#moving · 1 year ago

Moving to Jamaica

hey everyone ! im going to be moving to Jamaica. it’s going to just be me. im planning on living there for a year and am creating a budget. how expensive is food in Jamaica (Kingston) and how much is enough to live on for one person each month


Obviously it depends on the individual but a breakdown of a reasonably nice quality of life could look like this. Prices in JMD and are monthly

  1. Rent - 80,000-120,000

  2. Gas - 30,000

  3. Supermarket - 35,000 or

3b market/meatshop/ wholesale - 20,000

  1. Weekly nights out - 12,000

  2. Internet, cable, landline - 6,000

  3. Electricity - 10,000 or

6b electricity with a/c, stove, washer and dryer - 30,000

  1. Cellphone plan- 3000

  2. Misc - 10,000


It really depends on where you live and the lifestyle you want. In Jamaica you can survive on very little. But things can get expensive. Are you eating tin mackerel or steak.. are you going to the local markets or uptown? Do you have someone to help you along your way or are you just trying a thing?


i don’t really have any help. but this thread has helped tremendously. i found a place for a reasonable price ! i have a few more questions to ask but i am trying to be cautious about giving away too much personal information


With 1.3K US, you could like comfortable in Jamaica if you know how to spend. You could rent a one-bedroom for $600 per month in a working-class community in Kingston. Grocery $300 per month; utility is $150; public transport is $150. Shop at Wholesale, and get your fresh fruits and vegetables downtown. Dress modestly, don’t walk large sums of cash, leave jewellery at home, be respectful, and you will be ok. That type of money could even include car payments and more. Since you can afford to 1.3k for rent, 2.5-3k can afford you a comfortable lifestyle uptown in a gated community. Without venturing downtown to purchase the cheaper items. 1.3 k is about JA$189,000, 3k is about JA$438000JA$438,000, minimum wage is about JA$36000 per month. Many Jamaicans would create wonders with $189,000 per month. Create serious wealth if they get $438,000.


Instead of an Airbnb I’d recommend renting a regular apartment, Airbnbs are only popular among tourists for the most part and as a result they are priced way above that of an average apartment. I’d recommend a regular apartment as your expenses would drastically decrease and you will a lot more to do more. If possible try to seek out apartments outside of Kingston for example Montego Bay has great apartments at affordable rates (Iron shore is one example), also Montego Bay is a popular tourist area and has a very active nightlife and adventures. Ocho Rios, Mandeville and Falmouth Trelawny is very affordable and has a great nightlife as well.


Jamaica classifieds has lovely furnished apartments. Be sure to ask about transportation and internet services, to be on the safe side also try to get apartments near to the Parish Capital of where ever you decide.


Look on https://cbjamaica.com/ or getkeez.com or https://remax-elite.com.jm/

There’s many other real estate sites like Keller Willims Jamaica etc. my best recommendation is to find a couple places in your budget online and contact any of the listing agents. Explain to them your preferences and they’ll find you a place to suit your needs. It’s very common practice for them to find places for expats/temporary residents so that shouldn’t be an issue.

In terms of lifestyle outside of rent/utilities/necessities I would say you can budget anywhere from $700-$1300usd a month for food/transport/activities/ad hoc spending. Of course the sky is really the limit and you can definitely spend less/more than that but with expats I assume you’ll be wanting to buy groceries at the supermarket along with whatever creature comforts (imported goods) that you’re used to. Supermarket shopping and imported goods tend to be a lot more expensive than wholesale or market and you can easily spend $300usd for two weeks of groceries depending on what you like to buy.


I had rented a room from her and then she came with this air b&b crap and I said ‘nope’. She rented another two rooms as B&B and the people were expected to clean their own rooms, cook their own food….


How will you be supporting yourself financially?

Is that fully furnished? What utilities are included? I assume it’s in a gated community close to New Kingston?

You didn’t address your transportation plans.


You continue to ignore the transportation question so I’ll just leave that out of the equation.

I’m not sure if the US$1.3k is the price of the airbnb monthly but I’ll assume it is, which makes the location of said airbnb questionable nevertheless you also didn’t address the issue of location so I’ll just leave that out of the equation.

I’d say a US$2k budget per month for the US$1.3k airbnb plus food/basic necessities would be fair. Not including costs for transportation and utilities.


$100k/month and over for a fully furnished apartment with utilities included in a decent location, preferably a gated community, is the norm in Kingston.

I would challenge you to take a look right now online and in the gleaner to see how many decent options you find below that price range in Kingston. I’ve just spent the last 3 months trying to find a place through the usual channels and with 3 separate agents, so I know from experience it’s a landlord’s market here.

And which decent hotel or guest house do you really think will be below that price range? Can you name any?


I moved to Portland when Covid hit… leaving a furnished room in Liguinea which I paid $30k a month… Jan 2020. I see prices have shot up… so if the poster doesn’t need to be in St. Andrew… why?

When I was there…way back in 2020 January…there was a guest house just off South Camp Road which was $1k a night… considering the incredible change in 2 1/2 years


For food it depends on what you lan on eating , I’d say if you plan to cook you won’t need more than 40 to 50k jmd a month for food but if you plan to eat out it could either be half that much or twice that much


I have seen a few people on this sub, and have experienced it, where people move abroad for a life change. You really have to wrap your hands around the pros and cons of this decision. You can essentially give up a lot to maybe gain very little. Nonetheless, I wish you all the best in this endeavor and hope it works out.


Digicel has pretty fast internet now for about $10 - $14K a month.

I would budget around $30 - $50K at supermarket. The first trip will probably be between $40 - 60K.

Food is definitely the most expensive thing, then probably entertainment. Which varies depending on how much you go out vs drink etc

Everything else is spot on based on everyone else’s responses.


These are all good ideas (I love that we can be very honest with this). Another thing is that you need to ensure that you have people you trust going with you places that know where to shop, and who isnt going to take advantage of you.

There are certain places, like shops, that have better prices for certain things than grocery stores. If you don’t have your own car, taking public transportation is cheaper than charter taxi. But a charter taxi is safer if you’re not familiar to the area. But also be careful, because these drivers will charge you a lot if you dont know the prices.

Feel free to message anyone privately if you have any other questions.


A more accurate assessment would be a breakdown of the cost of the different items/services.

Firstly, The currency exchange. Google the exchange rate between USD, Euros or Pounds or Canandians or wherever you’re from.

It’s very likely that your currency is stronger that’s already a huge plus.

Where will you stay? In an Urban or Rural Area?

What utilities will you need?

Very likely Water Electricity and an Internet ProviderDepending on where you rent or stay some places will bulk everything into with the exception of Internet it may differ

However if it doesn’t

Per month Electricity monthly shouldn’t cost more than 10k depending on what you will have on homeOr 15 topsWater 5-8k

Internet bill per month 4k

Food. You stayed you will cook? Will you use a gas stove or get an electric one? Bread costs approximately $500 A loaf

Will you get ground provisions etc at a Market or a Supermarket? Depending on your outward appearance and accent the prices will definitely go up (and dressing). If you will be going to the market I recommend making a friend there so you arent overcharged constantly or a Jamaican friend to purchase them for you.

Purchase rice and flour in bulk will cost less. There may be a couple of Jamaican SuperMarkets with prices online check them out and budget accordingly.

Transportation costs. Will you purchase a vehicle?

Appliances? TV? Microwave? Fridge? Stove?


If you are dealing in US dollars and live without frills… $500 US is enough. Your biggest hurdle is where to live… rents differ, quality differs and depending on where you have to be or don’t have to be anywhere.

Certain areas areas are very expensive while others are reasonable some even bargains.


$10000jm per day for forty days is a good starter budget and that does not include rent nor bills or cars ..just enough as that to.get you through a month..does’nt matter if you plan to live in an apartment for an expensive amount or do a share space thing with another tenant whatever way..$500000 per month is basic so just figure out if.you dont have it already..how you can make it while trying to survive on half of that..rent, mobility security.these can cost a lot just for the sense of lifestyle, how you really choose to live is key! You can rent for 20g or 200g you can eat 20g and still.be heathy while eating good will cost more..depends on your activities since you said moving to live!


Ooh, one thing I’d suggest is actually going down with a barrel. Customs is the world’s biggest hassle but if or once you’re able to clear it, you might be able to save a bit in the long run. Obviously, what you put in there depends on your living situation but I’d definitely consider sending down large bags of rice and flour, cereal, tin food, lotions, deodorants etc. Basically all of your daily necessities.

Its just a thought. And while I understand that Kingston can be safer, don’t be afraid to consider options that aren’t directly in the capital. You have gated communities in decent parts of St. Catherine that are sure to be cheaper. If your driving as well, the commute isn’t too bad.