About an hour and a half away from the airport in Montego Bay, many tourists choose to rent a car and make the journey themselves rather than hire a driver or fly a small hopper plane into the local airport. While driving in Jamaica is not recommended for first timers, the road to Negril has recently seen enough improvement that those with the gumption to get up and go won't have such a struggle getting to town.
If you're hoping to rent a car for your vacation in Negril, arrive prepared. You will need to be at least 23-years-old, but less than 75, have been in possession of a driver's license from your home country for at least one year, and have a credit card with a high available balance. In some cases, rental agencies will take a deposit of up to $2500(USD), which can put a damper on your trip if you aren't prepared with this amount. Not to worry, you'll get the money back in full – assuming there are no damages to the vehicle when you return.
In most places, you'll want to have a vehicle that is high off the ground and with four wheel drive, like a jeep or sports utility vehicle, but if you're sticking to the highways and main thoroughfares in Negril, you'll be able to get by with pretty much any type of car you want. As you compare rental car agencies you'll probably notice that small Japanese cars are favored. This is because they make it easier to navigate the narrow island roads, and typically have excellent gas mileage, which is essential on an island where gas prices fall somewhere in between the United States and the United Kingdom.
The chart below lists the rental agencies located in and around Negril.
|Happy World Car & Bike Rental||(876) 957-4004||Norman Manley Boulevard - 2.1 mi. (3.5 km) North-Northeast of Negril|
|Island Cruiser Rentals||(876) 422-2831||Norman Manley Blvd - 0.9 mi. (1.5 km) North-Northeast of Negril|
|Prento's Bike & Car Rental||(876) 957-9722||1.0 mi. (1.6 km) North-Northeast of Negril|
|Vernon's Car Rental||(876) 957-4354||1.6 mi. (2.6 km) North-Northeast of Negril|
...absolutely essential that you go over your contract ...
When you finally arrive to pick up your vehicle it is absolutely essential that you go over your contract and check the vehicle from top to bottom for any scratches, damages, mechanical issues, and messes. You might just learn that you are responsible for any repairs while the car is in your possession, or that you'll be charged a full days rate if you turn in the car just one hour late. Additionally, if you leave the premises with a ding in the bumper and don't let the company know it is there, you will be responsible for it when you return. There goes that hefty deposit you paid up front!
If you do opt for the smaller vehicle with no extra amenities, you may be looking at spending just $35(UDS) a day or less depending upon how long you have the rental for. Larger vehicles cost more, and additional amenities, taxes, insurance, and fees may end up bring your total to closer to $250(USD) a day. Prices are cheaper in the summer when tourism is at its low point of the year, and you'll see that the longer you rent your vehicle for, the cheaper the daily rate will be. To nail down an exact price, call around and ask if there are going to be any specials during your stay.
The following tables offer an indication of the local rental market. The lowest rates shown are only available from the lowest cost firms when plenty of cars are on hand. The highest rates are what you should anticipate during the high season at one of the busier agencies.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Mid Size Car||$ 32.00||$ 52.00|
|Light SUV||$ 50.00||$ 75.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 60.00||$ 75.00|
|Full Size Van||$ 75.00||$ 115.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 100.00||$ 115.00|
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Mid Size Car||$ 195.00||$ 335.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 310.00||$ 445.00|
|Light SUV||$ 320.00||$ 445.00|
|Full Size Van||$ 445.00||$ 695.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 595.00||$ 695.00|
Very recent upgrades to the A1, also known as the “Road to Negril,” has made driving a rental car from the airport in Montego Bay a much more pleasant and less dangerous experience. Where once there was a rugged highway riddled with potholes and lacking in any road signs and traffic lights, now is a smoothly paved road with both signs and stops. Driving can still be a challenge, however. As the government works to improve the roads, you'll still find that most of the main A-level highways remain in poor condition, and the B-level roads which connect the rural areas of the island are narrow, winding, and hazardous to those who haven't been driving in Jamaica very long.
The largest hindrance to new drivers, outside of the fact that driving is done on the left side of the road like in much of Europe, is the aggressive nature of local drivers. Jamaica is known for having some of the craziest drivers around, and it isn't just a rumor. Expect to experience tailgating, passing, and a lot of speeding.
As you drive to and around Negril, always be vigilant. Be on the lookout for those pot holes, but more importantly for pedestrians and livestock. Limited sidewalks see people walking in the streets, and animals are allowed to roam free, which can cause traffic jams. Know the speed limits are usually between 30 and 50 miles per hour, seat belts must be worn at all times, and that you should always honk as you go around blind corners to warn other drivers that you are there.
happens to be the one gas station that we have we have information on. Visit this location on Sheffield Road just outside the heart of Negril.
If it is you first time driving in Jamaica, the Road to Negril is a great way to get used to local conditions. Make sure to take your time, understand local laws, and put safety above all else.
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