Car hire in Jamaica
Hiring a car in Jamacia
Jamaica is one of the Caribbean's most famous islands and has developed into a popular honeymoon and beach destination.
However, it is also developing a reputation for action-packed holidays, with lots of opportunities to enjoy some rafting, hiking and underwater adventures.
The local food is also a major draw, with dishes successfully merging creole with more traditional Caribbean flavours - it really is foodie heaven.
The main resort and Jamaica’s most famous city is Kingston and the capital is the base for most of the island’s major attractions.
However, some prefer to head to the breathtaking beaches of Montego Bay or spend some time discovering the nightlife of Negril.
What you need to know
Despite its relatively small size, there are a number of options for car hire in Jamaica, with the main airport in Kingston (KIN) providing a base to a number of suppliers.
However, there is also the Sangster International Airport (MBJ) and the Ian Fleming Airport (OCJ), which serve various key flight routes and therefore also allow holidaymakers to pick-up/drop-off a hire vehicle.
To save extra hassle and expense on arrival in Jamaica it makes sense to use our booking engine to find the best price and pre-book your car hire needs before heading off to the Caribbean.
Where to pick up your car
If you have booked a car at Kingston International Airport (KIN) than the car rental desks can be found in the arrivals ground transportation hall, just outside the customs area.
For those arriving at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport (MBJ), they will find plenty of car rental companies located in the ground transportation and arrivals hall.
The other key international airport in Jamaica is the Ian Fleming International Airport (OCJ), which was previously named the Boscobel Aerodrome, but was given a new title in honour of the author of the James Bond novels, which have helped to raise the country’s profile. Again, there are a number of car hire companies based at this transport hub.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Jamaica is popular with travellers looking to spend their vacation relaxing on the beach and there are plenty of sandy shores to choose from.
One of the country’s most stunning beaches is Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay. It is in a sheltered location and offers sedate waves compared to the popular surfing beaches elsewhere. There is also a ban in place on footballs and radios, making it a relaxing place to spend a day. Doctor’s Cave Beach also benefits from being near a number of larger resorts, so there are plenty of facilities close to hand, including restaurants, bars and shops.
On the east of the island, Boston Bay Beach is the place to head to if you enjoying surfing. The cove’s large waves are perfect for anyone who is an experienced surfer, but there are also a number of watersports schools that offer lessons for those who are new to the sport.
Driving in Jamaica
Hiring a car in Jamaica is essential as the country’s public transport is renowned for being unreliable and non-existent in some areas. Once you have picked up your rental documentation you are free to explore all the island has to offer.
Remember Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road - the same as in the UK - making it an easy transition for British holidaymakers.
The island has two speed limits - 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas and 80 km/h (50 mph) outside of towns.
As a break from the stunning beaches, consider heading inwards towards the famous Jamaican Blue Mountains. Jamaica’s highest mountain range is popular with hikers who enjoy walking in the rather unusual blue mist that surrounds the summit.
For a more sedate day, then take a drive to the Clifton Mount Estate House Coffee Farm. One of the oldest coffee estates in the country, it is offers a chance to find out more about the role the drink has played in Jamaica’s history and economy.
Jamaica is the third largest island of the Caribbean - measuring 235 km (146 miles) long and around 35km (22 miles) in width - so hiring a car definitely makes it easier to ensure you see all the island has on offer.
One of the most popular museums on the island is the Bob Marley Museum, which celebrates the life and work of the famous singer.
Based at Marley’s 18th century house at 56 Hope Road, the attraction has many items related to the iconic Jamaican resident and it is possible to take a guided tour around his home. There is also a gift shop at the museum, which could be a great place to buy some souvenirs for family and friends back home.
Top attractions in Jamaica
There are plenty of villages and beaches to visit across the whole of Jamaica, but there are some areas that are essential if you want to get a real feel for the island’s culture and atmosphere.
Kingston is the capital of Jamaica and is the largest city on the island.
One of the highlights of any stay is to take some time out to visit the National Gallery of Jamaica. Opened in 1974, the gallery is home to many important pieces that chart the development of Jamaica’s art heritage.
Visitors can enjoy art dating back to the Taino, as well as modern works from Jamaica’s current art scene. There are numerous exhibitions, as well as guided tours available, plus a gift shop that sells a wide collection of locally-produced art and crafts .
Given the favourable weather Jamaica often enjoys, you may prefer to spend some time at Hope Gardens. This land at the base of the Blue Mountains has been developed into quite the attraction and covers some 200 acres. The gardens contain many rare and beautiful species of various tropical plants and trees, including the national tree of Jamaica - Hibiscus elatus (blue mahoe).
Montego Bay is one of Jamaica’s most popular destinations, with several beaches that offer the perfect location to unwind. The city is served by the Donald Sangster International Airport (MBJ) which can be found on the edge of the city.
Fans of James Bond will also recognise Montego Bay as the setting for a number of scenes from the 1973 movie Live and Let Die, featuring Roger Moore as the 007 spy.
The city is also famous for its duty free shopping area in the city and is a good place to pick up some souvenirs to take home.
Negril is around an hour and fifteen minute drive from Sir Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and offers a great nightlife.
Despite only having a relatively small population, Negril has a large number of bars and restaurants, as well being the location for one of the world’s top beaches. Around four miles in length, Negril Beach offers glorious white sand and crystal clear waters.