Common Questions About Jamaica
Where is Jamaica
Jamaica is an island country in the heart of the Caribbean. It is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and is one of the most vibrant island destinations for vacations, beaches, scuba diving, tours and much more. It is less than 600 miles south of Florida, just below Cuba.
The official language of Jamaica is English, however very few Jamaicans speak standard English exclusively. Most Jamaican are bilingual (English and Patois), and some speak patois only.
Jamaican currency is known as the dollar. Currently, the exchange rate is close to 100 to1. So, a bottle of soda that costs $120 JA is about $1.20 US. Most places willingly accept US money, but the exchange rate they offer is not usually as good.
Grocery stores are common and finding foods that you enjoy should not be a problem. You can expect to find most of the common foods that you are familiar with in the United States, with a much wider variety of fruits.
Water is safe to drink directly from the tap. Bottled water is also readily available. Although many Jamaicans get their drinking water directly from the rivers and streams it is not recommended that you drink anything that doesn't come from the tap or a bottle.
The North Coast of Jamaica is a very safe tourist destination. But just like everywhere, common sense is required. The best advice for staying safe is to stay with your group and don't walk in untraveled areas alone or at night.
Jamaica offers many great activity choices, including; boating, fishing, jet skis, scuba, snorkeling, beach activities, swimming with the dolphins, zip lines, river rafting and tubing, bicycling, horseback riding, plantation and garden tours, nature walks, bird watching, ATV, and jeep tours through the jungle, shopping, music, and kite festivals and so much more.
The Caribbean is known for its fantastic oceans, ranging in color from turquoise to deep blue. It doesn't get any prettier than those found along the coast of Jamaica. Seven Palms has access to two beaches. The Runaway Beach is just a short walk from the villa, has great waves to play in and access to many water sports activities including; jet skies, kayaks, fishing, and glass bottom boat rides. Our private beach is about a mile down the road. Because this beach has such an extensive reef just offshore, the beach has very few waves and is excellent for snorkeling. This beach also has numerous shade trees and private hammocks for relaxing.
Coral reefs are an important marine ecosystem and one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Coral reefs support hundreds of animal species in what many call the "rainforest of the seas". These reefs not only provide habitat for fish and other marine life but also protect coastlines from storm damage, erosion, and flooding, provide sand for beaches, provide for recreations activities such as SCUBA diving and snorkeling.
Animal Camp Jamaica is fortunate to have a beautiful coral reef just offshore of the beach. The close proximity to a shallow reef is one of the primary reasons why the North Coast of Jamaica was chosen as the location for this Marine Biology program. Every morning we will head to the ocean and explore a multitude of coral heads and a breath-taking reef that protects the beach from strong waves during bad weather. Participants will see more animal species in a single morning outing then they would in hundreds of hours exploring their local forest.
Plants and Wildlife
Jamaica is ranked fifth among islands of the world in terms of endemic plants, and has the highest number of endemic birds and plants for any Caribbean island. Endemic = found nowhere else.
Travel on the island
The roads are pretty good between the major cities in Jamaica, but once you get out of the main thorough fairs, the roads become narrow and often in poor repair. People drive on the left side of the road and so driving is best done by a hired driver. Animal Camp Jamaica has use of two vehicles through Seven Palms and a trusted driver who has worked for the Martin family for years. Our staff will arrange for and chaperone all travel on the island.
Travel to the island
Many US cities offer non-stop flights to either Kingston or Montego Bay, Jamaica. All that is required to fly to Jamaica is a valid US passport. We recommend flying into Montego Bay as it is only a one hour drive to Seven Palms. ACJ provides chaperoned air-travel between St. Louis, Missouri and Montego Bay, Jamaica.