You may be wondering what Jamaica transportation is like. Well, you need not worry. Here are some tips and tricks about how to navigate your way around Jamaica.
As soon as your flight lands and you clear customs and immigration, you will be able to get to your resort or hotel or villa in a hassle free manner. Many all-inclusive resorts include transfers to and from the airport in the travel package.
You may also make your own arrangements by renting a car or by booking an airport transfer with JUTA Tours or Tour Jamaica. Both companies are in the business of getting you around Jamaica safely... and both offer airport transfers.
Once you get settled in at your accommodation, you may be ready to explore the island. You have the choice of a Jamaica car rental, taking a taxi or bus, or catching a domestic flight.
Getting around Jamaica in a car can be quite a lot of fun. But... it's not for the faint of heart. The roads can be narrow and winding... and driving is done on the left hand side of the road. If you're from a former British colony you'll be used to this system but it can take a bit of getting used to if you usually drive on the right hand side. Drivers can be, let's say "not cautious" and road fatalities are very high in Jamaica. However, if you're intent on driving a car in Jamaica, get a good Jamaica road map and enjoy the freedom of exploring Jamaica on your own terms.
There are 3 different types of taxis providing internal transportation in Jamaica and it's good to know which is which.
Approved taxis have red licence plates and display "PP" or "PPV" which stands for Public Passenger Vehicle. You have the option of chartering a taxi or taking a "route taxi" which is a shared taxi... (sort of like a cross between a bus and a taxi). The unlicenced taxis (which you should avoid) have white licence plates (the same as private motor cars) and are called "robot taxis".
Although the route taxis may get crowded (4 people in the back), the passengers are generally quite friendly (as long as you're not all being squished!)... and you'll get to experience another side of Jamaica transportation. Trips by taxis are generally short-distance so if you're going across the island, you'd probably be better off taking a bus. (The fare on a route taxi is generally similar to the fare charged by the public passenger bus.)
Taking a local bus can be quite an experience. Firstly, at the bus depot you will know where every bus or route taxi is going... courtesy of the "loader men". These are men who make a living by seeking out passengers for the buses and route taxis. As a result you'll constantly hear them calling out the destinations of the different modes of transportation at the depot.
Local buses usually have music playing - although it's against the law - and both buses and taxis can get crowded. Buses generally tend to have tinted windows and names (not of the destinations) written across the top of the windshield. When you get to your stop, get the driver's attention (like most locals do) by saying "One Stop Driver" or "Bus Stop" in the case of a built-up area with bus stops... and that's it.
If you're not boarding the bus or route taxi at the terminus, just stand safely by the side of the road and wave down buses and taxis. They'll pull right over.
In Kingston, Montego Bay and Spanish Town you'll be able to board buses run by the government. These are called "white buses" because of their colour. They only stop at designated stops, have no music and issue tickets.
Whichever airport in Jamaica you arrive at, you'll be able to get a domestic flight to your final destination. From Kingston and Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, you'll be able to get a flight to the minor airports in Port Antonio and Negril.
There are only a few domestic airlines that offer this service so you may need to make an advance booking.