How to get by on a budget in Kingston, Jamaica

Jamaica 2014

This year I had the pleasure to visit Kingston, Jamaica as I told you in a few posts now. If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you know exactly when and why I was there. If not, you can read it in this post. From my own experience I can say that life in Kingston, Jamaica can be quite expensive. Now if you’re planning to go on vacation in Kingston on a budget, I’d like to give you some tips that might help you out on how to get by.


Do what I did and bring some of your own food. Bring your own breakfast cereals, a few to go snacks, juice boxes, pasta, noodles, and some crispy treats. The rest of your groceries you can get at the supermarket.

Buy a big box of cereal and milk there, enough for all your days in case you don’t want to carry the cereal in your suitcase. If you’re more of a bread person, you can get yourself a loaf of bread and something simple to put on it like baloney, eggs, peanut butter or jelly. I wouldn’t say cheese, because cheese is kinda pricey. If you are a cheese head, you can bring your own cheese.

Get your dinners at the food court and share. At the food court in the Sovereign Centre you can choose to eat at different restaurants, often very cheap and delicious as well. Because the portions are quite big, it is easy to share a meal between two people. See what fits your budget and grab a meal.

Try a meal from the local restaurant franchise Island Grill, not to pricey and oh so delicious. We had the rice and beans.

Do some cooking yourself. Preparing a home cooked meal is often much cheaper than eating out. If you follow my tip of taking your own pasta (or rice, couscous etc) you can do some home cooking in stead of going to a restaurant or getting unhealthy fastfood. I took my pasta with me. All I had to buy was a jar of pastasauce and some cheese. I cannot eat pasta without cheese. Because cheese is expensive there, I bought 2 thick slices around 60 Jamaican Dollars each and chopped them into small pieces myself.

Jamaica is a beautiful island which provides you with all sorts of tropical fruits you can get for free on trees, like mangos. Take advantage of this. Eat these delicious fruits in between or as dessert.


Take the bus around, the price is 100 Jamaican Dollars per ride and the busses have air-conditioning. It will save you a lot of taxi money and this way you can do some sightseeing.

If you don’t mind being in a car with strangers you can catch a route taxi, which is a taxi you can share with other people and also costs 100 JD per ride. Most of the times these cars are white and the drivers will honk at you as they pass by.

Get a taxi at a taxi company, if you don’t like to share any form of transportation with other people, and don’t just jump into a taxi that stops in front of you . Make sure you discuss the price before getting in the cab so you don’t end up with nasty surprises like we did, especially when you jump into a cab on the streets. A taxi driver tried to con us with his price by asking almost twice as much as the usual range. We were smart enough to call a taxi company to ask for the usual price and even dropped it 200 JD on him. That hustler got hustled. So be careful.

Going out

Just like anywhere else visit free entrance clubs, so you only have to pay for your drinks.

If given the chance, go out with people who have their own car and are willing to take you along for free. No cab fare. Making new friends will be a good thing.


As for fashion shopping, I can’t give you any tips right now because I didn’t shop there, as this was more of a work trip. But from what I’ve seen, the prices are just about the same as here in Europe. So, if you see something nice (not talking about designer stuff) and you’ve put some money aside for this purpose, you might be able to shop for some cool shirts, dresses, shoes and accessories.

That’s it for my tips from my first experience. Hope this helps you out when you’re visiting Kingston.


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