Jamaica — Transportation
Jamaica Taxis and Car Rental
There are licensed and unlicensed taxis in Jamaica, as well as licensed taxis specifically for tourists. Taxis outside of Kingston are metered, though drivers may choose not use them so always agree on a price before setting out. Licensed taxis have fares displayed, with prices 25 percent extra after midnight. Jamaican Taxi Tours (+1-876-572-6518) is a reputable company, but fares can be more expensive with “charter taxis.” Shared “route taxis” will take you from point-to-point and you can hail both types on the street. The big hotels typically have their own taxis—or taxi services affiliated with them—with reliable, safe drivers that have been approved by the Jamaican Tourist Board (JTB).
Driving in Jamaica can be difficult, but it’s a big island and there’s a lot to see. Major car rental firms are at the airports and in resorts, including Budget, with a 15 percent tax added. Ensure your agreement comes with unlimited mileage. Drivers must be 25 years of age or older and drive on the left. Tourists can drive right across the colorful north coast, with a trip from Negril to Port Antonio (incorporating Montego Bay and Ocho Rios) taking about five or six hours. Montego Bay to Ocho Rios is about two hours.
Jamaica Water Taxis
Jamaica is a main stop for Caribbean cruises and major cruise lines dock at Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. There are water taxis in Jamaica, but these are generally tour boats that ply the main beaches, offering trips from Doctors Cave Beach to Mahee Bay in Montego Bay. These are often expensive, but can be fun for a jaunt, although it is advised to use the services directly from your hotel if possible. For time and cost, it is better to travel by road or fly between Montego Bay and Kingston.
Jamaica Trains and Buses
There is an up and coming train service between Clarendon and Saint Catherine called the Clarendon Express, although passenger rail travel was cancelled way back in the early 1990’s.
Buses are run by JUTA (the Jamaica Union of Travelers Association) and go all over, but are uncomfortable and not very practical, albeit cheap. A semi-decent route runs between Kingston and Montego Bay, which is perhaps good for day trippers or those who arrive at the airport in Kingston and looking for an alternative to taxis.