For the most part, the answer is yes. In most of the main areas of Jamaica that are usually populated with tourists, it is “safe” to drink the water from the faucet or tap. However the further you go from the cities and into the more rural areas of the island, the less safe the water becomes. If possible you should always carry bottled water with you so that you’re sure that what you’re drinking isn’t responsible for any illnesses you pick up whilst you’re away.
There’s a bigger threat to your health than water however, because you see water and think “Water – is it safe?” But it’s not always as easy to consider how safe the ice is when you’re hot and longing for something cool to drink. Ice is a far bigger danger and in the Jamaican heat it’s far too tempting to just think “it’ll be ok” when you see a street vendor selling snocones. It’s possible that it will be ok, depending on where you are when tempted, but it’s also possible that that moment of weakness will ruin your vacation – so stop and think before you buy! Also beware of ice in your drinks. If you are having ice from the bar in your hotel, and the hotel is a good standard tourist hotel that caters mainly for international guests, chances are that the ice will be just fine – as the water from the faucet there will be. If however you’ve stopped into a local Jamaican bar that’s mainly frequented by the locals, or if you’re in a hotel in a smaller town, then skip the ice out – it’s better to be hot than sorry!
On what should be a fabulous holiday, there are certain precautions you need to take, and ensuring that the water you drink is clean is one of them – even if it means that if you’re camping, you boil the water and leave it cool before you drink it!