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Dear Travelling Dad (Part 2)

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

Hello Jacky @ Jamaica So Nice,

We are planning a trip to Jamaica soon; we plan on seeing multiple cities. We are a family of five with kids between 2 and 5 years old. My questions are:

1. What are nice places to stay in Kingston?

2. How would we get from Kingston to Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios?

3. How would you compare and contrast Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios?


Traveling Dad.

Dear Traveling Dad (Part 2):

Good day. In answer to your question which I will do in three parts:

2. How would we get from Kingston to Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios?

I would recommend the following modes of transportation for a travelling dad:

· Rent a car at the airport that you fly into and it is available for you to enjoy the scenic stops as you travel to your destinations.

· Take the Knutsford Express and use local private taxis around the towns that you travel to.

Highway to the North Coast from Kingston

Hidden Gems in Montego Bay

The available modes of transportation around the island are listed below:

Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA)

JUTA operates island-wide and is geared almost exclusively to the tourist business. The Transport Authority has established fixed rates according to distance (different rates apply for locals than for tourists, who pay more).

Fly Kingston to Montego Bay

The fastest way from Kingston to Montego Bay but you’ll miss out on the scenic spots that going by road offers. Fares start from US$84 for a 20-minute plane ride.

The Knutsford Express (Luxury Coach)

Knutsford Express operates big comfortable, air-conditioned coaches and covers most destinations. Sample fares/times are Kingston–Ocho Rios (J$1850/US$14.20, two hours), Kingston–Montego Bay (J$2950/US$22.70, four hours). The local Kingston to Montego Bay has a stop in Ocho Rios. The Knutsford Express has regular connections between Kingston and Negril via both the north and south coasts. Online booking is available, along with student, senior and child fares.

Rental Cars

There are a number of rent-a-car companies in Jamaica, most of them offering vehicles for rent in major towns and at airports. Vehicle rentals start as low as US$30 daily.

Bus & Public Transportation An extensive transportation network links virtually every village and comprises several options that range from standard public buses to private taxis, with minibuses and route taxis in between.

There is usually no set timetable – buses leave when the driver considers them full – and passengers are crammed in with little regard for comfort. Taxis and buses tend to fill quickly early in the morning (before 8am) and around 5pm as people depart for work or home. There are fewer public transport options on Sundays.

Public buses, minibuses and route taxis depart from and arrive at each town’s transportation station, which is usually near the main market. Locals can direct you to the appropriate vehicle, which should have its destination marked above the front window (for buses) or on its side.


Large buses are few and far between in Jamaica due to the narrow twisting roads. Throughout the island there are bus stops at most road intersections along routes, but you can usually flag down a bus anywhere except in major cities. If the bus doesn't have a bell to indicate when you want to get off, shout out 'let down' or 'one stop' to the driver.



Private minibuses, also known as ‘coasters,’ have traditionally been the workhorses of Jamaica’s regional public transportation system. All major towns and virtually every village in the country are served.

Licensed minibuses display red license plates with the initials PPV (public passenger vehicle) or have a JUTA (Jamaica Union of Travelers Association) insignia. JUTA buses are exclusively for tourists. Public coasters don't run to set time tables, but depart their point of origin when full.

Taking public transportation is very inexpensive. Buses and minibuses charge in the neighborhood of J$100/US$0.80 per 50km, and route taxis charge about J$150/US$1.15 to J$250/US$1.92 per 50km, with short rides of around 10 minutes costing J$100/US$0.80. As an example of longer routes, at the time of writing a coaster from Kingston to Port Antonio (two hours) cost J$600/US$4,62.

Route Taxis

Communal route taxis are the most universal mode of public transportation, reaching every part of the country. They run on set routes, picking up as many people as they can along the way. They're very convenient and are a cheap way of getting around the island. Simply pick them up at their terminal in town (they go when full), or flag them down on the road and tell the driver where you want to get off. If you get in an empty taxi – particularly at the taxi station – be clear if you just want to pay the regular fare instead of a charter.

Most route taxis are white station wagons marked by their red license plates. They should have ‘Route Taxi’ marked on the front door, and they are not to be confused with similar licensed taxis, which charge more. Avoid any taxi that lacks the red license plate.

Cruise Ship in Port

Jamaica So Nice

(876) 881-8283

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