Getting Around Jamaica
The best way to get around Jamaica is in a taxi, whether you're coming from one of the airports (Montego Bay's Donald Sangster International Airport (MBJ) is the most accessible to the tourist areas) or making your way around town. Renting a car is also an option, but driving on the left can be confusing; the road signs are unhelpful; the drivers can be aggressive; and the potholes are rampant. Minibuses are another popular and affordable means of getting to and from the key attractions.
Many cruise lines, including Carnival, Celebrity and Holland America, make stops in Jamaica. They usually head for Montego Bay on the northwestern side or Ocho Rios in the northeast.
|Taxi||Taking a cab will be the safest and most hassle-free way to get around Jamaica. But you should only take the official taxis that are operated by the Jamaica Union of Travelers Association (JUTA). You can call one from the hotel or hail one off the street; look for the red and white license plates with "PPV" appearing before the number. Many of their meters are broken, so agree on a price before accepting the ride. And anticipate a 10- to 12-percent tip tacked onto your fare.|
||You'll probably get on a minibus at some point in Jamaica, as they're the preferred method of getting from the airport to the hotels, and from the hotels to many of the large tourist sites. But otherwise; you might find this an unreliable and frankly, because of the road conditions, a somewhat scary mode of getting around. They are, however, the island's cheapest form of transportation. Budget about $3 USD (or approximately $250 Jamaica Dollars) for each 50 kilometers (or approximately 30 miles) you travel.|
|Car||Having a car in Jamaica could be seen as an asset or a burden. You'll of course get to explore the island on your own, but you'll have to suffer the lumpy roads, the erratic drivers and scant road signs. If you want a rental car, book one early (supply is limited) and prepare to part with some serious cash (more than $70 USD a day, not to mention a 15-percent government tax and mandatory collision coverage).|
Entry & Exit Requirements
All United States citizens will need a passport for entry into and exit out of Jamaica; however, if visitors are traveling by sea, a passport card is an acceptable alternative. And keep in mind that customs officials may ask you to provide evidence of sufficient funds for your stay plus evidence of a return trip to the U.S. or an onward journey. For more information on entry and exit requirements, visit the U.S. State Department's website.