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Independent Travelling in Jamaica

Hobart, Australia
7 posts
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Independent Travelling in Jamaica

Can anyone give up-to-date advice about car rental and "drive your own" holidays in Jamaica?

Couple (mid 40's) from Australia planning a trip to Caribbean next year and would love to visit Jamaica, but definitely not to "all-inclusive" resorts. Prefer exploring the island and 2-3 night stays in various places, particularly Port Antonio/Portland Parish.

Want to know whether this type of independent holiday is possible, most recent road conditions and if the country in general is safe to do so? (Just to put into perspective, past travels have included places like Israel, Samoa and Timor Leste - but would like a relaxed holiday with only a little bit of adventure this time around!)

United States
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11,378 posts
115 reviews
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1. Re: Independent Travelling in Jamaica

"Can anyone give up-to-date advice about car rental"

If you have never been to Jamaica before, renting a car in Jamaica cannot be recommended. For a few reasons not to rent a car see the following

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147309-c2512/Jamaica…

Your hotel(s) in Jamaica can arrange for a qualified Jamaican driver with a car to take you anywhere on the island you would like to go to. The main roads in Jamaica between Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril are in most cases fine and meet all international standards. Other roads on the island are more or less the same as found in East Timor.

There are all types of hotels with prices that range from $A50 to $A1000 per night. Many hotels are all inclusive but all types of lodging can be found in most areas of the island.

Central Ohio
Destination Expert
for Negril, Port Antonio
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12,916 posts
74 reviews
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2. Re: Independent Travelling in Jamaica

Re: driving, you may or may not enjoy it, I have a blog with my thoughts on driving myself around with some photos and video if you care to read it: travelsinjamaica.com/p/renting-car-in-jamaic…

Vinnie is right about the roads but add Port Antonio - the road from Montego Bay to Porty is great now.

Hobart, Australia
7 posts
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3. Re: Independent Travelling in Jamaica

Thanks for reply - very good to know. So, if we have arrived in each destination safely with a hotel driver, are we then free to explore various parts or do we need to take organised day tours? Am concerned about hecklers etc. Have been reading a lot, but much information is 3 - 4 years old and am wondering if situation socially is improved/different? Do not want to feel confined to a resort for safety reasons.

Hobart, Australia
7 posts
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4. Re: Independent Travelling in Jamaica

Thanks for your blog link - excellent information. In fact, not so amazingly the videos reminded so much of driving (road conditions and scenery) in Samoa (lived there for two years) and Timor. That was until you got to New Kingston - not so much traffic in these other two islands. And you have been to Jamaica 20 times or so and were driving solo after that....that's something for us to think about. Not sure where to look for a solution?? Any ideas?

United States
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11,378 posts
115 reviews
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5. Re: Independent Travelling in Jamaica

"are we then free to explore various parts or do we need to take organised day tours?"

You can do it either way. All hotels sell organized tours. You can also walk out to the road and find a taxi. If you stay in an urban area then walking is an option if you want to visit a sight close to the hotel. Keep in mind that in most towns there are few sidewalks and lights along streets are rare so walking anywhere after dark is not a good idea in most towns (take a taxi after dark).

"Am concerned about hecklers"

I have never seen one in Jamaica.

Might you be asking about a 'higgler' which is a street trader? If this is the case then yes you will find many of them in all parts of Jamaica. They will be found in almost all towns of any size and on almost all beaches.

Hanau, Germany
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6. Re: Independent Travelling in Jamaica

tripadvisor.com/… here you can read my trip report, was our first time in Jamaica, so yes a trip like you like is possible.

Kingston can be confusing, so I don't recommend starting there, but as soon as you have the hang of driving it's manageable.

7. Re: Independent Travelling in Jamaica

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8. Re: Independent Travelling in Jamaica

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