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Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

USA
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Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

I know others have asked the question before, but for those of you who have flown in recently, did you need Jamaican currency to pay the taxi drivers? It seems everyone tips in American dollars, so I was unclear.

Thanks in advance.

Kingston, Jamaica
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11. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

Hi Ohliz:

The biggest problem is that the exchange rate fluctuates so much that people are not sure of the exact rates. At the same time the rates are announced daily on tv, radios and newspapers so I thought that most Jamaicans were aware of atleast an average rate. Then again I am assuming that most Jamaicans keep up to date with atleast one media source. I work at the airport in Kingston so I guess it's easier for me to know the daily rates.

Central Ohio
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for Negril, Port Antonio, Treasure Beach
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12. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

Thanks for the insight, alimirage.

I guess currency rates are posted in our newpapers in the US also, I don't check unless i am going to travel, but I get the impression that this knowledge is more important for Jamaicans....are prices pegged to the USD in any way?

I have a freind that runs a small restaurant in Negril and posts prices in JA$, but as the JA$ has dropped agaisnt the US$, he has slightly raised his prices too.

Is that common away from tourists also?

Kingston
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13. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

Price rises are generally due to the very high inflation which is why USD are sometimes attractive, in that they allow people to convert to a more stable currency as a hedge against inflation. The bank of Jamaica intervenes in currency markets to keep the exchange rate fairly stable though it has has crept up recently.

Kingston, Jamaica
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14. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

Most restaurants will adjust the rates based on the daily conversions. There are a few restaurants and other establishments that will in fact post the prices in $U.S. That way they don't have to worry about converting since many tourists prefer to use U.S. curreny anyway.

chicago area
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15. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

when we were there in the middle of nov. we exchanged US$50 at the mobay airport. the rate was not nearly as favorable as i expected...internet said about J$64 to US$1. we got like J$58. it was helpful so that when we were at local jerk centers we had the choice of how we would pay depending on what they were offering as exchange. we also used it when buying coffee and coke at a small grocery outside of ochie.

so, my question to more experienced travelers is this, where do you get the best exchange rates?

Central Ohio
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for Negril, Port Antonio, Treasure Beach
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16. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

As you discovered, the airport exchange rate is AWFUL. Really bad. We avoid it, or if we must we get a really small amount there.

The best rates I have found are at banks (but the lines are too long) or cambios. Cambios are specifically for changing money, cashing traveler's checks, and often also sell phone cards and things as well.

They are all over but in Negril we've used the one in the Hi Lo supermarket, the two on the beach road (one by Alfred's, one down by Merrills or a bit closer to town). In St. Mary there was one in a Sinclair's (a department/variety store chain).

Do be aware that you cannot get the interbank exchange rate (that's the rate banks get for exchanging massive amounts of money). I have heard that you can get it at ATMs but I haven't paid much attention. Just over a year ago we got 60 to 1 or slightly more.

Chicago, IL
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17. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

Hi all,

My name is Nyseness and my parents are JA'n so I traval to Jamaica very often. Even though US currency is acceptable I wouldn't recommend it. A lot of people in the countryside have no idea what the currency is just because they may never need to use US.

Just use JA and be careful a lot of them tend to rip foreigners off because they have no idea on the cost of things. I have seen it so many times.

Kingston, Jamaica
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18. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

The best exchange rates based on my experience is at Jamaica National Building Society. I believe they have a branch in most of the towns. They have a special rate if you are exchanging under $500. As for the person who said they got a bad rate-you have to understand that the buying rate is different from the selling rate. That is how the cambios make their money.

Chicago, IL
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19. Re: Jamaican Currency, do we need it?

Thanks Almirage, I will look into that. I have a cousin that actually work @ the half way tree branch.

Thanks