.

Clothing:  This is a very casual trip and therefore a minimum amount of clothing is needed.

Below is a basic list of recommended clothing. Remember you will have a housekeeper who will usually wash your clothes daily (starting on Monday). Most villas have no clothes dryers so it's nice to have a few extras of things while you wait for items to dry on the clothesline. Plan to have enough clothes through Wednesday. New people tend to bring too many clothes. You more than likely will need to wear no more than flip flops or sandals the whole trip!

Clothing List – Remember, this is a very casual trip.

  • Shoes -- 1 pair of casual shoes and or sandals. Sneakers for walking within Silver Sands on the gravel roads or climbing the slippery waterfalls.
  • Socks -- 2-4 pair---if you wear them.
  • Pants -- 1 pair slacks or jeans, normally the pair you wear on the plane. 2-3 pairs of shorts.
  • Shirts -- 5-6 casual shirts or T-shirts.
  • Underwear -- 5-7 pair.
  • Swimwear-- 2 suits, one to dry while you wear the other one.  Also add any walking clothes that you may need.

If you snorkel or if you play tennis, bring your gear. Bath and beach towels are provided. Don’t forget a camera, film, suntan lotion (15-30), cards, games, flashlight and mosquito repellent.  Carry your passport on you, do not pack it. Your passport has to be valid and not expired. Duty free stores at the airport in the U.S. sell cigarettes and liquer.

Snacks: You may bring all of your favorite snacks from home.  Snacks are available from the grocery at Silver Sands and from Chen's market.  However, if you bring a lot of snacks, not only will you have some nice snacks to share with others, you should also have room in your suitcase for all the gifts that you purchase.

Luggage:  Due to limited space, do not plan to have more than one piece of luggage per person. This piece is not to exceed 50 (62 inch dimension) pounds. You may also have a small carry-on, which needs to fit under your plane seat. Most airlines traveling to Jamaica charge $20 for the first bag checked and $30 for the second bag checked.  There is usually no charge for a small / medium piece of luggage carried with you on to the plane. The charge for overweight luggage is approximately $75. You may want to check one suitcase per couple and have two carry-on pieces.

Shopping:  What to shop for? Local straw and wood crafts, pottery, tee shirts and from the duty free shops, liquor, coffee, jewlery and perfume. Please do not bring back cuban cigars as they are illegal if brought back.  Also if you bring back more than one bottle of liquer per person you could be subject to US import taxes and could hold you up when arriving back, check for updates on the amount of liquer permitted.

Where to Shop:  Fisherman's Beach next to Silver Sands for carvings, tee shirts and local straw goods.  The local commissary on property and Chen's store in Duncans for coffee, soap, hot sause, beverages and snacks.  Duty Free stores in Ocho Rios and Rose Hall Stores for perfume, coffee, liquer, watches and jewlery.  Straw Market in Ocho Rios for carvings and T-shirts.  Misc snacks, T-shirts, coffee and local goods in shops in Falmouth.

Phone cards and internet: Phone cards are usually available at Chen's and possibly the Silver Sands store (Cost $5-$10) and can be used for several calls home..  Use can also get a SIM card for an unlocked cell phone (Cost $5-$15) and can get unlimited calls home. You can use the phone in your villa. Phone information as well as staff names are located on the Silver Sands map.  A few villlas have unlimited and free phone service to and from Jamaica.  Several villas have internet connections and some have wireless set up.  Check the villa web sites under the description of the villa for information on phone service and the internet.