Using Cell Phones in Jamaica
There are a few different ways to stay in touch while you vacation in Jamaica. Of course I’m referring to people who don’t stay at all-inclusive resorts and hang with the other tourists. If you want to venture out, get around and see things, having a way to stay in contact is a good idea.
The first suggestion is that you can just use your own cell phone from home. Once you arrive in Jamaica and turn on your phone, it will either pick up the Digicel network or the Cable & Wireless (LIME) network. The extreme downside to this is the roaming charges. If you plan on using your own cell phone for the duration of your vacation MAKE SURE you contact your provider before your trip and find out about roaming charges and hidden charges.
The next suggestion is rent a cell phone for the duration of your trip. There are several places throughout Jamaica who rent vacation cell phones. If you only want to visit Jamaica once, this is probably your best bet. Its convenient and more cost effective than your own cell phone. Just Google “cell phone rental Jamaica”
After my first few trips I decided to invest in a Digicel phone. I went to the nearest Digicel dealer in Jamaica (they are all over the place) and bought the cheapest handset they had. The phone comes with a Digicel chip inside and some free airtime. Most cell phones in Jamaica run on prepaid credit, you buy phone cards and load credit to your phone…similar to prepaid cell phones from back home. When your trip wraps up you take the phone home with you and save it for your next trip.
The last way to do this cell phone thing is to have your own cell phone unlocked. This way you can switch out your chip with a Digicel chip when you arrive in Jamaica. If you’re like me I’m always buying the latest handsets off Ebay and they’re always unlocked. So I can use my handset at home or abroad.
FACT: All incoming calls to Digicel, whether local or international, are FREE! So if someone calls your Digicel phone, talk as long as you want!
TIP: If you want to keep your same Digicel number forever you need to load credit on it periodically while you’re home. You can do online top-ups with your credit card through the Digicel website. The benefit of this is by the time you get back to Jamaica on your next trip you have hoards of credit already loaded. If you don’t care about keeping the number you’ll have to buy a new chip every time you go.
TIP: Where do you buy phone cards when in Jamaica? Literally ANYWHERE! Almost every corner store, bar, supermarket, and restaurant sells credit. You will even find random people walking around the street selling it. No problem.