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TRAVEL ADVISORY: UPDATED INFORMATION ABOUT HEALTH AND CRIME THROUGHOUT JAMAICA
12 MINUTE READ
January 30, 2024

TRAVEL ADVISORY: UPDATED INFORMATION ABOUT HEALTH AND CRIME THROUGHOUT JAMAICA

Event: The State Department has recently changed the Travel Advisory for Jamaica.

Reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime and medical services. U.S. government personnel under Chief of Mission (COM) security responsibility are prohibited from traveling to many areas due to increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory.

Country Summary: Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.

Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence. Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities. The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has for several years been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere. U.S. government personnel under COM security responsibility are prohibited from traveling to the areas listed below, from using public buses, and from driving outside of prescribed areas of Kingston at night.

Emergency services and hospital care vary throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from U.S. standards. Public hospitals are under-resourced and cannot always provide high level or specialized care. Private hospitals require payment up front before admitting patients and may not have the ability to provide specialized care. Ambulance services are not always readily available, especially in rural areas, and are not always staffed by trained personnel.

We strongly encourage you to obtain traveler’s insurance, including medical evacuation insurance, before traveling to Jamaica. The Department of State does not pay medical bills.

Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. U.S. citizens with medical emergencies can face bills in the tens of thousands of dollars, with air ambulance service to the United States in the range of $30,000-50,000.  Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Jamaica.

If you decide to travel to Jamaica:

  • Do not attempt to bring firearms or ammunition. This includes stray rounds, shells or empty casings. The penalties for carrying firearms and/or ammunition, even inadvertently, are severe, and can include lengthy prison sentences.
  • Avoid walking or driving at night.
  • Avoid public buses.
  • Avoid secluded places or situations.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Jamaica.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Violence and shootings occur regularly in many neighborhoods, communities, and parishes in Jamaica. 

U.S. government personnel under COM security responsibility are prohibited from traveling to the following areas of Jamaica due to crime: 

St. Ann’s Parish—Do Not Travel
Steer Town and the Buckfield neighborhood near Ocho Rios

St. Catherine’s Parish—Do Not Travel
Spanish Town
Central Village
Areas within Portmore, including: Naggo Head, New Land, Old Braeton, Portmore Lane, Gregory Park, and Waterford

All of Clarendon Parish—Do Not Travel
All of Clarendon Parish, except passing through Clarendon Parish using the T1 and A2 highways.

St Elizabeth’s Parish—Do Not Travel
Vineyard District Community, between the communities of Salt Spring and Burnt Savanna, St. Elizabeth

Hanover Parish—Do Not Travel
Logwood and Orange Bay

St. James Parish/Montego Bay—Do Not Travel
All of Montego Bay on the inland side of the A1 highway and The Queen’s Drive from San San to Harmony Beach Park

Kingston and St. Andrew Parish—Do Not Travel
Cassava Piece
Downtown Kingston, defined as between Mountain View Avenue and Hagley Park Road, and south of Half Way Tree and Old Hope Roads. Downtown Kingston includes Arnett Gardens, Cockburn Gardens, Denham Town, Olympic Gardens, Seaview Gardens, Trench Town, and Tivoli Gardens.
Duhaney Park
Grants Pen
Standpipe
Swallowfield
Elleston Flats
August Town

Manchester Parish—Do Not Travel
Green Vale, Gray Ground, Red Ground, and Vineyard neighborhoods of Mandeville

St. Thomas Parish—Do Not Travel
Black Lane neighborhood in Seaforth
Grands Penn
Church Corner neighborhood near Yallahs
Town of Yallahs, except when driving through on the main highway

Trelawny Parish—Do Not Travel
Clarks Town

Westmoreland Parish—Do Not Travel
Russia community in Savanna-la-Mar (The Southeastern quadrant of Savannah la Mar east of Darling Street and south of the A2 highway/Barracks Road)
Morgan Bay
Kings Valley
The Whitehall, Bethel Town, and Red Ground neighborhoods of Negril

If you do decide to travel to the above-listed Do Not Travel areas, please visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

 

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