Negril is quite a sprawling resort town, with only a small centre and most hotels strung out along the Seven Mile Beach or the West End Road to either side. The most convenient way to get around if you don’t have your own transport is by “route taxi”. Unlike in Ocho Rios, where these were used mainly by locals, here tourists seem to make just as good use of them; no one really considers taking a taxi just for themselves, unless it’s for a long trip (such as when we took one to the airport at the end of our visit).
They work on the principle that they follow a set route, like a bus, but you can hail them wherever you want to, like a taxi. The drivers will squeeze in as many people as they can, so be prepared to squash up! It will take slightly longer than a conventional taxi, as you’ll be stopping from time to time to drop off or pick up other passengers, but it costs a lot less. We found that drivers wouldn’t quote a price but instead ask what we would pay, which is disconcerting when you don’t know the going rates. On our first trip into town we offered US$5, which was accepted without an argument, so we thought we’d probably been quite generous and cut back on later trips, so that at the end we were paying just US$2 for the same trip. I observed that locals were handing over considerably less, but we knew our drivers would be as aware as we were that we had more money than they did, so it seemed mean not to offer a fair price.
Having spent our first few days in Ocho Rios, we needed to get across the island to our new base in Negril. What better way to travel than with Dave, who had met us at Kingston Airport nearly a week earlier, and had been our driver on several very enjoyable excursions. We agreed a fee of US$150 for the day, which was very reasonable considering that he would have to drive all the way home as well, and set off after breakfast and a fond farewell to Elise and Darryl and to the lovely Blue House.
We turned the day into a tour by stopping in several places en route. Firstly Dave did a detour for us up Fern Gully as he knew I’d wanted to get some photos there the previous day and hadn’t been able to. Then we set off along the coast, with brief stops for photos now and then, to our next destination, Outameni. This proved however to be the least enjoyable of the many things we did in Jamaica, as I’ve described elsewhere.
Never mind, our next stop was for lunch, and much more agreeable – a plate of jerk chicken and rice & peas at a little seaside shack, the "Native Rest Stop", somewhere between Discovery Bay and Montego Bay. Washed down with cold drinks, and enjoyed with a backdrop of lovely sea views, this tasty meal cost US$7 per person.
From here we continued to follow the coast through Montego Bay and round the western end of the island to Negril. The views of the scenic coastline and Dave’s friendly chat meant that this was a great drive, although by the end of it we were glad to arrive and check into our room at the Negril Escape.
By the way, if you’re flying to Jamaica for a stay in Negril, do try to arrive at Montego Bay Airport, just an hour and a half away, not Kingston which would take you the best part of a day to drive.
When you setup your tour, ask for a ride and they will come and pick you up at your resort. This location goes to Montego Bay, there is another location by Ocho Rios, check to the website below for contact info.
Both TimAir and Air Jamaica Express offer air transfer service between Montego Bay Sangster's airports and Negril.
TimAir flights are on Cessna's for the most part, and can seat 4-8 passengers. These are great because they aren't scheduled air, and you won't have a long wait when you arrive in town.
Air Jamaica Express planes are a bit larger, holding around 15 passengers. These are scheduled service, and you can purchase these tickets along with regular Air Jamaica tickets in the States.
Each of these cost about $65 per person, each way. The flight is only about 15 minutes, which will save you about an hour then if you took the bus.
Reservations for TimAir can be made in advance. Just pay at the ticket counter upon arrival. Air Jamaica Express can either be paid in advance, or simply show up at the terminal and get on the next flight.
If you need safe, reasonably priced transportation throughout Negril, call our favorite taxi-driver, Juba. If you are a female traveling alone, you can trust that Juba will watch out for you while you shop. He will also show you where to go in the plaza for an ATM, the closet grocery store or pharmacy. Any questions you have about the area, Juba will most likely know. He is very reasonable with pricing. A taxi ride to the West-End is typically J$ 300. However, Juba will negotiate prices and will not raise his prices simply for being a tourist. You can trust that prices will stay consistent with any passenger. If any taxi driver waits for you while you shop, you are expected to pay for that time. However, you can also ask to be dropped off at your destination and call the driver when you are ready to be picked up without the extra charge.
If you are looking to travel outside of the Negril area to the YS or Mayfield Falls, you may want to consider finding a taxi car in prime condition since the roads are damaged and very bumpy. For your safety, comfort and budget, consider taking a tour bus with other travelers to these destinations. Transporting many people at a time makes it much cheaper for everyone. The vans are also more likely to be air-conditioned.
J.U.T.A. Taxi Drivers Robert and Jackie can take you around town or to destinations such as: YS Falls, Belvedere Estate Interpretive Village, Mayfield Falls, Seaford Town Area, Cane Fields, Old Sugar Factory, Rum Factory, Black River Boat Trips, Bamboo Banana Boat Raft Trips, and Savanna-la- Mar. It is typically $100 to go to Mayfield Falls and back, a 3 hour round-trip. It is $23 per person from the Montego Bay airport to Negril, $75 minimum charge. As with any taxi, always ask for the price before getting in. Always negotiate pricing if you do not know the taxi driver.
Most flights go into Montego Bay (MJB) or Kingston, Montego Bay is definitely more convenient for Negril. While there are flights between Montego Bay and Negril, most people opt for ground transportation.
We opted for a shared shuttle between the airport and the hotel, usually it comes with the package tours but with Expedia it wasn't included or even offered. I had used JUTA on all of our previous trips so once off the plane we located the JUTA desk and booked a round trip transfer for $50 per person round trip plus an extra $5 which they said was because I used my credit card.
We only waited for 5-10 minutes before being loaded onto a shuttle van for the 1 3/4 hour drive to Negril. We arranged a pick up time at the airport for the return trip and that transfer was pretty much on time and got us to the airport with enough time but not too much time.
to get to negril you can fly to montego bay's airport, and take a taxi from there; or fly to kingston airport, and take a light aircraft to negril's aerodrome. a taxi from montego bay is cheaper, and in my opinion more convenient. the ride takes two hours.
if you are an independent traveler you can take one of the collective taxis from montego bay's bus station. if you share one of these taxis with locals, you will save a lot of money. you may need to change taxis in lucea
To many places that we went to we hired a driver. We met Lee at Ricks Cafe and from then on if we wanted to do something we called Lee up and he took us. He isnt a crazy driver, he is very professional and seems like a good person. He gave us fair prices to go places and he was very trustworthy.
I think we saved alot of time by going with Lee and he knows everything about the island. He took us to good local places to eat that were affordable and he has a nice big van/bus.
On the resort tours you are either waiting on someone or someone is waiting on you. So we hired a taxi, through the resort to be at our beckon call for an evening. After taking us to our first stop, the driver said he had to leave and pick up a couple and would be back in a few minutes. Well, an hour later and we had to call the resort to get him returned to us. After getting back together and from that point on, he was very helpful and stayed with us the rest of the evening. Someone had made an impression on him somewhere down the road. Speak slowly and make your driver speak slowly if neccessary to get your directions across to each other. Red tag taxis are government controlled. White tag taxis are okay, but be firm with the drivers.
www.juta.negril is a reliable shuttle service & also the cheapest way to get from Montego Bay airport to Negril & back. You can book your airport pickup on line. You may share a small or large tour bus with other visitors which sometimes makes it more fun. About $20US one way, a regular charter taxi wil cost you upwards of $60US one way.
Also a good company to book tours with whilst you are on the island, safe & very courteuos drivers too!
Gone to Negril 2 years ago but can't forget how helpfull and kind was Bryan, a great cab driver who makes us discovers customs and places few tourists see. So, if u're interested in Jamaica seen by jamaicans, treat him well, u won't be deceived.
His phone number:0018-7637-26402.
First, check to see if your hotel offers a shuttle service as it will be the most reliable form of transportation. We didn't do this and hired an independent driver with a business called Talk of the Town. Barry was our driver and he was waiting for us when we walked out of MoBay airport. He was friendly enough and the drive was fine. The problem occured when he forgot to pick us up to return to the airport. Very stressful. Luckily, we were staying at the amazing and incomparable Caves and they arranged transport for us very quickly. I was disappointed and frustrated, but I will say that Barry emailed me personally when I got home and apologized profusely for his lapse. Everyone makes mistakes so I'd hate my one experience to be held against this company that usually gets such rave reviews.
The best way to get around Negril is on foot -- just walking up and down the beach to the different hotels/restaurants. You will be approached by beach vendors and drug dealers, but it's not nearly as sinister as it sounds. I wouldn't walk along the beach at night, but that's my personal feeling. If you have to go into town (which I wouldn't recommend) you have to take a taxi from most beach hotels. The town is crowded and unattractive in my view and I would really only recommend going for necessities like groceries or cash. We had to go to the ATM to get more cash and I found it a bit uncomfortable.
We really lucked out when we traveled to Negril for the first time. Champion Tours provided great local service around town, custom tours, and transport to the airport in Montego Bay. Champion, the owner, has a large van that can accommodate a small group. The van is pretty new, so it was reliable and the service was always very professional. The prices were great as well. We saw that this specific driver was well known around town and trusted by many travelers who come to Jamaica annually. You can call him from anywhere in town, or Jamaica for that matter, and he comes right away to take you where you need to go. And you can usually find him around the Xtabi Resort on the cliffs in the West End. We tried some other drivers/transportation services during our stay but Champion Tours was by far the best.
My old friend Tony Vassel can pick you up at Mobay Airport for the 1 1/2 hour trip to Negril. He has a nice van and charges about $75-$80 for the one-way trip, which can be divided amongst the passengers. He will drive you directly to your hotel or cottage, and will stop for food and drink if requested. Tony also rents scooters and also takes folk to places outside Negril such as Y's Falls or the Appleton Rum Factory. Prices depend on how many are going, and how far away the trip goes.
updated june 2012---price gone up mon---now $80 for the trip, 2-6 people.
Tony also took us to the local "Blue Hole" mineral springs near Negril as well as a driving tour of the area---very cool!