Jamaica is very much a cash economy. With that said, in the tourist trade in Jamaica most tour operators will accept debit and credit cards (Visa and MasterCard but seldom any other). Some smaller operators will take cash only. In many cases you will effectively pay more to us a credit or debit card than if you use cash.
"does every excursion take cash?"
Tour companies in Jamaica always will accept cash. Again you will often effectively pay more if you pay in US dollars than if you pay in Jamaican dollars.
I urge caution in taking a Debit card. US banks are not obligated (except by their good will) to replace money that is taken out of your bank account under suspicious circumstances. Even if your bank has a 'replacement' policy, this may take some time and may not even get started until you return from your vacation.
Credit cards are protected to US$50 against unauthorized spending.
I NEVER EVER USE MY DEBIT CARD OUT OF THE COUNTRY!!! I recall some people on one of our planes rushing to get through customs to make calls to stop unauthorized use of their cards after being in Jamaica.
Cash or a secured credit card.
We are not big cash carrying people either. However, we just got back from Jamaica for four days and spent 100% cash. We took only SMALL bills (hardly used a $20) and lots of them, and put them in different envelopes in different places.
I would use a credit card on something big if I weren't using cash. Call you credit card company and make sure they don't charge you fees. Some of our cards do, and some don't. We had a Discover card that didn't.
Most prices will be in USD. For excursions, I'm sure you can use a credit card. But for everything else, I'd use USD cash.
I would not use a debit card as they do not have the same protections credit cards do. Also, call your card company before you leave and tell them where you are going. Otherwise, they may shut your card off due to suspicious activity.
Have fun!Edited: 3:46 pm, February 22, 2013
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