Although popular amongst tourists, Treasure Beach is not the hopping tourism driven center that you'll find in Montego Bay or Kingston. Instead, it is a series of quiet fishing villages that offer a more naturally Jamaican experience. As such, the development of the roads is even less so than the busier areas of the island, and where taxis are recommended as your main source of transportation anywhere in Jamaica, this is especially true of Treasure Beach.
To get to Treasure Beach, you'll first have to hire a charter taxi to meet you at an airport. Charter taxis are just a fancy name for the taxi service you are probably used to experiencing back home. These taxis are private and charge one rate for everyone in the vehicle to get to the final destination, stopping wherever you need to go, and not picking up anyone else along the way. This is the best way to get from city to city, but you can also hire them to get you around Treasure Beach.
The other type of taxi you'll experience in Treasure Beach is called the Route Taxi. These are public taxis that try and carry as many passengers as they can from place to place, without regard to whether or not they know each other. Route taxis generally run on a set route, though their schedule is lax, picking up people along the way. Prices are paid per person rather than per trip.
You can tell the difference between the two by the color of the license plate. Charter taxis have red plates, while the plates on route taxis are white. You'll also be able to tell taxis apart from private vehicles because they will have the letters “PP” or “PPV” on the plates. It is important to know so that you don't accidentally accept a ride from an unlicensed driver who is operating illegally.
If you're out and about in Treasure Beach, you'll probably see a route taxi or two. If you need a ride, you can flag them down with a wave of your hand and they'll stop to pick you up. If you don't notice any taxis around and don't feel like waiting, find a phone and give a local taxi company. You can also call in advance to set up pick up times. This is an especially good idea if you need an airport transfer.
Nearly every taxi company on the list above is JUTA certified and offers tours of Treasure Beach and other areas of Jamaica. Ask your driver if he gives tours. Likely, he'll share with you a list of prearranges tour routes and how much they cost. You can arrange for a tour at a later time, or you can discuss with him your ideas and he may be willing to create a special tour package just for you. This way may seem expensive at first, but it will end up being cheaper than hiring a new taxi every time you need to make a stop and go on to the next site you want to see.
All of the taxis in Treasure Beach have set rates, so you will be able to discuss the fare price with your driver in advance and know exactly how much it will cost to get you where you need to go. Route taxis have their prices set by the government and payment is accepted in Jamaican Dollars, while charter taxis set their own rates and are more willing to take U.S. Dollars.
Your driver probably depends on tips to make his living. While tips are not required it is a great way to show your appreciation for his service. Aim for between $5 and $10(USD) for local transfers, and between 15 and 20 percent for longer rides.
You may not expect such a quite area of the island to rely so heavily on taxis, but in fact it is highly recommended that tourists use taxis to get around here rather than to rent a car. From there it is your choice whether you'll wait around for route taxis or hire a charter.
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