Kingston, Jamaica Report of what it's like to live there - 01/07/09
Personal Experiences from Kingston, Jamaica
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No I have also lived in Canada, America, Romania, and the Czech Republic.
2. How long have you lived here?
3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:
Many fligts fly into Kingston. You can get direct flights from several major U.S., Canadian and Eurepean Cities.
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Father got job.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Most live in walled communities with security, barred windows and an armed guard. Many communites have a pool.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Expensive, a lot more than in the States. The best grocery store in the one in Soverien Center mall.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Movies, books, certain canned food, pool supplies.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
There are a few American Fast food places such as KFC and Burger King. There are a few good resturants.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Available and cheap.
3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
There are ATMs in the malls and most places accept credit and debit cards.
4. What English-language religious services are available locally?
5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
Yes - widely avalible and cheap.
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
None, the local language is English.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Major, there are not elaveters or ramps. Do not come if you are in a wheelchair.
1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?
Left like England or Australia.
2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
No trains here. Buses are not safe. Taxis are safe but expensive.
3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Bring any car, but the terrain is rough, there is many pot holes in the roads and not much good service here.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes and cheap.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Use a phone card which you can buy at any gas station.
3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?
Many people use the local service. Most choice Cable and Wireless.
1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
Do not bring your pet, it is not safe to go for a walk so your animal will not be able to go out. Many compounds to not even accept pets. If you do bring you animal, there are a few kennels and vets.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?
Moderate, like any other medium sized city.
2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Yes, major. Never go out alone, and never go out at night even with someone. There is alot of crime here. Be carefull and do not do anything that will make you stand out.
3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
No health concerns, medical care is not too bad.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Hot and humid all year round, same temperature as Miami. I was glad to leave the cold behind.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
There is one International school. The school was not very good.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
They do not make any accommodations. I have special needs and they did nothing to help me.
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
There are many daycares, the best one is the one at the American School.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Nothing to do, most expats hang in their homes, go swimming in their pool and hang out with other expats.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
No/No/No It is not good for anyone.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Not much, there are a few safe malls, a good movie theater with the same movies that are shown in the States, there are some nice beaches outside the city. Montego Bay is a nice town to visit.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
9. Can you save money?
No, everything is expensive.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Anything for cold weather.
3. But don't forget your:
Sunscreen, bathing suit, books, movies, warm weather clothing.
4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
7. Do you have any other comments?
Do not come here if you have kids, they will not like it here.