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Colorado37 Mar 19th, 2006 10:17 PM

1st Time Jamaica- Negril
We are going to Jamaica 4-17 to 4-24 and staying in Negril. I have reserved a rental car, however, am not sure whether that is practical. I hate taxis and buses and will be carrying my wife and 2 year old son. I know my resort has free parking, but is there parking abvailable other places? We plan on driving around a little and want to see Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. We are 30-somethings and I enjoy adventuring about the countryside, however, now that I am responsible for a 2 year old, I must be a little more conservative. I am going to Jamaica to explore another culture, if I wanted to stay on a resort I'd go back to Hawaii. What is safe to do there without too much risk? I've been to many developing nations and am used to being harassed by the locals. Is this the major problem people are complaining about in Jamaica?

Also, any reccomendations on what to do while there other than relaxing on the beach? I've heard that for about $50 we can go to one of the all inclusives for the day and eat, drink and enjoy all the ammenities. Has anyone done that? Any tips would be appreciated!

angellynn Mar 20th, 2006 04:28 AM

I would advise against renting a car your first time to Jamaica. The roads are not very good and the local drivers are horrible. We reserved a driver and a car for our week stay last fall that included airport transfers and unlimited driving during our stay for $400.00 US.

Michaelpl Mar 20th, 2006 04:35 AM

I would have to agree with the other post. Highly suggest you NOT get a car this time. (or any time for that matter) Good "Cabs" in Jamaica are certainly more than that, they also will guide and watch out for you.
A good driver can and will help make your Jamaican experience 100% more enjoyable. Have fun !

suzski Mar 21st, 2006 08:31 AM

I second (or I guess third) that you NOT get a rental car on your first trip to Jamaica. It is well worth the money (and your peace of mind) to hire a driver to take you around.

As for things to do, I would suggest visiting either Mayfield or YS Falls. They are a bit of a drive but are absolutely beautiful. Also, be aware that Ocho Rios is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Montego Bay, and Negril is another 1 1/2 from there, so if you're planning a trip to Ocho Rios from Negril it will be a very long day. The roads in Jamaica are definately not up to the American standard. Chukka Blue offers some great tours...we did the Canopy Tour which is probably not a consideration for you due to your 2-year old.

The Jamaican people are warm, friendly, proud and very outgoing, and I am sure that you will have a wonderful time. We're actually headed back to Jamaica in a couple days for our third trip.

chesney Mar 21st, 2006 09:18 AM

Where are you staying in Negril? I will be there at that same time. I also agree with the others (have been to JA 12 times) and would NOT rent a car. The drivers are crazy, not to mention the roads, driving on the left (side of street and other side of car). The all inclusive for the day is ok if you want to try some of the watersports, etc...(I did my day pass at Beaches Negril)Hire a driver and go to Mayfield Falls for the day-does your hotel offer baby-sitting- because I wouldn't take the 2 year old there. I commend you for wanting to explore the culture of JA, and for wanting to get off the resort! So many people go to the all inclusives and never leave, so how can they say they've "seen and experienced" Jamaica? The drive to Ocho will be an all day thing-it's on the other side of the island, and unless you "have" to climb Dunn's River Falls, I'd stay closer to Negril, nothing else in Ocho is worth that drive. Make sure to try the LTU Pub on the cliffs (in Negril), it's the best for good food and a nice laid back atmosphere. The new Ricks is nice too. I can give you more referrals if you want. Have a great time!

bean2574 Mar 21st, 2006 10:37 AM

I would advise against renting a car in Jamaica. I was amazed at how few signs and markings are on the road. There are very few stop signs. Cars run amok and most of the roads are terrible. Cattle and goats aren't fenced in and they wander up to the roads. Its a wonder more people are killed driving down there. On the other hand the Locals seem to have a pretty good handle on transportation. I would hire someone to take you where you need to go. Also,I would think Auto Insurance would be astronomical for a tourist. Go and have a great time anyway. IRIE MON!

Colorado37 Mar 22nd, 2006 05:22 PM

I guess the overwhelming opinion is don't rent a car! My problem is the rental car including tax is only 265 for the week and I am unsure how much it costs to go to each place. We are bringing the mother in law for babysitting and are staying at Legends (unsure how nice that is, but a little late to change since most places are filling up...I got a great deal though, so please don't bash it because I don't have any other choice for that money. $500 wk) If you have any other places that are nicer though that I can get for that amount, let me know!!!

Cheney, how much was the day pass? And what do you mean by hire a driver, do you mean taxi? And if not, where do we find one. Do you know where Legends is? Is it walking distance to most areas? I wish I had been told about Idle Awhile is filled up now! I have a love/hate relationship with first time destinations. I love the excitement and exploration factor, but hate getting there and wishing I had known which place was nicest!

Please give whatever info you can, even the most trivial stuff helps! We are on a moderately tight budget and want to get the biggest bang for our buck. Please give prices for taxis, buses, etc. Also names of bus company from airport to Negril and back including rates please! And Cheney, if I do get a rental car, watch the wrong lane before crossing the street, I've never driven on that side before!!!

tivertonhouse Mar 22nd, 2006 09:47 PM

Since your travel budget is very tight, your current plan is do-able as long as you 'go slow', relax and not try to put too much on your plate for just a week's holiday -- and a first time at that on island. US$265/week (add tax, CDW/collision damage waiver mandatory
and gas at US$4 or so a gallon to calculate what the bottom line really is)is a good rate for car/rental, given that most private driver/guidess run about US$100-150/day for 8 hours full-time service. Airport transfers run
about US$60 each way via taxi or JUTA or private driver -- with a 2 year old and a mother-in-law, you do not want
to go into MoBay and wait around to catch a Jamaican bus or minibus. There
are route taxis, but you will have
luggage for 4 and 4 people -- not a good idea with a child and a senior as well. You can find a driver who will package airport transfers/local transport and a day trip or two for less. And a local knows the ropes, the
roads, the potholes and the people
already... So think hard how much
you're really going to use a rental car vs. the hassles of driving on island, esp.for first-timers. (Note: after 30
years of Jamaica, I still use drivers). TIMING: Consider, too, the fact that you lose a day in travel
and decompression and 'getting there'
time on each end of your 7 night trip --
which gives you 5 days in Negril -- 3 to
decompress, hit the beach, explore town at least and 1-2 for half or full day
trips into the countryside via your car or a private tour guide like Talk of the Town Tours in Negril. Talk to Sienna...FOOD: On a tight budget, plan to do hearty Jamaican breakfasts, light lunches, buying food/drinks at the Hi-Lo supermarket and eating out
at cookshops, with a lobster dinner one night out/ 2 year old in tow or not/ at the casual 3 Dives. Day passes at US$50-75 each person or night passes at same price at some AIs are not necessarily the 'bargains' they seem. At US$150 for 3 people plus child/day, you can do better, even on a
basic US$30 per person per day if you're pinching pennies. Driving on island as everyone here as detailed is tough, and for the intrepid. Jamaican
roads are bad, drivers worse. If you're really gung=ho on driving, get a good road map, put seatbelts on, drive slowly since you're doing it Brit style on left. Except for roundabouts/traffic
circles, which will initially confuse
you just outside the airport in MoBay, the road to Negril is a fairly
straight smooth shot -- 1 hour for
experienced fast drivers. In Negril,
check out the Palm Sanctuary/gardens --
a good offbeach walk with a tot and minder. Check out Idle-A-While for your return trip. Put Mayfields Falls on top of your list for a day trip for all --
it's driving on mountain country
roads (up in the Dolphin Head Mts). Id' recommend above all to take it slow
and easy your first trip to Jamaica
-- you can go back and explore year after year, driving yourself, and still not see it all. It's a big island
with small roads....

chesney Mar 23rd, 2006 01:12 PM

Well, Tivertonhouse really summed it all up for me, and I would agree with everything he said. Ask someone at your hotel for a private driver recommendation, or use the tour company Tivertonhouse recommends. Legends looks nice, but I haven't seen the rooms. It is the middle of the beach, and close to town. lots of food choices will be available to walk too in both directions from your hotel. In fact, the food next door at Kuyaba is great. I again recommend LTU pub (on the cliffs- very resonable prices), the pasta at Norma's (at Seasplash hotel) is very good. The "fish and chips" at Alfreds is great (the fish is red snapper), and they have reggae shows 2-3 times a week. The trip to Mayfield Falls will be a nice trip for you and the mrs.-but take a driver since they will know the roads, etc... and it is mountain driving- like Tovertonhouse says, the locals will know the roads, potholes (and there are alot of them!), the people, etc....and those roundabouts are CRAZY, you have to cross oncoming traffic to get into them! Last but not least, if you fall in love with the island like myself and many others, I recommend the CocoLaPalm- it's family friendly, or I've taken "girls trips" there too-can please anyone, and they have the best spot on the beach, staff treats you like family, check out the beach bar at Coco for lunch to see what the place is like. And Michelle's "dirty banana" drinks are the best on the island! It's a short walk down the beach from Legends. have a great time!!


ltilson Mar 23rd, 2006 05:52 PM

One of my favorite restaurants is 3's near Xtabi on the cliff road. VERY casual outdoor dining at picnic tables with the best grilled lobster and chicken...very inexpensive. Selina's (on the beach road) and the Boat Bar are both great for breakfast or lunch. If you decide to not rent a car, I would highly recommend Kirk Malcolm. A really nice guy with a clean, air-conditioned van that makes the ride to Negril very comfortable. His cell # is 876-378-1468. I have been to Negril many times and prefer to have a driver I know pick us up. We will be returning at Christmas this year....have a great time!

Colorado37 Mar 26th, 2006 05:31 PM

Does anyone have any websites or emails for these private drivers? I have searched the web and gound only one that only drives in Negril. I found a tour to Mayfield falls for $40/person from Negril at Clive's website. Anyone know of anything cheaper? I don't think it includes lunch, but the next cheapest tour w/ lunch is $57 and I think I can get luch for that somewhere else. I appreciate everyone's help. This is first time I have used this site and am truly impressed with everyone's opinions.

CaribbeanSoul Mar 26th, 2006 05:47 PM
These guys are highly recommended by Tivertonhouse who lives in Jamaica for part of the year.

Our favorite is Errol Cox who runs We have used him exclusively for the past 5 years, albeit only for transportation to and from MBJ airport. He has a great fleet of vehicles and is a man of his word. One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet!

njres Mar 30th, 2006 11:27 AM

You can also try Clives Transport. The are very reliable and cheap. The roundtrip transport from the airport to Negril cost me $39US in Feruary. You can find them if you Google "Clives Transport in Jamaica"

suze Mar 30th, 2006 03:06 PM

Can anyone give me some general Negril websites? I spent a bit of time there but many moons ago. I'd love to see what's still around and what has changed.

(thanks Colorado37 for letting me tag on your thread & have a wonderful trip with your family)

suze Mar 30th, 2006 03:25 PM

ok- i managed to find all by myself :-)

dfarmer Mar 31st, 2006 03:03 PM

Suze here is another site that was recommeded to me here on this forum. It has been very helpful and the people are great to work with.

suze Mar 31st, 2006 03:39 PM

dfarmer, thanks so much.

Colorado37 Apr 2nd, 2006 02:42 PM

Negril one stop is an awesome site. I spoke to the owner on the phone live and she had great information. Use this site if you haven't been there before!

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