Should I rent a car in Jamaica?
Should I rent a car in Jamaica? The Pros & Cons || Answered Bay Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer
You’re seriously considering renting a car on your next trip to Jamaica, right?
Let me guess...
You want to go on a little excursion outside of the walls of your hotel? Or probably you’re just feeling a little adventurous? Or maybe you’re tired of tour groups and want to travel on your own time and pace?
If any of those is true, then you probably have good reason to consider renting a car in Jamaica.
In many cases though, tourists are often encouraged to utilize shuttle services or hire a reputable driver.
This is basically as a precaution for personal safety.
And why so?
Well, if you’re visiting Jamaica for the very first time I wouldn't advise that you rent a car as clearly you will not yet be familiar with the roads network and driving patterns in Jamaica - including driving on the left!
But I'll hasten to tell you that driving around Jamaica is actually fun and serves as a very worthwhile adventure, there is so much to see and share in.
The main benefit of renting a car is that you’re in control. It gives you flexibility and convenience. You can plan and anticipate where you want to go and how long you want to spend there without having to wait on anyone (which usually occurs when you travel with tour groups).
Buy while this is an eye-catching benefit, there are other factors I'd love you to consider when you ask yourself, "Should I rent a car in Jamaica?"
See aso: How To Buy A Car In Jamaica
Renting A Car In Jamaica - The Considerations
See Also: When To Rent A Car In Jamaica
- Are you familiar with the routes?
Compared to other parts of the world, Jamaica is indeed a small place. However, there are a lot of things to do and places to visit and see.
And whether or not you’re familiar with your routes may affect the ease of getting from place to place. This is why first timers aren’t usually encouraged to rent a car.
And that's so, even with GPS and Google Maps.
And so, if you do decide to rent a car, I'd suggest that you...
- Plan out your route prior to departing. That way, you’ll at least know the roads you need to take to arrive at your place of destination.
- I'd also recommend having a phone that has any of the GPS services similar to Google Maps.
- Also, pay attention to road signs, they are much better now and are more evident. And last but not least,
- It would be great if you tag a friend along. They say two heads are better than one, not only can both assist each other and solve any issues, you get to share the fun!
- Are you familiar with the state of the roads?
Now, I love my country, don’t get me wrong. But, I don’t have the same feeling in regards to the state of our roads.
In most of the city areas, the roads are generally okay, despite the heavy traffic during peak hours. However, the issue is usually with the roads in the rural areas.
Despite some effort to upgrade some of them, many of them are still narrow and unmaintained with several potholes.
That said, several new routes, such as the new highways, which connects the main cities of Kingston, Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios, and several other upgrading of off roads, for example the Ferris To Mackfield on the western side of the island, getting around is much faster and easier.
- The COST of renting a car
Well you still have a budget, I'd hope, so you’ll have to consider the cost of renting a car.
Now, the cost will obviously vary from city to city and vendor to vendor. The cost is also dependent on the type of car that you want to rent.
And obviously, a bigger, stronger brand, and more luxurious car will cost more.
Car rental rates in Jamaica can range from between 35 and 130 USD per day, depending again on the car (age, brand, features etc). The average is between 80 USD and 95 USD though.
In addition to the cost of renting the car, you’ll have to consider the cost of fuel (especially if you’ll be driving the car for a long period of time), parking fees, highway toll fees and additional insurance.
- The Requirements for renting a vehicle
You’ll also have to think about what you’ll need to actually get your rented car. While the requirements may differ from company to company, there are some basic requirements, such us:
- Driving licence / ID – You must have a driving license for at least one year.
- Age limit – Usually you’ll have to be the between the ages of 23-75 years to rent a car. If you are say 21 or under, there are only a few companies that might rent you a car, but expect a higher rentalcost.
- Credit card – It is customary for payments to be done through a valid credit card. In additi on, there may be a hold on the credit card in case of incidents of damages.
Be sure to consult with your potential car rental company about their requirements prior to your arrival to Jamaica, or certainly before driving off the lot.
But, do you need to go through a car rental company to rent a car?
This leads to my final point.
- A private car rental In Jamaica or a published car rental company?
Which is better?
So far, much of what I've shared relates to rental car companies in Jamaica.
But yes, you do have the option of renting a car privately from an individual.
I have several friends who offer their cars at much cheaper rates than the car rentals company. However, the fact that they are unregulated means that there are some inherent risks for you in renting cars privately.
The first and main one is that in case of an accident you practically have zero protection, because the owner may have not declared to the insurance company that the car is a rental.
But how exactly does private car rental in Jamaica works?
I reached out to my friend who does it and she indicated that...
- She takes a copy of the renter's id.
- They both assess the car together and make notes of any dings or issues, including taking pictures.
- She marks the gas level as well. The practice is that it should be returned with the same gas level
- They both sign an agreement on the findings and expectations.
- She charges approximately 5,500 JMD per day but usually have discounted rates for extended time.
- She rents for a minimum of 2 days (usually), and
- She hesitates to rent young people :-) (She was honest)
Bear in mind though that not all private rentals are the same, some have tighter and lighter controls and some have much cheaper while some have more expensive car rental rates.
Reputable Car Rental Companies In Jamaica
If you are looking for a reputable car rental dealer in Jamaica, be sure to start with our list of top Jamaican car rentals
Here are a few additional tips for driving in Jamaica.
Tips on Driving In Jamaica
- Remember that we drive on the left side of the road
- Make arrangements with a rental car company before you arrive Jamaica
- Plan beforehand on the places you want to go
- Be vigilant. Some drivers have the habit of overtaking and breaking the road traffic laws.
- Desist from leaving valuables, such as electronic devices and money, in your car.
- Wear your seatbelt at all times.
- Be wary of pot holes (you’re bound to encounter one or two or several)
- If you are stopped by the police, be courteous and cooperative
- Don’t pick up strangers
- Don’t use your cell phone or any other handheld devices while driving
- Always carry you vehicle documents with you. Please ensure that you collect it from the rental car company.
- Obey the Road Traffic Act
- If you’re having some basic issues, such as a flat tire, then you should visit the nearest gas station.
- Lock the car doors when unattended.
For major issues though, contact your dealer (private or car rental company) you should have their contact information readily available.
Other FAQs about Renting A Car In Jamaica
- What is the cheapest price for a rental car in Jamaica?
The cheapest rental car in Jamaica is Suzuki Swift ($35 per day).
- What is the average cost to rent a car in Jamaica?
The average cost to rent a car in Jamaica is $90 per day.
- What is the most popular rental car type in Jamaica?
SUV is the most booked rental car type in Jamaica
- Which car rental companies have the lowest priced rental cars in Jamaica?
So far we found that Island Car Rentals has some of the cheapest rental car rates in Jamaica
- Which are some of the international renowned car rental car companies offer services in Jamaica?
International Car rental companies in Jamaica includes Budget, Island Car Rentals and Alamo
I hope this was helpful to you. As usual, I welcome your feedback here
Until next time…
P.S. See our list of top car dealers in Jamaica
• 30 Tips on How to Drive in Jamaica as a Foreigner! (2019, February 15). Retrieved from https://sweetjamaica.co.uk/30-tips-on-how-to-drive-in-jamaica-as-a-foreigner/
• Can You Rent A Car In Jamaica? – 5 Things To Know. (2016, April 6). Retrieved from http://www.wejamaicansbelike.com/rent-a-car-in-jamaica/
• My experience on renting a car in Jamaica - Jamaica Forum. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147309-i69-k8501273-My_experience_on_renting_a_car_in_Jamaica-Jamaica.html