What to Pack for Jamaica: The Essential List

Planning a vacation to Jamaica but can’t decide what to bring? Located in the Caribbean, Jamaica is tropical and hot all year round, so packing for this paradise island is actually quite easy. However, travelling light with just carry-on luggage is highly recommended, especially if you plan on travelling around the island. With this in mind, we’ve put together a handy guide covering what to pack for Jamaica: the essential list.

What to Pack for Jamaica: The Essential List

Jamaica has a hot and muggy season that runs from April to October. December to March is a relatively cool season. Generally, the coolest and least rain-prone period is from December to March. The lowest average monthly temperature is 80.4°F (26.9°C) in January, and the highest average monthly temperate is 78°F (29.5°C) in July and August. So, what you should pack for Jamaica depends on when you plan to go.

What toiletries to pack for Jamaica

Reef safe suncream

Jamaica is sunny year-round. So, no matter what time of the year you visit, you’ll need to make sure you need to pack sun protection. To protect the sea around Jamaica and the marine life too, buy reef-safe suncream. This means looking for a non-nano mineral sunscreen. You should also pack some cooling after-sun lotion or aloe vera gel.

Mosquito repellent

When planning what to pack for Jamaica, it’s important to consider mosquito control products. These keep you and your family safe from disease and make your travels more comfortable. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is very common in Jamaica and is referred to as a domestic mosquito, can be dangerous and spreads diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika Virus. There are plenty of natural mosquito repellents on the market; however, if you are prone to bites and severe reactions, consider packing a mosquito repellent with 30-50 per cent DEET (diethyltoluamide) active ingredient.

Miscellaneous items

Portable battery charger

Power outages are frequent in Jamacia, so bringing at least one rechargeable battery charger is advisable. Look for a high mAh rating charger and keep it with you when you are out and about, especially if you use your phone as your main camera.

Microfiber towel

These quick-drying towels are ideal for carrying with you on hikes as they take up very little room in your bag. They can also double as picnic blankets and throws when you get a little chilly.

Waterproof phone case

If you plan to be at the beach a lot or spend a lot of time in the rainforest or swimming in waterfalls, you should consider packing waterproof protection for your phone. These cases protect your expensive phone from water damage and scratches caused by sand and salty sea spray.

Small backpack or day bag

A small, comfortable, waterproof backpack is a must for hiking and day tours. Your valuables will be safe, secure and dry, and your hands will be free for taking photos and helping with balance. A 20-litre bag should be big enough to fit the essentials – a microfiber towel, a bottle of water, suncream, your phone and camera, wallet/purse, and snacks.

Plug adaptors and power converters

Jamaica operates on a 110-120V supply voltage and 50Hz. There are two types of plugs in Jamaica. Type A has two flat prongs, while Type B has two flat prongs and a rounded ground pin. Type A and B plugs are mostly used in the USA, Canada, Central America, China and Japan. Depending on where your appliances are from, you may need travel plug adaptors. You’ll also need a travel power converter if your electrical items are not dual voltage.

What shoes to pack for Jamaica

Flip-flops and sandals are perfect for strolling the beaches and strutting around the pool. Mesh water shoes are also great as they are light, take up very little room and are ideal for boat rides and exploring waterfalls.

Packing an old pair of sneakers is also a good idea as you’ll be able to explore more of the beaches by hiking over rocks and across trails. You won’t be able to safely do this in flip-flops.

For jungle treks and exploration, pack a sturdy pair of waterproof shoes. Your old sneakers will do for easier, paved trials, but waterproof hiking boots are the best option. These will allow you to safely go further off the beaten track and explore more rugged terrain.

Pack a pair of comfortable, closed-toe walking shoes or trainers if you plan on exploring the urban areas.

When hitting the bars and clubs, men can get away with a casual pair of loafers, and women can wear sexy sandals or pumps. Many women wear heels at the club, but they pack a pair of ballet pumps in their handbags. Do as the locals do: dress up and dance with wild abandon.

What clothing to pack for Jamaica


The sea in Jamaica is warm enough for swimming all year round. When it comes to bathing suits, pack whatever you feel most comfortable with. One-pieces and bikinis are fine, some people wear thongs. For men, board shorts and trunks are the most popular beachwear.

Pack a UV rash vest if you plan on doing lots of water sports and snorkelling in Jamaica. Rash guards protect your skin from sun exposure and help reduce chafing caused by surfboards and bodyboards.


The dress code in Jamacia is mostly casual. Pack your suitcase according to the time of year and humidity level. From December to April, bring light clothes made from cotton or linen. Shorts, t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, maxi dresses and loose-fitting trousers are all ideal.

From May to November, pack tropics-friendly items made from lightweight, breathable fabrics. You’ll also need a light raincoat or anorak.

A light sweatshirt or a pashmina is a good idea for airconditioned places, they can be very chilly.

Mexico is an adventure playground, so pack clothes that you can freely move in, are comfortable and don’t chafe.

Nighttime dress code

Even nighttime attire is still pretty casual in Jamacia for men. You’ll need to pack a sweatshirt from December to April for the evening. For fancy restaurants and bars, a pair of tailored trousers or jeans (no rips) with a short sleeve shirt is fine for men. For women, sandals, a dress, a nice top, and jeans are perfect. When heading to the clubs, aim to look a little smarter. Most clubs don’t allow people in if they are wearing sports clothes or shoes, sleeveless tops or flip flops.

Jamaica reading material

Get a feel for this Caribbean island with a good book set in Jamaica or one that covers the history and culture. For non-fiction fans, pack Bass Culture by Lloyd Bradley. Fiction lovers should pick up a copy of Stone Heaven by Evan Jones.

what to pack for Jamaica

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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