Road To Negril

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One of the most frequent questions visitors to Negril have is how to get there once arriving at Montego Bay’s International airport (MBJ). It is not that there are few options, there are many. Which one is best depends on you. I’ve got some options listed here for you to consider along with links to the web sites for more information.

Flights to Negril – Yes, Negril has an airport. But there is no regular service except by charter. Costs are typically under $100 (US) per person with limited baggage allowed. The planes are single engine and can only carry a couple people at once. There is a check in area in the International Terminal as you exit customs after claiming your luggage. A person near the door can direct you to the desk in the large, often crowded, room which also serves as a check in area for other transportation options. Once checked in you walk to the domestic terminal and catch a scenic low altitude flight to Negril (a 15 minute ride).
Charter flight web site

Take a bus – Bus service to Negril is by charter. You can prearrange the transport or find one in the reception room at the international terminal just outside of customs. The bus option is not the lowest cost (see route taxi below) but it is the safest and very reasonable. The typical cost is $20 to $40 per person. Your resort may offer complimentary bus service so check with them before departing.

JUTA (Jamaica Union of Travelers Association) offers bus service to hotels in the area. You can reserve a place before arriving by going to the web site. JUTA drivers are some of the best in Jamaica, fully insured, and well educated in Jamaica history and stories. You can arrange for a variety of transport ranging from private cars to large group busses. Something to know regarding the bus option: You will most likely be stopping at multiple resorts along the way to drop off other passengers. You will also have to wait until the bus is full or there are no more people exiting from customs. For those that are impatient to begin their vacation a private transfer is the way to go.

Private Transfer – As you come through customs and exit the building an array of drivers will be waiting. Some will have signs with names on them for private transfers. If your name is there, just load up the luggage and off you go. There are some real advantages to the private transfer option. You leave for Negril as soon as you clear customs and get your bags loaded. You can stop along the way to get something to eat or do some quick grocery shopping. Plus it really is a luxurious feeling to know that you have a ride as soon as you get there. And when you visit regularly your driver knows to have some cold water, Ting, or Red Stripe chilling for you. That first hit of Jamaican sunshine as you exit the building after flying in from the cold north is beckons for some liquid refreshment. In a way, you feel your vacation has begun immediately as you cruise along the scenic road stopping where you want to stop and seeing what you want to see.

Taxi services - The “Red Tag” license plate seen on Jamaican cars signifies that it is a licensed taxi. You won’t find yellow tags and signs, just the red tags. For most new visitors to Jamaica it is strongly recommended that you only accept rides in vehicles that have a red license tag. A red license means that the vehicle is inspected for public transportation and is considered safe. Other vehicles without red tags will offer to give you a ride. Cars without a red tag are not licensed by the Jamaican Transport Authority and if you use them, it is at your own risk. The Jamaican Transport Authority web iste: http://ta.org.jm/index.htm

Route Taxis – for the local or truly adventurous that wants to get to Negril the cheapest way possible, use Route Taxis. A route taxi is the general public transportation used by Jamaicans. They are very inexpensive and all you need to do is find a taxi with some room left and off you go with frequent stops for drop offs along the road and to pick up new passengers. Route taxis service standard routes and you may need to use several different taxis to get to your destination. The cost is minimal, the time is very variable, and it is an adventure.

Jamaica Flag

A few more items you should know about transportation on the island of Jamaica. Petrol (gas) is expensive. You will see the price listed per liter at gas stations. Gas is full service, you pay the attendant first and they put in the gas. All prices will be in Jamaican dollars (about 80 J$ to 1 US$). Tip your driver. He is only making a small percentage of the actual money you paid for the drive. A few dollars goes a long way in Jamaica and they will appreciate the tip greatly.

Your driver is educated on the culture and history of Jamaica. Don’t be afraid to ask a question or two. Jamaica has a lot of interesting history and you are riding on a part of it. If you are hungry, consider stopping at one of the fruit stands for some very fresh coconut, papaya, and more.

Drinking and smoking on your ride to Negril will be by consensus of the bus and driver.

Generally there is no smoking (private transfers are recommended if that is important) however passengers are welcome to get their vacation started right away. And that can be very interesting when loaded into a bus with passengers destined for Hedonism II who buy a case of beer just for the ninety minute ride – ‘nuff said.

The roads are in generally good condition between Montego Bay and Negril. Except for the occasional pothole, crowded town center, or bridge abutment bump the ride will be mostly smooth and last about 90 minutes. Your driver will most likely offer to stop along the way for you to buy some beer or take a potty break. The stops are often chosen because they are friends with the proprietor or server. This is the norm in Jamaica, friends and connections are important. Just smile, buy something to drink and chill.

Jamaica Flag You are on the best of all islands, relax mon, no problem, ride good. Jamaica Flag