Driving in Jamaica
Jamaica has over 17,000 kilometers of road networks, connecting all major towns and cities. Given our mountainous terrain, our rural roads are often winding, bumpy and narrow, while your town center streets are wider, but busier. The speed limit is 50kmph (30mph) in built-up areas and 80kmph (50mph) on highways.
The most important thing to remember is that we drive on the left-hand side of the road. But this is not the only thing you’ll have to get used to. On the island, quite often you’ll share the fast lane with goats, stray dogs, a whole variety of vehicles of all shapes and sizes and a generous helping of our infamous potholes. Potholes are an island style guarantee – there’s always one around the next corner. So, it’s always best to take your time, maneuver around whatever crosses your path, and enjoy the scenery.
Another thing to note is that we use car horns more than any other country in the world. Behind the wheel, there’s no stopping us. From a slight beep that says “hello,” two toots meaning “thank you” and a blaring horn telling you “to get out of the way” you’ll find that more often than not, your driving soundtrack is made up of hoots.
Should you get lost and need directions, any of our locals will be happy to help you out. Just bear in mind that you may hear “it’s just around the corner” or “you’ll reach it soon,” but these are all relative to island time. One corner may mean half an hour. But relax and enjoy. After all, you’re on holiday.
Quick Rental Tips
- There are car rental agencies in most major towns and cities. Clients must be at least 25 years old to rent a motor vehicle.
- All drivers are required to carry a valid license. Jamaica recognizes valid International Driver's Licenses. North Americans may use their country's license for up to three months per visit. United Kingdom residents may use theirs for up to twelve months, and Japanese visitors may only use their licenses for up to one month.
- The driver and front passenger are required to wear safety belts, and children under 3 years old must travel in infant carriers.
- Service stations are found island wide. Many are open every day.