Jamaica: Local Travel Info
Clear seas, Cocktails, Rastafarianism and Reggae
Jamaica is a relatively small island but travelling around it can be as fast or slow as you want. There is no national rail system but there are a number of travel options to choose from.
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Jamaica
Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and Montego Bay’s Sangster International are Jamaica’s two main airports, but while getting around by road is more scenic, it is time consuming. Air Jamaica, TimAir Limited and International Air Link run frequent internal flights between the main resorts, are reasonably priced and can get you to your destination in as little as 35 minutes and cost, on average €127.
Getting to and from the Airport at Jamaica
If you have a holiday package, a bus shuttle service to and from your hotel may be included. Failing that, there are plenty of other options: Authorised Airport Taxis like JUTA, Maxi Tours and JCAL, operate from Sangster and Manley International airports and offer fairly safe and reasonable transport to your destination (expect to pay around €19 to get from Sangster Airport to Montego Bay). Both airports are usually filled with independent taxi drivers hustling to get your attention, and while you may think they’re the cheaper option, if you look like an obvious tourist then they may treat you like one.
Jamaica by bus
Travelling around Jamaica by bus is a sure-fire way of really getting some cultural insight into the island, as well as being cheap (you can travel at least 50 miles by bus for less than €2, although don’t be surprised if you are charged more because of your tourist status). The downside of this is that buses in Jamaica can be a law to themselves: outside the big cities there are unlikely to be bus timetables, buses will still stop for people waiting at the side of the road no matter how full the bus. It is advised that you should only travel on JUTA (Jamaican Union of Transport Associations) buses and minibuses – you will recognise them by their red Public Passenger Vehicle (PPV) license plates; but outside the larger areas this isn’t always an option and buses tend to be of the unlicensed, white minibus variety. Your access to buses in Jamaica will vary depending on where you are, however: hotels and resorts tend to take care of residents, but if you need or want to take public transport, some areas are better than others: Montego Bay’s public bus system isn’t as advanced as you might expect for a large area, and while buses operate in Kingston, the system is an erratic one.
Jamaica by taxi
Like buses in Jamaica, getting around Jamaica by taxi can be straightforward: all licensed taxis in Jamaica will have the red and white Public Passenger Vehicle (PPV) licence plate and are members of JUTA (Jamaica Union of Transport Associations). Another alternative are route taxis, which are a cross between buses and taxis and will pick up other passengers along the way. Meters are pretty rare in Jamaican taxis so negotiating a price before travel is a must. Hotel taxis will be more expensive, but the art of bartering cannot be underestimated in Jamaica. Prices can vary between a €15 per 10 mile. As is the case anywhere in the world, it is not advised to flag down unlicensed cars and accept fares from drivers professing to be taxi drivers.
Renting Cars in Jamaica
Companies like Hertz and Avis operate from both of the main airports, so it is not a problem to hire a car when you arrive. However, like most places in the world, renting a car from an airport can be more costly, so it does pay to shop around. There are many car rental companies on the island so it is just a matter of picking the fairest deal; you can hire a car for around €29 a day, but you will benefit from remembering that you have to be 21 (or 25 in some cases), to hire a car in Jamaica. Companies will ask for a deposit of usually around €372, but remember (as always) to check the car thoroughly for scratches, etc. Some companies will hire drivers out along with the vehicle, for an additional cost, but if you don’t want to do that, buy a map. It’s also handy to remember that the type of car you hire will, depending on where you’re planning to go, will hinder or help your holiday. If you intend to stick to the larger areas, then most cars are fine. If you plan on heading into the rural areas where the roads tend to be more narrow and unpredictable, larger cars may not be suitable.
To book car rental in Jamaica online, view our Car Hire section for Jamaica. We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in Jamaica. We advise you book your Jamaica hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.
Drivers License Requirements in Jamaica
Anyone visiting Jamaica is required to have a valid driver’s licence from their own country, or an International Driving Permit.
Driving is on the left side in Jamaica and the speed limit 50 km/h in built up areas and 80 km/h on highways.