Settling in to life in Jamaica

Once the family arrives, the period of “settling in” includes all the start-up activities that the family must undergo to reach something approaching a steady state. This time period can take anywhere from three months to two years.

Housing
The choice of housing is made primarily with the following questions in mind:

  1. What is the crime rate like in the neighborhood?
  2. Does the house have adequate security (e.g. burglar-bars)?
  3. Should your house or apartment be in a gated or a non-gated community?
  4. What are the traffic patterns like?
  5. What will the commute to the office or to schools be like?
  6. What or who are the local Internet, electricity, water and phone company providers?

A good real estate agent will be helpful in looking for housing in the best possible areas for expatriates, who tend to congregate in certain areas.

Transportation is critical to settling in, so quickly learning how to drive is important

Real Estate Reality In Jamaica

Here is a blog post on real estate in Jamaica : “Real Estate Prices in Jamaica“.

It is extremely important to do thorough research on any land purchases one intends to make. Be careful of falling in love with remote parcels of land, near the beach, on top of a lush green hilltop, or the idea of building a house in the country.

The ideas may sound beautiful and perfect for retirement, but the reality may shake you up a bit. Think about purchasing materials, building a huge fence to keep it all safe, hiring a 24-hour guard service to watch the property. And then the one weekend you pay a site visit, the reality of an absent guard and 90% of your materials gone, can be real. This can actually happen, folks, as this story was recently told to me by a friend.

Charitable or Educational Institutions and Organisations

The Tax Administration maintains a list of approved institutions and organizations established and operated for charitable or educational purposes:

http://www.jrs.gov.jm/taad/charitable_organisation.htm

Visit the Online Telephone Directory for making contact with these organizations.

Paying Taxes in JA ????

Paying taxes in most parts of the world is not an easy task, I would imagine, but this recent article took me by surprise: One of the worst places in the world to pay taxes

Visiting the tax offices in Kingston Jamaica is certainly not an experience you share with any delight but this may be the case in many places throughout the world. Here are some tips:

  • * Plan to line up
  • * What many people do is ask as many questions as possible before the first visit to the tax office
  • * You then need to leave your morning or afternoon clear on the days you decide to venture into this particular office
  • *Bring a bottle of water, a snack, something to read and as many related documents as you think may be needed
  • *Be prepared to make a return trip the following day, or soon after
  • *Never visit the first two days of the month or the last two days of the month, as those can be the most crowded periods. Mid month is great, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are ideal times.

Cycling In Jamaica

There a few organized cycling clubs on the island with most of them being Kingston based.

Some are, Pacers Cycling Club, Cutters Cycling Club , Monte Carlo Gaming & Wheelnutz.

Weekly & Weekend rides are planned by all of these clubs, so check with any of the local cycle shops.  Cycle City on Constant Spring road or LK Cylce shop on Lady Musgrove road are good places to obtain current ongoing information. There are a couple of clubs in Montego Bay, again check with local cycle store for names etc.