In Jamaica, it seems that all roads lead to Kingston. If you're going to rent a car for your Jamaican vacation so that you have the ability to get out and explore all that the island has to offer, Kingston serves as a great home base for you to do so. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that the roads in the island's capital are in good condition and tourists should always proceed with caution on island roads.
If you're going to rent a car in Jamaica, Kingston is a good place to do it. Aside from Montego Bay, this town has one of the highest concentrations of rental car agencies around. This affords you the ability to compare agencies so that you can find the best vehicle and the best deal for your trip.
View the table below which lists the many area rental agencies.
|Apex Car Rental||(876) 382-8292||20 Holborn Road - Kingston|
|Avis Kingston Central||(876) 906-2847||Knutsford Boulevard - Downtown Kingston|
|Avis Kingston Uptown||(876) 926-8021||1 Merrick Avenue - Kingston|
|Avis Norman Manley||(876) 924-8293||Norman Manley International Airport - 5.4 mi. (8.7 km) South of Kingston|
|Budget Kingston Airport||(876) 924-8762||Norman Manley International Airport - 5.4 mi. (8.7 km) South of Kingston|
|Budget Main Office||(876) 759-1793||53 South Camp Road - 2.4 mi. (3.9 km) South-Southeast of Kingston|
|Caribbean Car Rentals Kingston||(877) 801-6767||Kingston|
|Fiesta Car Rentals||(876) 926-0133||14 Waterloo Road - Kingston|
|Garmack Car Rentals||(876) 920-1119||1 D Norwood Avenue - 0.9 mi. (1.5 km) Southeast of Kingston|
|Hertz Norman Manley||(876) 924-8028||Norman Manley International Airport - 5.4 mi. (8.7 km) South of Kingston|
|Island Car Rentals||(876) 924-8075||Norman Manley International Airport - 5.4 mi. (8.7 km) South of Kingston|
|Metro Car Rentals, Ltd.||(876) 978-5468||47F Old Hope Road - 2.8 mi. (4.5 km) East of Kingston|
...make sure to read through your rental agreement thoroughly...
With some good options, if you're hoping to rent a specific type of car for your trip, you may just be able to find it, however, agencies here tend to favor modern Japanese cars because they are compact enough to navigate the islands narrow roads. If you're going to do a lot of exploring in rural areas, you would be wise to ask for a car with four wheel drive so that you don't end up stuck in the mud somewhere with no assistance to help get you free.
In order to rent a vehicle on the island, you must be between the ages of 23 and 75-years-old, have a valid driver's license from your country of origin, and a credit card with a high available balance. Always make sure to read through your rental agreement thoroughly and to check over the vehicle you are issued with a fine tooth comb. Local agencies will not hesitate to charge you for damages done to the vehicle before you got it if the issue is not brought to their attention in advance.
Rental prices range from $25 to $250(USD) a day, a large range, but what you pay depends upon the type of vehicle you want, the added amenities, and the type of insurance you choose – and insurance is a legal requirement on this island. If you're looking for a good deal, steer clear of airport rental agencies, and try and visit in the summer when tourism is low and prices go down. Smaller vehicles with no added features will also cost less, and the longer you are in possession of the vehicle, the lower the daily rate will be.
Individual companies sometimes charge different rates so it can be worth your while to get multiple quotes. The lowest rates displayed are typically only available from the lowest cost firms during the slowest times of the year. The highest rates are what you might need to pay during the busiest time of year.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 35.00||$ 70.00|
|Compact Car||$ 36.00||$ 77.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 39.00||$ 89.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 52.00||$ 143.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 61.00||$ 130.00|
|Heavy SUV||$ 64.00||$ 120.00|
|Pickup Truck||$ 76.00||$ 130.00|
|Mini Van||$ 80.00||$ 132.00|
|Full Size Van||$ 85.00||$ 135.00|
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 215.00||$ 455.00|
|Compact Car||$ 216.00||$ 461.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 235.00||$ 525.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 315.00||$ 727.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 385.00||$ 805.00|
|Heavy SUV||$ 385.00||$ 805.00|
|Full Size Van||$ 435.00||$ 790.00|
|Mini Van||$ 480.00||$ 770.00|
|Pickup Truck||$ 485.00||$ 975.00|
Most tourists staying in Kingston will fly into the Norman Manley International Airport, which is located about 30 minutes outside of the city center, pick up their rental at or near the airport, then make the drive into town. To get into town, take the Norman Manley Highway (A4) west until you see signs for Kingston, then take any road going north into town. This will be your first experience driving on Jamaican roads, and there is plenty to learn about the subject.
To start, driving conditions on the island can be stressful. Locals, who are known for their laid back vibe, are anything but when they get behind the wheel. Instead, they are speed demons who tailgate, pass slow moving cars, and rarely signal direction and lane changes. Speed limits on highways like A4, and any other road labeled as an “A” will typically be 50 miles per hour, but you will certainly be passed if you go that speed. A roads are a series of highways that connect Jamaica's largest cities. There are four of them, and three of them connect with Kingston at some point along the road. Another set of roads the “B” roads, of which there are 15, run through the rural parts of the island and have speed limits of around 30 miles per hour.
No matter which set of roads you're driving on, you'll notice that they are not kept in very good condition at all. Pot holes are common, road signs are sparse, and traffic signals are almost non-existent. B roads are typically even worse off, and are very narrow. To top it all off, driving is done on the left side of the road, so tourists from the United States will definitely have some learning to do.
While you should have minimal problems locating gas stations, you should still see the chart that follows for an orientation of where some of them can be found.
|--||1.8 mi. (2.9 km) North of Kingston|
|(876) 942-2979||Long Lane - Stony Hill|
|--||2.0 mi. (3.3 km) West-Southwest of Kingston|
|--||1.7 mi. (2.7 km) North-Northwest of Kingston|
|--||0.7 mi. (1.1 km) East-Southeast of Kingston|
|--||1.1 mi. (1.7 km) South-Southeast of Kingston|
On a final note, there is a lot to explore in Jamaica, and you can spend quite a lot of time driving from place to place. Check the chart below for typical commute times from Kingston.
|City||Distance||Estimated Drving Time|
|Mandeville||61 miles||90 minutes|
|Ocho Rios||60 miles||90 minutes|
|Port Antonio||68 miles||100 minutes|
First time tourists are warned not to drive in Kingston, but it can be done for those who have the determination to do so. Make sure to drive with no distractions and be prepared for the hazardous conditions and you should make it around just fine.
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