If you are a traveller, Jamaica is not a familiar destination at all. In fact, this African country is one of the most wonderful places to be as tourists. Not only does it have a beautiful landscape, it is also a unique country.
However, it is not a walk in the park when traveling in Jamaica, especially for tourists who have never been to the island before. In this article, we will give you the best guideline on how to get around in Jamaica as tourists.
Tips for Driving in Jamaica
Rules of the Road
The first thing you need to know when getting around in Jamaica is to know the rules of the road. Even though the rules of Jamaica’s road might seem non-existent, there are different ways of driving. One of them is that you need to avoid the potholes as well as obstacles instead of trying to stay in your lane. Another rule is that the biggest car wins.
To be more specific, you always need to let them have their way on the road when in doubt. Last but not least, even though the traffic might look chaotic and reckless, most Jamaican drivers know what they are doing.
Honking the Horn
Normally, we only honk when something is about to happen. Maybe the honk means you are angry or you are about to get hit. However, in Jamaica, honking the horn is the tool to communicate. Since there are various unexpected obstacles on the road, you need to learn how to honk to speak by your vehicle. This helps the other drivers and pedestrians to know where you are.
It also makes people not make a sudden move on the road. Car owners should also honk the horn while making a sharp turn, especially when your visibility is limited. According to Jamaicars.com, you can politely say hello and goodbye to other people on the road by horning.
Driving on the Left Side
One of the most crucial things to know when you want to drive in Jamaica is that this is a left side country. People in Jamaica are driving on the left side of the road. So if you have never driven on the left side, it might be the best to not be overconfident.
Things are very different when you change the line of the road, especially when you make turns or turning onto a road. And if you still want to drive, our tip is to stay to the left.
Check the Conditions of the Road
Last but certainly not least, we need to check the condition of the road before driving off. At the moment this article is written, Highway 2000 as well as North Coast Highway are the best paved roads that you can find on the way to Kingston, Jamaica.
Other than that, there are many roads that need to be repaired. Not only do they have various pot holes, they might also not be paved.
- Driving in Jamaica: What You Need to Know
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Public Transportation in Jamaica
If you are not a big fan of driving by yourself, then maybe public transportation is the answer. In Jamaica, you can find the main bus park as well as taxi in every major town.
With smaller places, tourists might need to spend some time and effort to find that. The reason for this is that there will be unofficial spots that only locals know. So the first tip is to seek out a local.
Tips when Using Public Transit in Jamaica
Carry Small Change
All tourists should carry changes, as well as acknowledge the fare for your destination when you are in a cab. You don’t want to get overcharged as a foreigner. A good tip is to ask someone before you travel or before getting in the car. Usually, taxi drivers cannot break big bills. Some of them might use that as an excuse to collect more money than they should. So avoid that.
If you need a place to have changes, come to gas stations and shops for $ 500J’s or $1000J’s.
Use Registered Cars
In order to be safe, only go on registered cars. You want to see a driver with a blue collared shirt, an official form of identification displayed inside the automobile. Also, there will be a red license plate as well.
If you are staying in the hotel, you can ask the receptionist to arrange cars for you. They are usually registered cars approved by Jamaica Union of Travelers Association (also known as JUTA)
Last but not least, we need to stay safe. Crime happens everywhere, everytime in every country, even in Jamaica. For that reason, you need to have precautions to decrease your chance of becoming a target for robbery. The first thing is to avoid using public transportation after dark if it is possible. The second tip is to not carry valuables while traveling.
It is better to keep them in a small bag that you can hold on your lap, or store them in the hotel safe. The third thing you need to know is to avoid isolated situations. Last thing is to stay alert about your surroundings at all times, as well as walking with a purpose.