The best currency for Jamaica tourists and visitors to use will depend on where they plan on spending time. If they do not plan to leave a tourism operation, they may only need USD.
However, if a visitor plans to leave a tourist destination and explore Jamaica, they should also have Jamaican dollars available.
In this article, we’re going to share everything you need to know about the Jamaican dollar, including what to watch out for when it comes to converting your foreign currency.
This article is part of our free series on opening a foreign currency account which you can access here.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Currency for Jamaica
- USD vs Jamaican Dollar
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?
Currency for Jamaica
The currency for Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar with currency symbol J$ and ISO 4217 code JMD. The Jamaican dollar is available in both banknotes and coins, issued by the Jamaican central bank which is responsible for currency regulations.
The Jamaican dollar was first introduced as Jamaican currency in 1969, replacing the Jamaican pound after 129 years of use. That said, neither the Jamaican dollar nor the Jamaican pound were the first currencies in Jamaican currency history. Instead, the Spanish dollar was the first official currency used after Europeans arrived.
Today, visitors to Jamaica will want to convert their foreign currency after arriving on the island. This is particularly true because Jamaican dollars are rarely available for foreign exchange outside of Jamaica.
That said, finding reasonable prices for currency exchange can be a challenge. For this reason, we suggest using reputable currency conversion services, offering a fair exchange rate.
However, again, if you are only visiting a tourist destination such as a resort, this may not be necessary. In fact, you may be able to rely on credit cards, though you should always aim to use cards that do not charge fees for foreign currency transactions.
USD vs Jamaican Dollar
The main difference between the USD and the Jamaican dollar is that USD is the official currency of the United States while the Jamaican dollar is the official currency of Jamaica.
Additionally, USD is the global reserve currency and is convertible around the world, while the Jamaican dollar is primarily only accepted for conversion in Jamaica. Not surprisingly, if you plan to travel to Jamaica and require Jamaican dollars, this means you will need to obtain local currency upon arrival.
In terms of strength and value, USD has strengthened against the Jamaican dollar significantly for the last ten years, rising from a low of 1 USD to 100 Jamaican dollars to a high of 1 USD to 157 Jamaican dollars.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people looking into the currency of Jamaica. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
What Currency Is Best to Take to Jamaica?
The best currency to take to Jamaica will depend on where you are staying in Jamaica. If you are primarily spending time in tourist destinations, then the best currency to take to Jamaica is United States dollars. That said, if you are planning on leaving tourist destinations, you should have Jamaican dollars as well, otherwise you may be faced with very unfavorable exchange rates.
How Much Is $1 US in Jamaica?
Over the last five years, the value of $100 US dollars in Jamaica has ranged from a low of JMD 123.72 to a high of JMD 157.53. That said, in recent years, the value of $100 United States dollar in Jamaica typically ranges between JMD 149.82 and NIO 157.53.
Can You Use US Dollars in Jamaica?
Yes, you can use US dollars in Jamaica. In fact, US dollars are widely accepted across the country. This is especially true in tourist destinations and by tourism operators like hotels, restaurants, and resorts. That said, if you plan on spending anytime outside of tourism operations, it is best to have Jamaica’s official currency with you, as US dollars are not universally accepted.
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