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Jamaica – Cost of Living

Jamaica is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, reggae music, and warm weather. It is also home to a diverse population and is a popular destination for expats. In this article, we will explore the cost of living in Jamaica, including currency, comparisons to the UK and USA, breakdown of costs, and common forms of payment.

Local Currency in Jamaica

The local currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar (JMD). One Jamaican dollar is divided into 100 cents. Coins are available in denominations of 1 cent, 10 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents, while banknotes are available in denominations of 50 JMD, 100 JMD, 500 JMD, 1000 JMD, and 5000 JMD.

Cost of Living in Jamaica Compared to the UK and USA

The cost of living in Jamaica is generally lower than that of the UK and the USA. According to Numbeo, a website that compares the cost of living in different countries, the cost of living index in Jamaica is 50.55, while the UK is 69.08, and the USA is 76.86. This means that on average, it is cheaper to live in Jamaica than in the UK or USA.

Breakdown of Costs in Jamaica

The cost of living in Jamaica can vary depending on the location and size of the household. Here is a breakdown of some of the typical costs for singles, couples, and families of four in Jamaica:


Housing costs in Jamaica can vary depending on the location and size of the property. In major cities like Kingston and Montego Bay, the cost of housing can be relatively expensive, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costing around 40,000-60,000 JMD per month. Outside of major cities, the cost of housing can be lower but still relatively high compared to other countries.

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Jamaican cuisine is known for its bold and spicy flavors, and eating out in Jamaica can be relatively affordable. A meal at a local restaurant can cost around 600-1000 JMD per person, while grocery shopping can also be affordable, with a loaf of bread costing around 200-300 JMD and a liter of milk costing around 120-200 JMD.


The cost of utilities in Jamaica varies depending on the size of the household and the location. On average, electricity, water, and gas bills for a family of four can add up to around 15,000-20,000 JMD per month. Internet and mobile phone plans are also relatively affordable, with a typical plan costing around 3000-5000 JMD per month.


Jamaica offers a variety of leisure activities, from exploring beautiful beaches to visiting cultural sites. Many activities in Jamaica can be affordable, such as visiting a local market or enjoying a day at the beach. Paid activities such as attending a concert or visiting a water park can cost between 2000-5000 JMD per person.


Public transportation in Jamaica can be relatively affordable, with a one-way ticket on a bus or taxi costing around 100-300 JMD. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also relatively affordable, with a typical 10-kilometer ride costing around 800-1000 JMD. Owning a car in Jamaica can be expensive due to high taxes and gasoline prices.


The cost of clothing in Jamaica varies depending on the brand and quality. Affordable clothing options can be found at local stores, with t-shirts costing around 1000-2000 JMD and jeans costing around 3000-5000 JMD. High-end designer clothing can be more expensive, with a designer dress costing around 15,000-30,000 JMD or more.

Household Goods

Household goods such as furniture, appliances, and electronics can be relatively expensive in Jamaica, especially if purchased new. Second-hand options are available and can often be more affordable, with items such as a used refrigerator costing around 25,000-40,000 JMD and a used television costing around 15,000-20,000 JMD.

Common Forms of Payment in Jamaica

Cash is widely used in Jamaica for most transactions, especially for smaller purchases. Debit and credit cards are becoming more common but are not as widely accepted as cash. ATMs are available throughout the country, but it is important to note that some ATMs may not accept international debit and credit cards. It is also common to negotiate prices for certain goods and services in Jamaica, especially in local markets.

In conclusion, Jamaica offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other countries, while still providing a high quality of life. Housing and transportation costs can vary depending on location, while food and leisure options can be relatively affordable. Cash is widely used, but debit and credit cards are becoming more common, with ATMs available throughout the country. Jamaica is a beautiful country with a rich culture, stunning scenery, and delicious cuisine, making it a great place to live for those looking for a Caribbean lifestyle at an affordable cost.