Living in Jamaica Long Term

Living in Jamaica Long Term

If you are thinking about moving to Jamaica then the information I have given in the last post to retirees about living in Jamaica is much the same as for those who are still at working age.  Many of the same principles exist in relation to setting up home overseas, although the amount of every day ‘freedom’ and commitments you have is different.

Although Jamaica may seem like an ideal place to live especially when you are fresh home from a brilliant vacation, the reality of living here is nothing like life in an all inclusive hotel. I do not necessarily means in terms of surroundings as there are many beautiful homes in Jamaica that are worthy of being shown off to others. I am talking about getting used to your new environment, the way things are done, and the totally different way of life you will be leading. By reading my full post at Retirement and Good Living you will get an insight on what to expect when choosing Jamaica as a retirement destination. If you want some more general tips about living in Jamaica, whether retired or not, this post will expand on the information already given.

Getting a Visa and Attaining Permanent Residence in Jamaica

There are different stipulations to being physically allowed to live permanently in Jamaica and there is a preference for Jamaican descendants and their spouses. Commonwealth citizens, those who have worked here and non-nationals that are classed as ‘aliens’ need to apply and wait for a longer period of time to get their ‘stay’ in order to fully retire or live here permanently; namely after 5 years of living here you can apply for Citizenship. Full information and guidance can be found at the Passport, Immigration, and Citizenship Agency (PICA) website.

Enjoying the Climate in Jamaica

Living in London for the majority of my life has afforded me first-hand experience of the four seasons in the U.K., of which the summer months never last long enough. If you have ever planned an outdoor event in northern Europe you will be more than aware of the risk of being ‘rained off’, as is the unpredictability of the summer. The long and oppressive weather can be debilitating and even more so for those who should be enjoying the freedom that retirement brings. Sitting in your house shivering in the wintery months is not a prospect that even the most patriotic person looks forward to when contemplating spending the rest of their life in colder climates.

However, the pace of life in Jamaica is more relaxed and things take longer than you are used to back home. But you will have more freedom to be outside in the sunshine, taking in the fresh air and soothing the eyes with views of the tropical, green and bountiful Jamaican scenery. In Jamaica they say each rainfall is ‘A Blessing’ as without this rainfall the verdant and lush greenery that makes up Jamaica’s topography wouldn’t be possible. If you are able to afford a little space why not think about raising a small raised bed vegetable patch, keeping a few egg laying chickens and keeping some fruiting trees, so that you can have your own organic fresh food right in your garden? All this is possible year round in Jamaica. Give it a try,  it’s fun, environmentally friendly and keeps you healthy too.

Living The Good Life in Jamaica

‘Ah! the Good Life!’ I can guarantee that your retirement years in Jamaica will herald the call of this beautiful statement of satisfaction far more than any freedom years lived in the UK, Canada or America. I appreciate that I can be over zealous with my ramblings about the weather in Jamaica, but have I mentioned that you have almost guaranteed sunshine 365 days of the year?! You can wile away the hours pottering about around the home and garden with a slip of clothing and flip flops on. Home bodies will enjoy these pursuits, plus you can paint, sew, garden, play an instrument, entertain friends, listen to music or just chill taking in the view, or napping in the shade. If you prefer to leave the house there are places to go and things to experience, especially if you live near one of the tourist haven towns.

The health and well-being of the body feels freer and supple in the warm weather and many aliments are eased. Jamaica is abundant in its access to fresh foods including meat, chicken, seafood and fruits and vegetables and the mind and body will also benefit from being nourished with this diet. The pace of life is more relaxed, you have more freedom to be outside in the sunshine, taking in the fresh air and soothing the eyes with views of the tropical, green and bountiful Jamaican scenery.

Will I be Safe Living in Jamaica?

I would advise reading the Jamaican Gleaner or Jamaican Observer for the ‘real story’ about what is happening in Jamaica. Some people may think that this is a proverbial ‘shooting myself in the foot’ moment, but whilst many countries try and hide the crime rate, Jamaica is very honest in its depiction of the reality of the island. But in truth if you read any local newspaper in your home town you will be horrified to learn about what is happening to your friends and neighbours.

After researching online I couldn’t find Jamaica listed in anyone of the numerous ‘top 10 dangerous places to live’ lists, as South America, Africa, the Middle East, Korea, Pakistan and even the USA (due to terrorist threats) amongst others were featured. Much of the crime rate is related to the poorer areas and mainly due to people taking revenge and gang crimes, which often do not have prior mediation. Life for the poorer people and the middle classes in Jamaica is a very different experience and dependent on where and how you choose to live in Jamaica, will impact on how much crime you are potentially exposed to.

Putting Down Roots in Jamaica

There are many lots of land and finished properties for sale all over Jamaica and it can be hard to choose where to live if you have no special connection with a parish or area. Many people with roots in Jamaica choose to buy land nearby to family members that have remained there, whilst others prefer to move away from their former compadres and live in virtual anonymity in another area. There are also many gated communities and schemes that aim to offer a secure environment and a sense of community when everyone has come from different places, but are more or less on the same page as far as income, means and status is concerned.

It would be advised to rent a property in the area that you plan to live so that you can immerse yourself in your new community and get a sense of how your life will change and if you are able to adapt to it. When moving anywhere new and especially more so when it is overseas, it takes a while to settle in and get used to the different way of life so be patient and give it your all. Take your time getting to know people and don’t judge a book by its cover, many people have been deceived by those who they thought they could trust the most, whilst the ordinary person gets overlooked and misjudged.

I have heard stories of people sending down money to Jamaica for their dream home to be built or secured, only to find the money has been frittered away through the hands of idle people. Please be sure to use a reputable Project Manager or builder and make sure that you are keeping up to date with what is going on if you are not able to be in the country to oversee things. You may be frustrated by the speed that things move in Jamaica or the amount of red tape involved, but with the correct processes carried out in the correct order you will be able to reach your home owning goals. Yes, it will be stressful, but it will pass and if you protect yourself it shouldn’t be any more stressful than if you were going through the same process in the country you are leaving.

Jamaican Property

Jamaican Property


Driver, Don’t Stop At All!

Jamaican’s drive on the left of the road most of the time, but sometimes it is on the right when they overtake into an impossibly tight space. This can also be accompanied by a blind corner and a hump back bridge, but hey at least the high volume music keeps your gasps from being audible! O.K not everyone drives like this in Jamaica, but you will find that a lot of people do so be aware. If you do take public transport only get in a vehicle that has a red licence plate as they are insured and registered as passenger vehicles. You will still get crammed in but the new rules and regulations are making it more comfortable and safer for passengers even if you do pay a few more dollars.

If you have the means I would recommend that you purchase a vehicle for yourself as at least you can drive at the speed and gait that makes you and your passengers feel comfortable. You will need to drive ‘defensively’ on the road, that is to say be alert when driving, always use your mirrors and keenly watch and anticipate other driver’s actions. It is perfectly normal to blow the horn for any number of reasons and is recommended when driving around blind corners on narrow roads and when overtaking a vehicle that has suddenly pulled over to the side of the road.

Settling In To Your New Home in Jamaica

You may find that it takes a while to settle in, but give things time. There will be a flurry of activity that includes securing somewhere to live, preparing to leave, packing up your worldly belongings, saying your goodbyes and actually arriving in your new home only to unpack and organise again. Phew! Anyone would flop down in a chair after going through all that! As you sit there some of you may be thinking, now what? I would highly recommend that the easiest way of giving your new home and environs the best chance of giving you back what you want out of life, is to go out there and get it. How do you expect to make new friends and have dates in the diary if you shut yourself away in the perfect bubble you have created for yourself?

As I have described in my Guest Post on Retirement and Good Living in the Pursuits and Activities in Jamaica section, there are many ways of keeping yourself busy in Jamaica. But if you are still struggling then may I suggest that you join a local group for anything that interests or appeals to you, just turn up, smile, talk and be yourself. I am sure you will soon sieve the wheat from the chaff and find some like-minded people to spend time with. There are churches, community events, charities and local groups who would be glad of your time and assistance if you are willing to reach out to them. If you want somewhere to dress up, look in the daily newspapers for exhibitions, trade fairs, talks and other events going on at venues around the country and get involved. You will be glad you did and will relish your new life in paradise.

Give Your New Life in Jamaica a Chance!

If you enjoyed this post and want to read more about Retirement in Jamaica, check out my Guest Post on the Retirement and Good Living website.

Thinking of Moving to Jamaica

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  1. Grace Blair

    I loved the article you wrote on gated communities I am interested in living in JA in 2016 I am a single women with lots of friends I was hoping to find more info on gated communities that are single people friendly ..

    thanks Grace

    1. Post author

      Hi Grace

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I am really glad you enjoyed the post.

      It is difficult for me to personally recommend a gated community that is ‘single person friendly’, but some our of readers may be able to recommend somewhere from experience? I do know that there are some hotels where you can purchase an apartment there and either live there full time or rent it out to (mainly) tourists for the rest of the year. These type of set-ups are ideal for singles in that you have all the benefits of security, communal facilities, grounds and building maintenance, but you also have a steady flow of like minded individuals coming and going. Gated communities widely appeal to professional and wealthy middle class families, overseas workers families from India and China, returning residents / retired couples, so do your homework before diving in, because you might be a bit lonely.

      I would say that it is always best to visit prospective gated communities and take a walk around the grounds, you will see other residents going about their daily lives and can get an idea of what type of people live there. There are often communal areas too, such as swimming pools, restaurants, play areas and so on, go to these places and have a look around, whether you have children and like swimming or not! Try not to be shy, talk to the residents and ask them how life is there, you could always ask general questions such as “Are there mostly young families living here, or retirees / returning residents?” (rather than asking if there are many singles, which may be misconstrued!). Or, “As a woman, do you find the security, grounds people and maintenance safe and reliable here?”, “Do you find it quiet here, or is there a lot of coming and going?”. If you are not comfortable approaching people as they step out on their driveways for an informal chit-chat about living there, then one of the communal areas where it is a bit more informal may be better. If you like the look and feel of somewhere go for a second visit, make sure your visits include a weekend and midweek visit, and preferably at different times of the day. You can also talk to the staff there, they may not give you a completely honest answer as it is within their best interest to raise interest in the site by appealing to anyone that wants to buy there. However, if they have any marketing material it will show what type of market they have been advertising to. They may also give you an indication of the ratio of single people, families and retirees living there.

      Let me know how it goes. Good Luck!

      Bless up Jules

  2. Anonymous

    That is something I long to do….
    I have been going down on hoilday twice a year and feel that I also want to live in Jamaica.
    At present I work in a school and wonder what kind of work can I find to do in Jamaica.

    1. Post author


      Thanks for taking the time to comment. You could always try a teaching position, if that is what you are qualified to do?

  3. Hasina

    Thank you for such an enlightening and optimistic post/blog. I am Jamaican through and through and have suffered lots of setbacks in my journey to ‘return home.’ However I keep the dream alive and am looking to go soon for a few months. I do not have my own house nor a lot of money but I go with God and positivity. My health is not so good but I look forward to it getting better when I am there.
    Your articles have given me hope so I give thanks .

    1. Post author

      Hi Hasina
      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I am glad you enjoyed the post about living in Jamaica long term. It can be a struggle sometimes but if you want ‘a life less ordinary’ then the draw of Jamaica can be hard to beat! I wish you the very best of luck in moving here.
      Bless up Jules

  4. Tiffany

    I was born in Jamaica but came to Manchester, England at the age of 3. Since then I have only been back one time but I feel like that is where I belong and hopefully after graduating I may return for good!

    Loved this post.

    1. Post author

      Hey Tiffany

      Welcome to the site and thank you for taking the time to comment. I am happy to hear that you loved the post!

      Jamaica certainly is a beautiful island and I cannot blame you for longing to be back here long term. Jamaica has something special about it that always make you want to come back for more. Even when everything doesn’t go exactly to plan when you do come!

      If you do plan to return I would highly recommend that you come back with a solid plan of how you are going to support yourself when you are here. You didn’t mention what subjects you are graduating in, so this might potentially be an avenue for a career over here in doing something substantial? The average wages over here are very low compared to the UK and you will be shocked to learn that many people earn less than $10,000 a week (at today’s exchange rate this is approx. £55.00 a week), unless they have a high ranking job. Some of the cost of living over here is less than the UK, such as rent and water, plus there isn’t council tax to pay. But the cost of groceries, electricity, electrical items, vehicles, quality name brand clothing, mobile phones (cell phones), furniture and household items is high. These basic necessities cannot be ignored and you will soon be regretting your decision if you are unable to live at the standard you are perhaps used to, or that you aspire to in the future.

      My best advice? Come over here for an extended trip first and see how you get on actually living here full time. After you have eaten mango till your belly buss and relaxed for a while, use this time wisely in two ways. Firstly, live as a Jamaican, by frequenting all the places that become a part of life when you live somewhere. I don’t just mean the beach, river, hang out spots and granny’s house in the country. I mean places like the supermarket, bank, post office, doctor, dentist, tax office, clothes shops, furniture shops, restaurants and so on. Check out all the amenities that will be available to you and the establishments you will have to use when you live here full time and see how you manage and if they will fit your needs.

      Secondly, investigate business opportunities, and I mean solid concrete plans that are going to bring in an income that will extend past hand-to-mouth living. My Top Tip? Set up something yourself, work for yourself, be your own boss. Be creative, but think of an idea that will generate continued consumer interest and an income for yourself. An idea that needs the least amount of capital outlay in the first place and isn’t dependent on a large workforce, will be the least risky in terms of potential losses (and ways to achieve them).

      Hope this helps! I wish you good luck with everything. When are you graduating?

      Bless up Jules

  5. .Ni.

    Thanks a bunch for this post. I will be moving to Jamaica within the next few months. I’m super excited because it’s what my soul has yearned for some time now.

    I found your post informative & very accurate. What I am looking for is information on how to best prepare for the actual move. I know every situation is different, but do you have a post about the moving process? What would u recommend?


    1. Post author

      Hey .Ni. and welcome to the site,

      I don’t have a post about preparing for the actual moving process, but I will definitely think about doing one soon!

      My main piece of advice is don’t move to Jamaica on a whim. Plan ahead, visit first and maybe rent in an area you are thinking of moving to, for at least 6 – 12 months. If you are a property owner in your home country, I would advise renting out your property as apposed to selling it; you will retain your investment and will always have a base should you decide to go back after a number of years.

      Think about how you are going to support yourself, if you still need to work; or how you are going to budget your pension / investments etc, if you are not planning on working. Some of the best business ideas come once you have been living somewhere for a while, as you can spot a gap in the market, or you find a way to utilise your exisiting skill set in a new area / field of work. When you do get that idea, keep that baby very close to your chest. Remember there are other people who are moving to Jamaica from overseas and they are scratching around for a business idea too. You would be surprised at how a casual conversation about ‘what do you do?’, can turn into a stolen business idea before you have managed to get it off the ground….

      As I write this I can think of lots of other advice, so I can going to write a post about this!

      Best of luck with everything. Which part of the island are you thinking of moving to?

      Bless up Jules

    2. .Ni.

      Good morning,

      Thanks for the reply. Although I say I’m moving to Jamaica soon, I really am starting the process by coming over, renting a place & staying on my tourist visa (3-6 months depending on approval beyond the 3 months). I plan to use the time to explore business ideas (I have a few & friends to support) while continuing my online work & maintaining my current US based business.

      Thanks again. I’m going to check to see if I’ve written the new post. If not, I’ll looking forward to the info.



    3. Post author

      Hey .Ni.

      Great to hear from you again. Well I would consider a 3 to 6 month visit a mini-move anyway as it takes so much planning! So it’s all good and part of the process to getting here full-time. If you are anything like me you, you will want to dash back to where you just came from at least twice a year to catch up with friends and family and to stock up on all your (newly discovered) favourites, fashion and other stuff you can’t get your hands on in JA!

      I feel that when you are ‘testing the water’ in a new country a set time frame of 3-6 months really forces you to knuckle down when looking for property, exploring business ideas and / or making contacts. You know that ‘X’ date is your deadline to leave the country and therefore you should be more focused in what you want to achieve. That is unless you are so relaxed by the ambiance that you keep putting things off for engaging island pursuits! Having online businesses are always a fail safe, go anywhere, be anyone, type of employment and again I highly recommend tapping into this. It is always nice to have some friends in a new country as it makes the settling in process easier, but you will make new friends anyway if you mingle. I will be sure to add the post with tips about moving to Jamaica onto my upcoming post schedule and it will be available to read in the coming months.

      On a personal note, I love what you are doing on your own website and I want to take this opportunity to give you a big up and share your website address with my readers. How are you getting on with your birthday celebration tour? As a fellow August born woman business owner, I am really inspired by all that you are doing to share your time and talents with other women. Best of luck with everything .Ni., I have subscribed to your site so I will look forward to getting updates! .Ni.’s website can be found at: check it out!

      Take care for now, Bless Up Jules

    4. .Ni.


      1. Thank you so much for sharing & subscribing to my site. Hope you like the content I share. In transition right now, but thanks for joining.
      2. Thanks also for the feedback. The move is going pretty well so far. Just READY to get there.
      3. My bday celebration isn’t going all that well. I did connect with a few ladies, so I’m still happy.
      4. Looking forward to my new adventures in JA, continuing to read more from you, and all that is too come.

      Thanks again.


    5. Post author

      Hey .Ni.

      Nice to have you back again, and thanks for your thanks!

      I love the positive vibe on your site and will look forward to reading up on your upcoming posts. And, I still applaud you for your efforts to reach out to other women as part of your birthday celebrations. I really feel there are plenty of people who would appreciate this type of support, the trouble can be finding ways of letting them know you are out there and willing to share. Maybe there are some women’s outreach facilities near to you that you could get involved with in a volunteering capacity?

      It can be equally exciting and stressful when planning a move overseas, so just enjoy the process! Which part of the island are you coming to? It would be great to meet up sometime if it was possible.

      Take care for now

      Bless Up Jules

    1. Post author

      Hey T

      Welcome to the site and thank you for your kind feedback.

      I would recommend setting up your own business in Jamaica, as most of the ‘wages’ offered will be much lower than you are used to earning overseas. If you are a registered professional you can still earn lucrative wages, such as a Private Doctor, Lawyer, architect etc.

      Otherwise, think outside the box. Come to Jamaica and spend some time here, look and listen, find something that you know about that is missing, or could be done better. There are many industries in their infancy in Jamaica, that are much more mainstream overseas, such as recycling and eco friendly product to name a couple. My top advice would be keep your idea to yourself, especially around other people who are also looking for potential ways to make money in Jamaica, until you are literally launching the business.

      Renting property, having a guest house, or airbnb type of set up can be very lucrative if you are lucky enough to have property in Jamaica.

      Hope this helps!

      Have a blessed day


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