Renting a Car in Ocho Rios

Buckle up for your drive around Ocho Rios in a rental

Photo credit: © Doru VB

If it's your first time visiting Ocho Rios, take heed and hire a driver to take you where you need to go. If you are familiar with the road conditions and feel up to a challenge, you may plan to rent a vehicle when you arrive at the airport and drive to Ocho Rios, or hire a ride and pick one up when you get there.

Renting a Car

What you'll discover as you compare rental car agencies in Ocho Rios is that the most popular vehicle available is a modern Japanese sedan. These compact vehicles are great for navigating the narrow roads on the island, but not so great for exploring off the beaten path. If you plan to drive in rural areas, you will be wise to rent a jeep or sports utility vehicle instead.

Check the following table if you want more information.

Vehicle Rental Companies
Name Phone Location
ABE Motor Car Rentals & Sales (876) 974-1008 73 Main Street - Ocho Rios
Caribbean Car Rentals Ocho Rios (877) 801-6797 Ocho Rios
Sunshine Car Rentals (876) 974-2980 154 Main Street - Ocho Rios

Be aware of local rental and driving requirements. If you are under 23 or over 75, you probably won't be able to rent a car, and you will definitely need a driver's license from your country of origin. The last thing you'll need to rent a car is a credit card with a high available balance so that the agency can place a hold for your security deposit.

The Cost of Renting a Car

The cost to rent a car in Ocho Rios can range from the very small fee of $35 a day up to around $250(USD) a day. What you pay will depend entirely on what you ask for. A compact vehicle with the bare essentials and the minimal amount of insurance will always cost less, but a van with extras like a DVD player or navigation system and the top tier of insurance is going to end up costing you the most. For some, the comfort and assurance is worth the price, while others are willing to take a little risk to save the extra cash. When you pick up your rental, make sure to go over the contract to make sure there are no added fees or rules you are unaware of, and check the vehicle to make sure the company knows of every little nick and scratch. You do not want to be responsible for them later on, and you for sure will be if you don't say something. Rental agencies in Jamaica expect hefty deposits, and will not hesitate to take a cut of the deposit if anything is even remotely wrong with the vehicle.

These tables offer a general feel for what sort of rate you will pay. The lowest rates shown are typically only available from the least costly agencies during the slowest times of the year. The highest rates are what you can expect during the peak season.

Vehicle Rentals, Daily Rates
Rental Type Low Rate High Rate
Economy Car $ 32.00 $ 45.00
Mid Size Car $ 52.00 $ 75.00
Light SUV $ 66.00 $ 115.00
Full Size Van $ 75.00 $ 115.00
Vehicle Rentals, Weekly Rates
Rental Type Low Rate High Rate
Economy Car $ 195.00 $ 258.00
Mid Size Car $ 310.00 $ 445.00
Light SUV $ 395.00 $ 695.00
Full Size Van $ 445.00 $ 695.00

Driving Around

Good news for tourists: the road to Ocho Rios has been improved recently, and is not the potholed, winding road it once way. Smooth pavement and gentler turns along the coast make this one of the better roads to traverse in Jamaica. That doesn't mean that tourists driving to, in, and around Ocho Rios should let down their guard.

...some of the craziest drivers...


Jamaican drivers are known to be some of the craziest drivers around. Though speed limits on the highway are about 50 miles per hour, and only 30 miles per hour in rural areas, locals can never seem to get where they need to go fast enough and are always in a hurry. Expect to be passed constantly, or tailgated when that isn't an option.

There are two main road systems on Jamaica. There are four main highways known as the A-system, and 15 lesser roads known as the B-system. The A-system connects all of the islands larger cities, like A3 which runs from Kingston to Ocho Rios, and are in the process of being upgraded. There are still a lot of places along the A Roads with pot holes, limited road sign, and no traffic lights, so drive with caution. The B Roads connect the rural towns, and have not been as well maintained. Potholes are a given.

Do know that driving is done on the left side of the road like in England, there are few sidewalks, and livestock tends to roam free. Seat belts are a must at all times.

Gas Stations

While you should have no issues coming across gas stations, you still may want to check out the listing right below to get an idea where some are located.

Gas Stations
Name Phone Location
Bo-Mc Ltd Shell Service Station (876) 974-5340 Dacosta Drive - Ocho Rios
Chung Pat Texaco Service Station (876) 974-2368 26 Main Street - Ocho Rios
Greg Chung Texaco (876) 795-4088 White River - Ocho Rios
Petcom Service Station (876) 974-9357 Coconut Grove - Ocho Rios
Shell Gas Sation Ocho Rios (876) 974-7874 Ocho Rios

As roads in Ocho Rios continue to improve, one can only hope that the driving style in Jamaica does as well. Until then, many people enjoy the adventure of swerving in and out of traffic on their way to Ocho Rios, while others will quickly learn to appreciate driving back home.


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