Jamaica: The Cultural Codes and Etiquette

BY Gina Hargitay

Jamaica: The Cultural Codes and Etiquette
Photography by Nigel SB


Social etiquette in Jamaica is similar to those of the general West. In the resort areas it is not uncommon for people to walk around in swimsuits and cover ups. In the city, or in more formal settings such as restaurants, one is expected to be fully dressed. There is no general social or cultural etiquette that prevents revealing clothing such as short skirts or crop tops. It is very normal to see people dressed this way, especially due to the warm climate. It should be noted, however, that the men in Jamaica are very forward. As a woman, wearing revealing clothing will not go unnoticed by the men around you. It is common for men to approach you in order to comment on your beauty or attire and the male gaze is unavoidable. These encounters are generally not meant in an aggressive manner; however, it may be uncomfortable for someone who is used to more subtle attention.

Generally, there is no issue with drinking in public, however being publicly (and obviously) drunk is considered rude or antisocial. Subtle public displays of affection are also of no issue, hand-holding and a passing kiss is of no consequence, but anything more than that is not well looked upon.