Why Choose Jamaica?
When living in a non-tropical climate the lure of guaranteed sunshine, coupled with a more relaxed and fulfilling way of life is something that many dream of in our later years. Jamaica may offer a healthier way of life and the ever-present warm weather can help alleviate many an aching joint. Abundant fresh foods including meat, chicken, seafood and fruits and vegetables are available in Jamaica. The pace of life is more relaxed and the fresh air and beautiful views of the tropical, green and bountiful Jamaican scenery provide a calming effect.
The infrastructure is getting better each year, so traveling is easier, safer and faster. The public healthcare system is not up to UK (or US) standards, but the doctors and nurses work tirelessly to provide healthcare services. There are many private doctors and dentists that charge a premium, but you can walk in off the street and get treatment. I would not recommend retiring to Jamaica if you have any serious health problems, unless you can fly overseas for treatment.
Costs in Jamaica
You can buy a whole ‘Best Dressed Chicken’ for about JMD$800.00(£4.40 US$7.30) and about JMD$900.00(£4.92 US$8.22) for pre cleaned bag of 3 frozen sliced fish. You can buy enough fruits and vegetables for 2 people for a week for around JMD$1,500(£8.20 US$13.70). Although many people supplement this by growing something on their land. Imported food is very expensive, local brands are cheaper. Basics cost about JMD$350(£1.91 US$3.20) litre of cooking oil, $240(£1.31 US$2.19) loaf of bread, 5lb of rice or flour $350(£1.91 US$3.20), 12 eggs $350(£1.91 US$3.20).
To eat out you could pay around JMD$2,000(£10.94 US$18.26) to JMD$4,000(£21.88 US$36.52) per person at a good restaurant. Although you can buy a large ‘box food’ (a portion of rice and meat / fish) for around JMD$350.00(£1.91 US$3.20)
The public hospital is free for basic treatment, prescriptions are paid for; eye drops $2,000(£10.94 US$18.26), pain pills $2500(£13.68 US$22.83). A private doctor charges around $2,500(£13.68 US$22.83) for a check up, blood tests and other tests cost around $4,000(£21.88 US$36.52). A dentist charges $2,500(£13.68 US$22.83) for a check up and from $4,000(£21.88 US$36.52) including pulling a tooth.
Weather in Jamaica
The weather in Jamaica is blissful if you enjoy balmy weather 365 days of the year. You can engage in outdoor pursuits every day. The average temperature is in the 80’s and even in the rainy season the rain showers do not last for long. The North coast and Kingston have the highest temperatures year round, with the cool hills of Mandeville and the Blue Mountains area appealing to those who prefer something a little less hot and steamy. You will need a sweater or light jacket in the evenings in the cooler months and in the hilly areas, but you can definitely leave the padded coat and thermals behind.
Safety and Crime in Jamaica
While there is periodic media coverage of crime in Jamaica, this can be exaggerated. A more accurate picture of life in Jamaica can be found in the local papers including the Jamaican Gleaner or Jamaican Observer (available online). There is little threat of terrorist activity, suicide bombers, depressed people randomly shooting countless people and bank robberies in Jamaica and much of the crime is found in the poorer areas, where gang on gang crimes and revenge crimes exist. As is true in many countries, where and how you choose to live will impact on how much crime you may be exposed to.