While renting a car is strongly discouraged by those in the know, especially for first time Jamaica visitors, sometimes you simply have to rent a vehicle for your vacation. If this is the case for you, make sure you learn everything you can about the car rental process, and driving conditions in Falmouth.
If you're going to rent a car for your stay in Falmouth, you'll likely do so when you arrive at the airport in Montego Bay, but you also have the option of taking a charter taxi to your accommodations and having the rental brought right to you. Whichever route you choose to take, there are some requirements you must meet before you will be able to get behind the wheel.
First, you must be between the ages of 23 and 75-years-old to rent a car in Jamaica. Some agencies will allow younger drivers to rent, however, there will be a hefty fee attached to that rental. Next, you must have a valid driver's license from your country of origin and been driving back home for more than one year. Finally, you will need a valid credit card with a high limit. Always be sure to ask your rental agency how much they plan to hold on your credit cards. Reports of agencies holding up to $2500(USD) have been made, which can really put a damper on your vacation if you had planned to charge everything to your card.
After you have met these requirements, make sure to read through the rental agreement thoroughly so that you may ask questions about anything you were not aware of previously. Hidden fees have been known to be slipped into the agreement, and you don't want to be held responsible for things out of your control because you didn't read the documentation. Additionally, you will need to check over the vehicle you are issued and make note of any damages, messes, or questionable finds so that you are not later on held responsible for them. If you have the know-how, check under the hood to make sure all the parts are intact. Make your rental agency aware of any issues before you leave the premises.
When everything has met your approval and that of the agency, you are free to take your rental for as many days as you have requested. The typical pricing on a rental car in Jamaica is anywhere from $25 to $250(USD) a day, depending on the size and quality of the rental, the cost of any additional features, and the price of insurance, which is required in Falmouth. You'll find that rates are cheaper during the summer when the island is in the midst of its low tourist season, and you'll see prices drop the longer you are in possession of the vehicle. When you call to ask about the price, most agencies will give you a quote for your vacation that includes the price of the vehicle, insurance, and the Value Added Tax (V.A.T.), but it is best to ask and make sure.
...Japanese sedans are the most popular...
When you call or go on-line to book your rental, you'll be asked what type of vehicle you'd like to rent. Jamaica's agencies have a wide variety of offerings, but modern Japanese sedans are the most popular because they are small enough to navigate the narrow, winding roads this island is filled with. If you plan to spend a lot of time exploring outside of the busy metropolitan areas, you'll want to make sure to rent something with four wheel driver so you don't end up stuck in the mud. If you'd like to reserve a car seat or a bike rack, make sure to do so at least three days before your trip so you can be sure they will be available to you.
The following tables offer a general sense of what sort of rate you will pay. The lowest rates in each table are only available from the least expensive agencies during the slowest times of the year. The highest rates are what you can expect at one of the busier agencies during the high season.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 29.00||$ 46.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 35.00||$ 88.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 52.00||$ 120.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 75.00||$ 125.00|
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 174.00||$ 280.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 210.00||$ 530.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 312.00||$ 720.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 450.00||$ 750.00|
Your journey to Falmouth will likely begin in Montego Bay. From there, simply take Highway A1 along the island's north coast until you see the exit for Falmouth. The trip will take less than an hour, and give your first real glimpse of what driving on Jamaica is like. Main highways such as the A1, A2, and A3 have posted speed limits of around 50 miles per hour, and serve as the connecting roads between all of Jamaica's largest cities, while B labeled roads service rural areas. Despite the heavy traffic these roads see, they are not very well kept, and you'll encounter pot holes as well as a lack of road signs and traffic signals. You'll quickly see that local drivers mean business, driving fast, breaking quickly, and turning with little warning, all while tailgating and passing anyone who gets in their way. This is why many people say that driving in Jamaica is not for the faint of heart.
When you aren't driving on the highway, you'll find similar, if not worse conditions, but slower speed limits, and roundabouts that must be entered clockwise because driving is done on the left side of the road in a similar fashion to most of Europe. Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, livestock, and other cars that may sneak up on you. If you're turning a corner on a narrow road, give a little honk to let anyone who may be on the other side that you're coming, and always obey traffic laws. Local law enforcement takes speeding and not wearing a seat belt very seriously.
Since you could have difficulties locating gas stations, take a look at the table that follows for a picture of where some of them can be found.
|(876) 617-2189||8 Cornwall Street - Falmouth|
|--||Tharpe Street - Falmouth|
|--||Harbour Lane - Falmouth|
Driving in Falmouth can be done if you arrive prepared for the hazardous road conditions and wild drivers. Don't allow yourself to stress about getting from place to place, simply adapt and drive as safely as you can while trying to keep up.
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