Renting a Car in Montego Bay

Rent a car in the gateway to Jamaica: Montego Bay

Photo credit: © Carlos Ruiz Badilla
 

Home to the island's busiest airport, Montego Bay is also home to the most rental car agencies. Located both in and around the airport, plus at other spots around town, you'll be able to find a rental quickly and easily, before heading off on your great Jamaican adventure. A word of caution, however, hazardous road conditions and aggressive local drivers make it difficult for those unfamiliar with the island to get around.

Renting a Car

The list of rental car agencies in Montego Bay is an extensive one, which means tourists will have plenty of choices and see competitive rates.

Check out the following chart that shows the various area vehicle rental agencies.

Vehicle Rental Companies
Name Phone Location
Avis Sangster International Airport (876) 952-0762 Sangster International Airport - Montego Bay
Budget Montego Bay (876) 952-3838 Sangster International Airport - Montego Bay
Classique Car Rentals (876) 632-5874 1 Sunset Boulevard - Montego Bay
EFAY Rent a Car (876) 336-7082 3 Churchill Avenue - Montego Bay
Eastern Car Rental, Ltd. Montego Bay (876) 971-1297 27 Claude Clarke Ave - Montego Bay
Genesis Tours and Car Rentals Limited (876) 971-1154 22 Sunset Boulevard - Montego Bay
Hertz Sangster International (876) 979-0438 Sangster International Airport - Montego Bay
Hertz Sunset Boulevard (876) 952-4250 28 Sunset Boulevard - Montego Bay
Jaykay's Car Rental (876) 792-9837 Sangster International Airport - Montego Bay
Nationwide Car Rental (876) 940-4720 77 Claude Clarke Avenue - Downtown Montego Bay
Prospective Rent-a-Car (876) 952-3524 Sangster International Airport - Montego Bay
Skyline Car Rental & Tours (876) 979-3117 95 Barnett Street - Downtown Montego Bay
Smith's Car Rental (876) 979-3208 32 Queens Drive - Downtown Montego Bay
Sun City Car Rental (876) 952-3207 10 Sunset Boulevard - Downtown Montego Bay
Sun Jam Car Rentals (876) 979-9355 66 Claude Clarke Avenue - Downtown Montego Bay
Sunsational Car Rental & Tours (876) 952-1212 26 Sunset Avenue - Downtown Montego Bay
United Car Rentals (876) 952-3077 49 Gloucester Ave - Downtown Montego Bay

In this long list, you should be able to find an agency that has the exact car and amenities you're searching for. As you learn more about each agency, you'll quickly discover that modern Japanese cars are preferred because they are compact and good on gas mileage, which makes them ideal for navigating the island's narrow and winding roads. If you'll stay in Montego Bay for the duration of your trip, you'll be fine renting this type of car, but if you plan on doing some exploring off the beaten path, a jeep or sports utility vehicle will be your best choice.

Requirements for renting a car in Montego Bay are that you must be at least 23-years-old, and younger than 75-years-old. A valid driver's license is required as well, and you will need a credit card with a high available balance. Reports of $2500(USD) credit card holds are common, so either arrive prepared for this possibility, or call in advance to nail down the exact hold amount.

The Cost of Renting a Car

Rental prices can range anywhere from $35 to $250(USD) a day, with a number of considerations affecting the cost, including size, amenities, vehicle quality, and insurance. When you call to ask for a quote, let the agency know what you're looking for and they can give you a quote that will also include the local Value Added Tax (V.A.T.). If you're looking for a deal, choose smaller, bare minimum vehicles, and try and rent in the summer months when tourism is down. You'll also notice that the longer you rent the car, the less you'll pay per day.

This set of tables provide a rough indication of what rental rates to expect. The lowest rates in each table are usually only available from the least costly agencies during the slow season. The highest rates are what you may be quoted during the high season at one of the busier agencies.

Vehicle Rentals, Daily Rates
Rental Type Low Rate High Rate
Economy Car $ 23.00 $ 80.00
Compact Car $ 25.00 $ 81.00
Mid Size Car $ 28.00 $ 96.00
Full Size Car $ 38.00 $ 125.00
Standard SUV $ 60.00 $ 130.00
Light SUV $ 65.00 $ 125.00
Pickup Truck $ 75.00 $ 130.00
Mini Van $ 80.00 $ 138.00
Full Size Van $ 84.00 $ 135.00
Vehicle Rentals, Weekly Rates
Rental Type Low Rate High Rate
Economy Car $ 138.00 $ 470.00
Compact Car $ 148.00 $ 480.00
Mid Size Car $ 176.00 $ 525.00
Full Size Car $ 230.00 $ 730.00
Light SUV $ 380.00 $ 705.00
Standard SUV $ 380.00 $ 805.00
Mini Van $ 450.00 $ 770.00
Pickup Truck $ 485.00 $ 975.00
Full Size Van $ 505.00 $ 790.00

Once you arrive in Montego Bay to pick up your vehicle, make sure to go over the paperwork and your vehicle with a fine tooth comb. You don't want to be surprised by any unexpected charges, and you don't want to drive around in a vehicle that could break down. Also take note of any damages down to small scratches, because you will be charged for it when you return if the agency was not aware of it when you left.

Driving Around

...Roads here are not in very good condition...

 

The good news about staying in Montego Bay is that you won't have to make a long drive from the airport to your accommodations. If you're going to rent a vehicle, you can pick it up at the airport, or take a ride in a local taxi and have your vehicle brought right to your hotel.

Before you get behind the wheel, there are a few things you need to know about driving in Montego Bay. First, it is done on the left side of the road like in England and much of the rest of Europe. Roads here are not in very good condition. In fact, one of the biggest complaints among tourists is the poor infrastructure, which includes run down roads filled with pot holes, lacking in sidewalks, lighting, street signs, and traffic stops. Add to this the fact that local drivers are known for their aggressive nature, and driving in Montego Bay can be a stressful experience.

If you arrive prepared for these things, you'll have an easier time. Just know that you will likely be tailgated, honked at, and passed on the road, but know that you are better off driving safely and at your own pace. Always wear your seat belt, follow posted speed limits, go clockwise through the roundabouts, and honk your horn as you're going around blind corners. If you follow these tips, you should be fine.

Gas Stations

There is a good mix of gas stations in and around the area. View the chart that follows to gain a better feel for the situation.

Gas Stations
Name Phone Location
Cool Oasis Gas Station -- Montego Bay
Esso Gas Station -- Downtown Montego Bay
Petrol Gas Station -- Montego Bay
Shell Gas Station (876) 979-7269 Howard Cooke Boulevard - Downtown Montego Bay
Total Gas Station (876) 601-5200 Tucker Granville - 2.8 mi. (4.5 km) Southeast of Montego Bay

Driving in Montego Bay can be dangerous and scary, but the local government has plans in the works to make conditions better. In the meantime, keep a level head about you and you may find you enjoy the adventure of driving on foreign soil.

 

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