US dollars are widely accepted on the islands you will be visiting, so there is no need to take the various local currencies. ATMs will usually issue only the local currency, not US dollars, and cruise ships have a captive market, so may not offer good deals on exchange.
But most widely accepted throughout the Caribbean is the U.S. dollar. It is the legal currency of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, and will be recognized just about anywhere you go. As such, throughout this guide, prices are listed in U.S. dollars.
On almost all islands in the Caribbean, US dollars are widely accepted – a notable exception is Cuba.
The official currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar, or J$, but US dollars are also widely accepted. If you'll be visiting places outside of the tourist centres, you'll want to take Jamaican dollars. In big resort areas, you can usually get by with USD.
Making the most of your Barbadian dollars
Most shops and restaurants in Barbados are happy to accept US dollars as well as BBD, but you'll always get more for your money when paying in Barbadian dollars. You'll also receive any change in BBD, not USD.
You should plan to spend around B$607 ($301) per day on your vacation in Barbados, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, B$154 ($76) on meals for one day and B$49 ($24) on local transportation.
A service charge of between 10 and 15 percent is typically added to your bill at hotels and restaurants. Once this appears on your bill, any additional tipping is at your discretion and should reflect the quality of service you received. The standard rate of tipping in Barbados is approx. 10%.
If you're planning to play or work in this Caribbean nation, you can rest assured that most big businesses in tourist areas, like hotels and excursions, accept credit cards. However, if you're rambling into more remote areas or checking out smaller, local shops, it's best to carry some cash.
How much money will you need for your trip to Jamaica? You should plan to spend around J$15,989 ($105) per day on your vacation in Jamaica, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.
What currency do you use on the island? Eastern Caribbean, or EC Dollars as it is commonly called, is the local currency and is accepted everywhere on the island of Saint Lucia. US Dollars can also be used but exchange rates may vary from place to place.
The Barbados dollar (BD$) is the local currency in Barbados and is tied in value to the US dollar. It is advisable to exchange currency at the bank, as the most favourable exchange rates may not be obtained elsewhere. Many establishments will accept payments in US Dollars with change being given in local currency.
An autonomous British territory located in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands are a major financial tax haven for wealthy individuals and corporations. A United States dollar is exchangeable for around 0.83 Cayman Islands dollar- making it the only and strongest Caribbean currency on the list.
Cayman Islands Dollar
The Cayman Islands dollar, which has been in circulation since 1972, is the most powerful Caribbean currency.
Typically, all-inclusive resorts do not allow tipping. Also, consider the fact that most locals won't tip in Jamaica; it's only at the touristy areas where tips are common place.
If a gratuities charge is not incorporated, tip as you would at a restaurant at home, 10%-18%, depending upon the level of service. Like always, tipping is based solely upon the diner's discretion. Jamaicans always expect tips in the restaurant even though a service charge was already included in the bills.
Credit/Debit Cards Credit cards and debit cards are accepted at most hotels, resorts, and most larger shops. Many smaller shops, craft markets, etc. do not accept credit cards or debit cards (cash only). Cards with the VISA and MasterCard logo are accepted at the greatest number of locations.
For the majority of travelers only US dollars are required. For most of the rest of tourists to Jamaica, mainly US dollars will be used with a minority of purchases made in Jamaican dollars. Only a small percentage of travelers will need to exchange large amounts of foreign currency into Jamaican dollars.
Water is scarce on the island and Barbados is actually one of the top 15 water scarce countries in the world. Alternatively, tap water is safe to drink in Barbados so you could reduce the number of bottles used on the island by drinking from the tap instead.
Casual slacks and lightweight sportswear for the times when you are not in a bathing suit. Pack comfortable shoes including sandals, flip flops and sneakers. Bring multiple swimsuits. Wide brim hats and baseball caps will give your face additional protection from the sun.
Taxi drivers customarily receive a 10% tip; however, you may wish to give a little extra tip if the driver is helpful and has recommended things to see and do or good restaurants or bars.