Planning a custom vacation isn't limited to choosing where to stay and what to do; you can also plan how to arrive at your destination. Luckily, getting to Jamaica is relatively easy.
As one of the largest and most popular Caribbean islands, it has plenty of travel options, from airports, airlines, cruises, and ports for entry. Jamaica's many visitors are enticed to its shores by this ease of entry as well as its famous beaches and resorts.
Visitors can fly into either of Jamaica's two major international airports in Montego Bay or Kingston. From there, they can travel on by plane to any number of smaller airports across the island, and arrange for transfers to their hotel or resort from any airport. Jamaica is also a regional hub for connecting flights, so it is often the case that international travelers will find themselves with a layover in Jamaica. If this is the case for you, try to plan it so you have a flight landing on the island in the morning and continuing on to another island in the evening, or even the next day. This will give you some time to explore one or two of Jamaica's most famous attractions.
For the more adventurous traveler who has a little extra wiggle room in their budget, chartering a plane can be a great way to see the sites from above, as well as travel quickly from one large city to the next. There are a total of six airports throughout Jamaica, making traveling by plane more feasible than one might imagine.
Read our Jamaica Air Travel Guide to learn more about both international and domestic air travel options.
...so many great travel options...
Sailors who like to travel on their own can also enter through some of the larger ports and gain clearance to sail around the island for as long as they wish. Although Jamaica is not one of the top sailed-to islands in the Caribbean, there is still plenty of reason to do so if you are inclined to take matters into your own hands.
There are eight ports with customs headquarters in Jamaica, making the ease of access greater than most islands, as well as numerous piers and marinas at which to dock. The waters surrounding the island are typically calm enough that even new sailors find them easy to sail, and for those who don't feel comfortable sailing alone there are plenty of chartering options that include crews who know their stuff. Learn more about sailing to Jamaica here.
Cruise ship passengers may not stay as long, but the most popular ports offer plenty to explore. In 2011, Falmouth Cruise Terminal in Trelawny opened, bringing the number of cruise ship terminals up to three. The two others are located in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, two of the largest tourists hubs in the country.
Cruising is a popular option for tourists interested in seeing more than one Caribbean island during their trip. When you make port, you often have the option of participating in a ship sponsored excursion, or you can explore on your own. A day at the beach, doing some duty free shopping, or visiting the childhood home of Bob Marley are all options.
Click here to learn more about cruising to Jamaica.
With so many choices and so few hassles, it's easy to see why so many people choose Jamaica as their vacation destination. And with so many great travel options, you're sure to find one that is right for you.
Getting around the Caribbean's third largest island can seem like a task, but knowing which method of transportation is best for you will make touring Jamaica a treat rather than a chore. Adventurous travelers who prefer to take their time, travel on their own schedule, and enjoy independence as they explore have three options: bike, scooter, or car rental.
Driving a rental car in Jamaica can be a challenge for someone who isn't used to the often unkempt conditions of the roads - but for someone traveling with a group, or who would like to visit a lot of attractions, this can still be the best choice. Driving is done on the left side of the road, as in the United Kingdom, and stop lights are few and far between. Unlike many Caribbean countries, drivers from the United States do not need to obtain a temporary license, making renting a vehicle that much easier. Remember to yield to livestock, which can often be found slowly making their way across country roads.
Bicycle rentals are a great option for travelers whose accommodations are within the city and want a quick and efficient way to get around town; perhaps to grab a bite to eat, or do small amount of shopping. Bikes are also great for the athletic traveler who would like to challenge their body as they take in the beautiful scenery of the Blue Mountains.
The perfect candidate for scooter rental is a single traveler, or someone traveling in a small group who would prefer to zip around town on their own. The cost of renting a scooter is significantly lower than renting a car, and may be easier for someone under the age of 25 (the typical age one must be in order to rent a car). Keep in mind that country roads will be difficult to transverse on a scooter, due to pot holes and lack of pavement, so scooter travel is best done in larger cities.
If you'd rather leave the driving up to someone who knows their way around, hiring a taxi may be more your style. When choosing a taxi, look for vehicles approved by the Jamaican Union of Travelers Association (JUTA); this will ensure the driver is held to specific safety regulations. You can be sure your driver is JUTA approved if the abbreviation "PP" or "PPV" is displayed on their license plate. Taxis in Jamaica are metered, but drivers will typically negotiate a price, especially if you are interested in using the driver's services as a tour guide.
Learn more about traveling the nation via taxi by reading our Jamaica Taxi Guide.
Buses in Jamaica are a little different than buses in most places. Generally privately owned, this "public" transportation is not very organized and can be a gamble sometimes. Travelers will find that traveling via bus is the most economical means of transportation on the island - if not the most reliable. Buses rarely run on a set schedule, especially in some of the more remote areas of the island, but mini buses that travel through larger cities can typically be flagged as easily as a taxi cab.
More information on utilizing Jamaica's bus system can be found here.
Because Jamaica is one large land mass, rather than a series of small islands like some other Caribbean nations, travel by ferry is not as necessary here - but it can make for a great experience and a fun outing. Popular ferry tours include trips to and from Port Royal and Navy Island.
There are many methods of transportation available in Jamaica. Whether you choose a leisurely bike ride between sites, or the unforgettable experience of flying over Jamaica's landscape on a prop plane, the most important thing is to pick the option that is best for you.
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