We all know that we don’t pat the back of a colleague in Korea to thank them for a “job well done”. Or eat with your left hand in India, or sip vodka in Russia. In many countries, these actions are harmless. But in others, they can give a wrong impression or cause offense.

In fact, whatever culture you’re from, it’s likely that you routinely do something that could cause offense somewhere else in the world. So here is:

A primer on how to avoid mistakes in Jamaica

Many Jamaican people are very generous and warm. Returning this warmth and friendliness is a great way to show them you appreciate their country. Chances are, you will be approached at one point or another during your travels in Jamaica for money. Do not feel pressured into giving money.

jamaica culture photo

Photo by fiorellomannaia

A strong “I’m alright” and walking away is usually the best advice for instances such as this. This also applies in the infamous straw markets. Note that the European method of just walking away does not work well. You will generally need to engage with someone in order to get away from them. That being said, if you befriend or encounter one of the many wonderful Jamaican people and you wish to give a friendly gift, that is perfectly acceptable and welcome. Just exercise common sense when it comes to money.

Cultural respect is far more important. You are guests on their island. Please know also that when speaking to the elderly you should say, “Yes ma’am.” or “Yes, sir”. Good manners should be displayed at all times. Respect the environment and the people. It is a simple rule of thumb that should always be applied when travelling abroad. Don’t expect that everyone will respect you, however.

With this, you had the primer on key facts about Jamaica, and key facts on culture and customs. Another important part of the culture is the local food and the local drinks. Make sure you read our posts on Jamaica food and drinks:

Local food you should try in Jamaica and No miss drinks in Jamaica.

Other tips that you’d like to share on mistakes to avoid in Jamaica? Please comment below.