Getting Around Jamaica

  • Ken is the best!
    Ken is the best!
    by MichaelR13
  • Ken took us to Rose Hall! Cool haunted mansion!
    Ken took us to Rose Hall! Cool haunted...
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  • Taxi in Negril
    Taxi in Negril
    by atufft

Most Viewed Transportation in Jamaica

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    Getting to your hotel in Jamaica SAFELY!

    by Jessicaoff07 Written Mar 17, 2014

    Hiring your own driver (a private charter) is a more comfortable alternative and leaves you in full control, but is more expensive. Price is negotiable and should be set before entering the vehicle. For driver recommendations in different parts of Jamaica, do a search on the local forum for the area where you are based or look for local Inside pages.

    Sunny Tours provides the best airport transfers from most of the main airports to touristy destinations within Jamaica: Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios and Kingston. They provide exclusive transfers to most of the popular hotels in these areas; Secrets Hotel, Gran Palladium, Royalton White Sands Hotel, Runaway Bay Hotels, Bahia Principe Hotel, Braco Village Hotel, Iberostar Hotels and Rose Hall Hotels. You can contact them for a quote at travel@sunnytoursjamaica.com.

    Route taxis are often packed with people, but they are friendly folk and glad to have you with them. Route taxis are the primary mode of transportation for Jamaicans and serve the purpose that a bus system would in a large metropolitan city. This is how people get to work, kids get to school, etc.

    Route taxis generally run between specific places, but if you're in the central taxi hub for a town you'll be able to find taxis going in any of the directions you need to go. Route taxis don't run very far, so if you need to get half way across the island you'll need to take it in stages. If worst comes to worst, just keep repeating your final destination to all the people who ask where you're going and they'll put you in the right car and send you on your way. You may have to wait until the taxi has enough passengers to make the trip worthwhile for the driver, and many route taxis travel with far more people in them than a Westerner would ever guess was possible. If you have luggage with you, you may have to pay an extra fare for your luggage since you're taking up space that would otherwise be sold to another passenger.

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    Donald Sangster International Airport

    by traveldave Updated Jan 28, 2014

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    Most international flights booked by tourists arrive at Donald Sangster International Airport (MBJ) near Montego Bay. It is conveniently located near most of the resorts on the north coast, although is quite far from the resorts of Negril on the west coast.

    Airlines serving Donald Sangster International Airport: Air Canada, Air Europe, Air Jamaica, Air Jamaica Express, Air Transat, American Airlines, Cayman Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Jetairfly, jetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Transaero Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, USA3000 Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, WestJet, and XL Airways France.

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    Taxis in Jamaica

    by atufft Updated Jan 11, 2014

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    There are no trains, and bus transport is slow and unpredictable in many places around Jamaica. Rental car is definitely an option for those with a good sense of adventure and direction. For most folks though, the hired car or taxi is the best option. Taxi drivers may appear to be satanic speed demons, but their knowledge of every dangerous corner and highway pot hole makes them a safe and reliable driver. We prefer grey haired seasoned veteran drivers, but any driver faces high stakes in the business, understanding that an accident or breakdown could mean the end of their career. Jamaican drivers exercise useful local knowledge and judgment about security matters, and are honest about protecting their customer's baggage, so the ability to leave a car full of luggage and electronics without worry is a terrific advantage of the hired taxi over a rental car.

    There are new and old vehicles serving as taxis, but generally speaking there is no reason other than basic comfort to turn down the ride in an older vehicle. Distances in Jamaica are short, and so uncomfortable rides are short. Generally speaking, newer vehicles and vans are more likely to be corporate owned with an employee driver. Older vehicles more likely to be owned by the driver, so altogether it's difficult to argue which is the safer ride given the stakes invested by the driver. So, the personality of the driver is very important. There are shared and exclusive taxis, where a ride in a shared taxi naturally should be lower. Exclusive taxis are more often needed for longer rides where luggage is to be moved.

    Bargaining for a taxi involves asking around to determine market rate prices, and knowing where to thumb a ride. Highest prices will be found at or nearby the all-inclusive resorts, high priced restaurants, at the Bob Marley Museum, and anywhere naive tourists are expected to accumulate. We would sometimes walk along the roadside for awhile, pitch low prices at drivers who inevitably would stop, and thus learn by rejection what appeared to be a reasonable price. Don't worry walking is OK, about getting a taxi in most tourist areas is easy. Even late at night along lonely roads, a taxi will come by. In remote areas, thumbing a ride is not particularly dangerous in Jamaica, as far as I could tell, so any random vehicle can be turned in to a taxi if needed. If the passing vehicle is already full, the driver will take a lower price to squeeze in. But, sometimes an empty cab will fetch a low price if the driver appears to be otherwise deadheading back toward town for a pickup. You may be his best chance to cover the expensive fuel for the return.

    Jamaican right-side steering vehicles and island fuel prices make transport expensive. Short runs around town will be a US$ or two, but determining city to city transit is more complicated. The first advice though is to never give the driver a deposit for pick up. We made this mistake during an effort to have a driver for the entire island. Originally, we agreed with a driver to take us around the island for US$600-, which is a good price because rental car for a week is more than this. We had already paid him US$50- for the ride from the airport to Falmouth, a rate which is reasonable. From Falmouth to Port Antonio, with stops along the way, we determined that the price was about $200-. However, we had given the driver $300-, or half the total trip price as a fuel advance. When, we arrived in Port Antonio, we wanted to stay one day. The driver wanted to return back the three hour drive to Falmouth to do a cruise ship tour the next day, but he promised to return at 5:30 AM the morning of our departure for the trip to Kingston. Unfortunately, the driver didn't wake up, and by 7 AM was just leaving Falmouth. The driver would likely arrive around noon, a late departure that wasted our precious time. We figured that we would lose US$50, since the actual service value to Port Antonio could be more like $250-. So, we cancelled and asked for a US$50- deposit to be returned. Since the driver couldn't return the cash, we lost out. Lesson learned--giving fuel deposits and advances is too risky.

    During the trip through Kingston to Treasure Beach, we learned that hiring a different driver for each leg of the journey is a better plan than keeping the same driver. First, driver's vary in their knowledge of Kingston and local regions, so outside driver's will provide an inferior experience. Second, we learned that after delivery, driver's find it difficult to pickup a return fare. Local competition makes it all but impossible for an outside driver to take the fare of a local taxi driver. The further the taxi is from origin, the more expensive the deadhead home. Thus, finding another driver for each leg of the journey is cheaper. Since it can be difficult to find a reasonable priced fare at Bob Marley Museum or other such tourist attraction, if the next stop is a guest house hotel, I recommend contacting the owner or manager to see about helping you fetch a taxi at the market rate price.

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  • ShortyTours Transportation

    by avibes10 Written May 9, 2010

    SHORTY!!!!a big thumbs up for the excellent service, price, reliabily. I loved the caves you brought me and My Auntie!!!! The beautiful sights and sounds of Jamaica. If you want a real jamaican experience I would advise you to call ShortyTours.

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  • ShortyTours Transportation

    by avibes10 Written May 9, 2010

    SHORTY!!!!a big thumbs up for the excellent service, price, reliabily. I loved the caves you brought me and My Auntie!!!! The beautiful sights and sounds of Jamaica. If you want a real jamaican experience I would advise you to call ShortyTours.

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  • shorty tours and transportation service

    by kiven22 Written Apr 26, 2010

    If you are going to Jamaica, you have got to call Shorty! He will take good care of you. He is reasonably priced. He is honest, and he has your best interest in mind. We asked him to take us to Rick's Cafe early in the afternoon, and Shorty let us know that it might be a little boring at that time of the day. He helped us rearrange our schedule in a way that we would get the most bang for our buck.
    If you ride with Shorty, you have to have him take you to see Captain Charlie!! (He is located near Rick's Cafe.) Tell him Ingrid sent you, and he will know what you mean. Captain Charlie sells neat souvenirs. His souvenirs are unlike anything else you will buy in Jamaica! Shorty can explain the significance.
    Another must in Jamaica...BB King and the Westerners. You have to hear them play before you leave! They played at Couples while we were there. I'm not sure where else you can hear them play, but ask around. Some of the instruments they use are an acoustic guitar, maracas, and some type of "drum." They sing really happy island style music. I bought their CD and it is GREAT! It is a great way to bring your memories home with you.
    Shorty, thanks for all you shared with us while we were there. You're the best! Our trip wouldn't have been the same without you! ...respect!

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  • ShortyTours Transportation

    by avibes10 Written Apr 24, 2010

    ShortyTours is a service to use for getting around anywhere in Jamaica. Shorty is honest and reliable. He also took me on some really exciting and unique tours Caves, mineral spirngs. Sometimes you just can call him to get you to the local grocery shops or he can refer to anyone for all that you may need. I was there for two weeks and plan to go back. Shortytours is who I am going to call.

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    Jamaican 'public' transportation, route taxis

    by danmcf Updated Feb 10, 2010

    Most tourists travel by air conditioned buses, but not the locals.
    Throughout Jamaica there are these 'route taxis' that go between the major towns.
    They are typically Toyota sedans of some sort, and not in the best of conditions (the roads of Jamaica do some real damage to the vehicles).

    The driver goes about his route, picking up passengers along the way. Most of our travels through Jamaica were in a route taxi driven by our friend, Mr. Palmer.

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    Paved roads through Jamaica

    by melosh Written Jun 25, 2009

    Driving around Jamaica is about the roads, the traffic, the drivers and the beautiful scenery.

    I have found the road system in Jamaica extensive, with a lot of paving and relatively few pot holes. Signage and lighting sometimes leaves something to be desired but even when poorly marked the choice is usually fairly obvious. One special danger is a lack of parking off the right of way so when people stop to buy jerk chicken or fruit often their car or truck partially blocks the roadway.

    The traffic is fairly heavy with an uncomfortable mix of large transport vehicles and speedy little cars.

    Other than driving on the "wrong" side, English style, the thing that is hard to get use to is the how comfortable Jamaicans are with very narrow distances of separation between vehicles, vehicles and people and vehicles and the edge of the road.

    The Jamaican drivers are brave and sometimes foolhardy. Add this to darkness and/or alcohol, and you probably have a good reason to avoid night travel if possible.

    The scenery makes land travel worthwhile. The freedom to leave and stop whenever you want is also attractive. One question to ask is whether you will be able to really enjoy this scenery if you are concentrating on driving. A car with a driver, a taxi, public vehicles are alternatives to car rental.

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  • Getting around JA

    by kALIG Written Jun 1, 2009

    The best way to experience the culture and experience Jamaica is getting out into the towns. You can do so by chartering someone to take you around for the day..It usually works out pretty good...

    You can use KAG Luxury Charter Services...It's comfortable and inexpensive and the guides are nice too....They will take you practically everywhere in JAMAICA.They'll even book the tours for you .....luxuryshuttleservice@gmail.com

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  • Guide Taxi Seymour

    by happyflower Written Jan 27, 2009

    When you visit Jamaica call a Guide Taxi called Seymour McKenzie : (00 1 876) 8090748
    Shuttle to the airport , Tours around the Island : Black River, Mayfield Falls, Dunns Falls, Ocho Rios, Nine Miles , Negril Shopping and Rick's cafe , Blue Mountains . Enjoy nigth time in some Beach Party's , like Alfred's in Negril and more...with Seymour : NO PROBLEM !
    Very friendly people , honest, chiper than other's , and good service.
    You will enjoy very much , because he show you the best of the island and all people Respect him !

    Yeah man ! Respect!

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    Driving in Jamaica

    by cochinjew Written Jun 1, 2008

    Jamaicans drive on the left following the British tradition. You can drive there on your US drivers licence. apart from some north coast roads, the roads are narrow and some extremely windy. Driving in Kingston is not advised.driving at night is not safe and driving along isolated roads is not safe. Please be careful and rethink your decision if you have never been to Jamaica, if one of you is familiar with Jamaica, or is a jamaican, then there would be less problem.

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    Flight & airports

    by toonsarah Written Mar 8, 2008

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    We flew direct to Kingston from London’s Gatwick Airport with Virgin Atlantic, and returned with the same airline from Montego Bay. We didn’t experience any problems with our flights, and for travellers from the UK this seems a good option, especially as they allow you to fly into one end of the island and return from the other at no extra cost.

    Kingston Airport is small and from our brief time there seemed to have fewer facilities than Montego Bay. If duty free shopping is important to you (and with rum this cheap it probably should be!) I suggest you use the latter for your return flight. Montego Bay also seemed a bit better organised – queues were long but well-managed, whereas immigration at Kingston was disordered and painfully slow.

    On the other hand, the scenery in the immediate vicinity of Kingston is great, and we had some wonderful views of the Blue Mountains and of the coastline as we came into land. The airport is on a peninsula, so be prepared to feel as if you’re coming down in the sea ;)

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    Package deals to Jamaica

    by Dabs Updated Feb 28, 2008

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    I've found that the best deals for Jamaica (and most beach destinations) from Chicago and many other US cities is to book a package that includes airfare, hotels and transfers to and from the airport.

    The two companies from Chicago that used to do it the best are Apple Vacations and FunJet but recently I haven't found the best deals through them, probably because we were not going at the same time as their charter flights. I have used both several times with no problems.

    Other options are Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Air Jamaica vacations, all of which have package deals. I used Expedia in 2008 to book our Jamaica trip.

    Downsides to using package tours? No major ones but you may have to wait at the airport until they have rounded everyone up delaying your beach vacation for a bit. And they seem to take you to the airpot awfully early but if you want to pay a few extra $$$ you can just tell them that you're arranging for your own transfer.

    Sometimes you will get on a charter flight and the planes are not the most comfortable. Air Jamaica is a good airline to fly on and the only direct flight I could find but it was also the most expensive.

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    Phillip Graham-Jamaica Tour Guide Extraordinaire

    by sdicksteina Updated Feb 26, 2008

    We went to Mayfield Falls with Phillip Graham, who is an excellent guide with reasonable prices (I am a shopper and he was the best deal I could find). In addition to driving us safely to Mayfield Falls in his van, he shared with us some of the history of the country and areas we passed through. He stopped several times and cut fresh sugar cane & oranges, for us to taste as well as showing us the akee fruit (which needs to be cooked). He even took us to a store where we got excellant deals on coffee, T-shirts, and rum that were better than we could negotiate on our own.

    I was surprised when my phone rang a couple of days after we got home--IT WAS PHILLIP calling to see if we got home OK! How can you beat service like that?

    Please note: We aren't associated with Phillip in any way except for highly satisfied customers and now friends. Phillip provide tours to a number of places in Jamaica and also is available for trips to/from the airport.

    Also, when you get to Mayfield Falls I would recomend asking for "150" as a guide. Great young man who is very enthusiastic, knowledgable, and quite the high diver.

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