If you are planning to send a missions group to Jamaica but need some help arranging a daily schedule, we can help. We have relationships with many local churches, communities, orphanages, schools and other organizations and have compiled lists of their needs. We can suggest an itinerary based on the length of your stay, your interests, and the skills of your group.
Jamaica Link Ministries founded Fairhaven Ministry Empowerment Center specifically to host short-term mission teams. Fairhaven is centrally located in Montego Bay, less than 2 miles from the airport and 30 steps from the ocean.
Rates are $39 per person, per night inclusive of taxes and service charge. We can accommodate up to 60 people. Connecting rooms, common areas and a common dining room make Fairhaven an ideal location for groups to stay.
Fairhaven also offers meals for groups of 8 or more at a cost of:
$8.00 per day per person for breakfast
$12.00 per day per person for dinner
If the accommodations at Fairhaven don’t meet your group’s needs we can help you arrange your stay at another area hotel. Contact us for more information.
Is your group flying into Montego Bay but planning to work in another part of the island? Many teams take advantage of our close proximity to the airport and the ocean and opt to stay at Fairhaven the night they arrive and several nights before they depart.
If you need help arranging accommodations in areas outside of Montego Bay we can suggest several options.
Whatever your group size, we can help you arrange transportation for your time here. The estimated cost for this is $120-$150 per person, depending on the size of the group, the length of stay and the distance to be travelled.
The per person cost for your trip will depend on two main factors 1) the cost of your airline ticket 2) the kind of work you will be doing during your trip. As a general rule, if your group is coming to do a construction type project, you should plan to cover most or all of the material costs for that project.
Accommodations, transportation, food, and money for a group ‘fun day’ can be estimated as follows:
|Accommodations:||$39 per night|
|Food:||Approx $20 per day, more if you plan to eat dinners out|
|Transportation:||$120 – $150 per person for up to a 8 day stay|
|Fun:||$50 (most groups go to Dunns River Falls and Glistening waters)|
|Add cost for airline tickets.Add material costs or donations.Add money to tip your bus driver and hotel staff (for a group of 25 or over, $10 per person should more than cover this)Bring extra money for shopping, snorkeling, etc.|
What To Bring
- Valid Passport
- Beach Towel
- Battery Operated Alarm Clock (Electricity is 120VAC, 50Hz . Plugs are the same as the States and most devices (hairdryer, iron, computer) will work properly. Clocks however will not keep time properly.
- Insect repellent
- Immodium AD or Pepto Bismol
- Water Bottle
- Church clothes (Jamaicans wear their best to church):
- Men: at least khakis and collared shirt (you wouldn’t be over dressed with a tie.
- Women: Modest skirt or dress
- An extra suitcase with supplies for local ministries (see ministry partners list of needs, orask us for suggestions)
- Spending Money
- Snorkel mask if you have one (can rent here)
Arriving And Customs
In order to travel out of the country you will need a valid passport. Make copies of all documents and leave one copy at home and pack one copy in your checked baggage. When you are about 1 hour from Montego Bay, the airline will issue each passenger 2 forms. On the first form you will need to state your purpose for travel and declare any items you are importing to Jamaica. You should list “Vacation” or “Other” and write in “Missions Work”. As long as you are not going to sell any items you bring with you (provided all items are worth less than $500.00 USD) you do not need to declare them.
On most airlines, each passenger is allowed two checked bags that weigh up to 50 lbs (check with the airline you are traveling with for specifics). If you go over the specified weight you will have to either remove items and leave them behind or pay a fee. Many teams fill the second suitcase with items to leave in Jamaica, or materials for their trip. Make sure each passenger knows what is in their extra suitcase. Customs will ask “What is in your luggage”. If you answer, “I don’t know, I didn’t pack it” (this has happened) they will have to open your luggage (and possibly every one else’s on your team) and look through it. A good answer would be “Clothes and other things I am going to use while I am here”. If they open your bags and question you on items you have brought to donate, make it clear to them that you are donating these items, not selling them.
US cash is readily accepted at most merchants. However, we suggest you exchange money into Jamaican currency when you arrive. We can exchange your money (if you are staying at Fairhaven) onsite. If you group plans on exchanging a large amount of money, please contact us a few days in advance so that we can have cash on hand) We will give you the best exchange rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have heard that we may have to pay a departure tax ($30 US) when leaving Jamaica. Is this true?
Most of the time all taxes associated with your travel are included in the price of your airline ticket. Check with your airline or travel agent to make sure this is the case for the ticket you purchased.
Is it true that crime is a big problem in Jamaica? Is it safe to bring a missions group?
There have been a few incidents of crime against tourists that were well publicized. Overall, most parts of Jamaica are no more dangerous for visitors than big cities in the United States. When traveling to foreign countries, it is always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and be ‘street smart’.
Do groups that come to do construction projects inadvertently take away jobs from the local economy?
Missions groups that are involved with construction projects usually come to help a church or community organization that does not have the resources to
- pay for labor
- cover the cost of materials.
Because of lack of finances, it usually takes many years to complete a building. The labor is usually donated by church members when they can make time. Individuals that need home repairs or additions would make do with less than ideal situations because cost is prohibitive. When a construction group comes to help a church, or repair a house it is usually a great blessing to that community.
There are some jobs, such as cement work, that requires skills and knowledge of Jamaican construction practices. A group may opt to donate the money it would cost to hire a mason for a project like this.
Jamaica Tourism Links