Are you planning a trip to Jamaica and looking for the best way to stay connected? This is a complete guide for buying a sim card for Jamaica in 2023 with where to buy a sim card in Jamaica, up to date prices as per August 2023, the best e-sim cards for Jamaica, the best 4G/5G network in Jamaica, my recommendation, a vlog about my experiences and even info about international sim cards for Jamaica.
Wherever I go one of the first things I do is making sure I get instantly connected. Having data on your phone makes life so much easier. Traveling to Jamaica is more fun if you can get directions from your phone, stay in touch with friends, look up nearby cool things to do, find fun bars and good restaurants, order a taxi through an app, etc.
As I am also traveling to every country in the world and I write a sim card guide everywhere I go you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: USA, Miami, New York, Newark, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Mexico City, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Antigua & Barbuda, UK, London, Europe, Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Dubai and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark me!
Why buying a sim card for Jamaica
First of all we don’t want our Jamaica holiday to be ruined by high roaming charges. Roaming charges on your sim card from home can easily be $3 USD per MB, which means just opening the Instagram app can costs you around $100 USD.
Also keep in mind that overseas data roaming plans from your home provider limit your data speed. Which means you probably will be surfing the internet on 3G.
A smartphone without data is useless these days and getting directions from Google Maps, or finding nearby friends suddenly becomes impossible.
Yes, the resorts and hotels in Jamaica have reliable WiFi and I must say I was surprised with the data speed of the WiFi. However, as soon as you walk out on the beach you will lose connection.
Also keep in mind that surfing the internet on public WiFi is through an unsecured network. The use of a VPN service is recommended. With a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card you use a secured network.
Traveltomtom recommends a Digicel sim card for Jamaica. They have the best 3G/4G network and sim cards with data are cheap. The price depends where in Jamaica you buy your sim card.
Usually Traveltomtom would also recommend e-sim cards for traveling to Jamaica. However, there are still very limited e-sim cards for Jamaica available in 2023.
That said, another great way to stay connected when traveling to Jamaica in 2023 is a world travel sim card. These international prepaid sim cards with data work in sometimes up to 130 countries. Click on the link to find my comparison of the best travel sim cards in 2023.
When using a Jamaica sim card, international or an e-sim card for Jamaica, always make sure your phone is unlocked. In general phones from the USA are locked, phones from other countries around the world are mostly unlocked. When not sure ask your sim card provider from home and unlock your phone before your trip to Jamaica.
Best e-sim cards for Jamaica
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Jamaica is an e-sim card. No doubt! You order an e-sim card online, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the instructions and within just a couple minutes you are connected.
Unfortunately there are still very limited e-sim cards for Jamaica available:
- 1 GB for 7 days = $9.5 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Jamaica directly online.
The above e-sim card is from Jamcomm and operates on the network of Digicel.
There is also an international e-sim card. This e-sim card from Ubigi is basically the ultimate e-sim card for the Caribbean as it works in 27 countries/islands around the Caribbean. However, it is also pretty damn expensive:
- 1 GB data for 30 days = $29.90 USD
Click here to order this e-sim card for the Caribbean.
Mobile internet operators in Jamaica
Jamaica is a relatively small country with a population of 3 million. There are only 2 mobile internet operators: Flow and Digicel. Both mobile internet provider offer prepaid sim cards for tourists in Jamaica.
Both operators only sell prepaid sim cards for tourists, e-sim cards are not available. So in case you have an iPhone 14 from the USA and no physical sim card slot, you can NOT buy a tourist sim card in Jamaica.
In that case the only option is ordering an e-sim card for Jamaica!
Prepaid sim card registration
When buying a prepaid sim card in Jamaica you will need to bring your passport for the registration. A copy of your passport will be taken in the store and you will receive a new prepaid sim card with a Jamaican phone number. Jamaican phone numbers start just like in the USA with +1.
You can buy up to 3 prepaid sim cards with 1 passport. If for some reason you prefer your sim card not to be registered on your passport there is a way out. International sim cards and e-sim cards do NOT require a registration with your passport, just your email address.
Where to buy a sim card for Jamaica
The most convenient place to buy a sim card in Jamaica is at the airport on arrival. But prices will of course be much higher.
Sangster International Airport Montego Bay
At Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay there is a local phone shop called ‘Stay Connected’. Here you can buy a Digicel sim card for Jamaica, but expect tourist prices. They easily charge 3x as much as the original price. Not the cheapest place to buy a Jamaica sim card, but the fastest way to get connected when arriving in Jamaica.
Normal Manley International Airport Kingston
At Kingston Airport there is an actual Flow and Digicel store now. They recently opened and they replace the representatives in the company t-shirt roaming outside. Expect also here tourist prices. The same as at Montego Bay. Both phone stores are in the arrival hall.
Official retail stores of Digicel or Flow
The best place to buy a sim card in Jamaica is at an official retail store of Digicel or Flow. Here you will get the best service, the cheapest prices and the staff makes sure you are instantly connected and your Jamaica sim card is registered properly. This is my advice when you are looking for the best sim card for tourists in Jamaica.
On the streets
Traveltomtom does not recommend buying a sim card on the streets in Jamaica. In tourist hotspots like Negril and Montego Bay I have seen people offering prepaid sim cards for tourist prices. First of all they are overpriced and second, keep in mind that a Jamaica prepaid sim card only works if it is registered on your name.
These ready to use sim cards you buy on the streets in Jamaica are registered on someone else’s name. NOT recommended!
Prices prepaid sim cards Jamaica
Prepaid sim cards for Jamaica are much cheaper at official Digicel or Flow stores. At the international airports they sell sim cards in USD.
Stay Connected - Montego Bay Airport
At the phone store ‘Stay Connected’ at Sangster International Airport you can buy one of the following Digicel prepaid sim card plans:
- 6 GB data + 300 minutes + 10 GB for social media for 3 days = $15 USD
- 14 GB data + 700 minutes + 25 GB for social media for 7 days = $23 USD
- 20 GB data + 2,500 minutes + 50 GB for social media for 28 days = $45 USD
Opening hours: daily 10.00 am - 6.00 pm - CASH ONLY, credit cards are not accepted.
You can find the same tourist sim cards at Kingston International Airport.
As I mentioned before the best place to buy a sim card in Jamaica is at an official retail store. The prices below are in Jamaican Dollars and as per August 2023: $1 USD = $153 JMD and $100 JMD = $0.65 USD.
A Digicel prepaid sim card costs $750 JMD ($5 USD) and it comes with the following plan:
- 6 GB data + 300 minutes + 10 GB social media
On top of that you can top up with one of the following prepaid data plans:
- 3 GB data + 100 minutes + 5 GB social media for 1 day = $216
- 6 GB data + 300 minutes + 10 GB social media for 3 days = $479
- 6 GB data + 500 minutes + 25 GB social media for 7 days = $895
- 15 GB data + 2,500 minutes + 50 GB social media for 28 days = $3,349
All Digicel stores around Jamaica are only open from 09.00 AM till 6.00 PM. Located the nearest one by using Google Maps.
Flow has several prepaid sim card plans that all come with unlimited calls & text as well as international minutes:
- 1 GB data + unlimited social media apps + 1 GB TikTok for 2 days = $315 JMD
- 3 GB data + unlimited social media apps + 2 GB TikTok for 5 days = $585 JMD
- 8 GB data + unlimited social media apps + 4 GB TikTok for 7 days = $830 JMD
- 8 GB data + unlimited social media apps + 4 GB TikTok for 28 days = $2,300 JMD
- Unlimited data + unlimited social media apps + 8 GB TikTok for 28 days = $4,900 JMD
Best 4G/5G network in Jamaica in 2023
Pretty important for staying connected when traveling to Jamaica is the network coverage and therefore I will compare the Jamaica network coverage maps for both mobile internet providers and find the best 4G/5G network in Jamaica in 2023.
Is there 5G in Jamaica?
Unfortunately as per August 2023 there is still no 5G in Jamaica. The best you can get is 4G+. However, the data speed I experience was pretty solid on my Digicel prepaid sim card with up to 45 Mbps download and 25 Mbps upload.
Flow 3G/4G network coverage map
Digicel 3G/4G network coverage map
From the above mobile data network coverage maps we can clearly see that Digicel has by far the best network coverage in Jamaica in 2023.
Best sim card for Jamaica in 2023
Traveltomtom is a fan of e-sim cards for traveling the world. However, for Jamaica there is just one e-sim card plan available. It is very limited in days and in GB's and therefore an e-sim card is not my first recommendation to stay connected when traveling to Jamaica in 2023.
Buying a prepaid sim card in Jamaica is the best and the cheapest way to stay connected on your holiday. Prices for Jamaican sim cards are cheap, but much more expensive when you buy them at the airport. At the international airports of Kingston and Montego Bay you pay tourist prices in USD for the sim cards.
There are two options, a Flow and a Digicel prepaid sim card, but it leaves no doubt that Digicel is the best prepaid sim card in Jamaica in 2023. Have a look at the 4G network coverage maps in Jamaica and you instantly understand why Digicel is the best tourist sim card.
Here is also a vlog about my experiences buying a Jamaica sim card with all my tips and what it looks like arriving at Montego Bay Airport.
Order a sim card for Jamaica online
Normally Traveltomtom also recommends sim cards that you can order online. Unfortunately for Jamaica there are very limited options and Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card in Jamaica as the best way to stay connected on your trip. As soon as there are international prepaid sim card deals for Jamaica online I will add them here.
For now I am sure all the information about staying connected when traveling to Jamaica was helpful for your upcoming trip. Let me know if you have questions and leave me a message below or reach out to me on social media.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Jamaica!