The island’s climate is probably one of the main reasons so many people dream of visiting or living in Jamaica. The tropical climate of the nation, with temperatures that only rarely fall below 20°C, does not only make for wonderful holidays in the sun, but also facilitates many different, blooming ecosystems. However, while the heat and sun may be great selling points for any travel brochure, they may get into your way if you’ll be living in Jamaica for an extended time. Come prepared!
The downside of the climate you’ll experience in Jamaica is the high humidity that comes with it. This can get quite burdensome to those who are not used to it, as it makes the heat seem that much more oppressive. Another main downside is the fact that if you’ll be living there for at least a couple of years, you’ll get to see your fair share of hurricanes. Don’t worry, though! Only very few hurricanes develop destructive powers such as Hurricane Gustav, which ravaged the nation in 2008.
In mid-2015, it was estimated that just under three million people were living in Jamaica. The small size of the population gets all the more obvious once you find out what living in Jamaica’s major cities means: more often than not, they will have less than 100,000 inhabitants — roughly the size of a medium-sized neighborhood in the metropolises of other expat magnets around the globe. However, this certainly adds to the country’s charm.
The majority of the population today is of African ancestry. There are also smaller demographic groups of Jamaicans with Indian and Chinese heritage, as well as English, German, Irish, and Lebanese groups, among others. With increasing immigration to the country, the numbers of US-American, Canadian and Latin American people living in Jamaica are also on the rise.
One of the most important and apparent aspects of cultural life in Jamaica is undoubtedly music. Internationally known artists have not only helped carry out Jamaica’s name into the world (the most popular and well-known being Bob Marley), but have also given audiences around the globe a glimpse of what Jamaica is all about. We are sure that there is virtually nobody who has not heard a note of the highly influential styles of music which first came to life in Jamaica. To this day, Kingston has one of the highest rates of recording studios per capita, and the music industry continues to be an important contributor to the national economy.
With reggae and dub music, came a surge in popularity of what is probably the most visible aspect of Jamaican culture: the Rastafari culture and religion. The traditional dreadlock hair style quickly rose to prominence around the world, so much as to make Rasta culture nearly synonymous with Jamaica. Contrary to popular belief, however, only around 1% of all people living in Jamaica adhere to this lifestyle.
The culture you will experience in Jamaica can, of course, not be limited to just music. The island is also known worldwide for its delicious cuisine, a mix of influences from the various cultural heritages of the population, often adjusted with locally available ingredients. The most popular dish originating from Jamaica is possibly jerk chicken, whose seasonings are shipped into the entire world. Fish and seafood dishes are also particularly popular.
One very negative side of life in Jamaica is the hateful and oftentimes violent ways in which members of the LGBT community are treated. This ranges from same-sex relationships being outlawed over hateful slurs to violence and murder. Jamaica has a worldwide reputation of being one of the most homophobic places in the world, a reputation it has unfortunately earned through decades of mistreatment and bloodshed. To this day, members of the LGBT community have to face verbal abuse and threats on a regular, if not daily, basis. Sadly, openly homosexual men and women should think twice before considering living in Jamaica.
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