Car Rental Kingston
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Why rent a car in Kingston?
Jamaica’s capital is a fascinating city to visit. It may not get the same crowds as the island’s northern coast, but there’s plenty to enjoy here, from museums celebrating the city’s world-famous sons and daughters to old pirate hiding places. Enjoy Kingston, then drive to enjoy Jamaica’s stunning beaches and tropical scenery.
Top ways to enter Kingston
- Kingston Airport: Also known as Norman Manley Airport after a Jamaican politician and as Palisadoes Airport after an area in which it is located, it handles around 1.6 million travelers every year. A hub for Caribbean Airlines, it is also served by around ten other airlines that offer flights to North American and the rest of the Caribbean. The airport is located about 20km (12 miles) south of Central Kingston and can be reached in 25-35 minutes depending on the traffic. The airport should not be confused with Kingston Norman Rogers Airport in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
- Montego Bay Airport: The busiest airport in Jamaica, Montego Bay-Sangster serves Jamaica’s second-largest city. With flights by about 25 different airlines, it handled 4.5 million travelers in 2018. Located 168km (104 miles) northwest of Kingston, the airport can be reached in about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- Ocho Rios Airport: Although currently only having one flight, between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, the airport has served international air traffic in the past and as of August 2019, there are plans for scheduling new flights in the near future.
- By sea: If you arrive in Jamaica by ship, you can pick up your rental car at Montego Bay Cruise Port or Ocho Rios Cruise Port. Cruise ships that make a stop at Jamaica connect it to places like Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Belize, and the United States. It might be possible to fly to Cancun Airport in Mexico, Owen Roberts Airport in the Cayman Islands, or Nassau Airport in the Bahamas and then take a cruise to Jamaica.
Useful city facts
- Like the rest of Jamaica, Kingston enjoys a hot tropical climate. Temperature differences between the seasons are small, but there is a pronounced rainy season (from May to November) and dry season (from December to April). The average high temperature of the course of the year is 31°C (89°F).
- Although most of the inhabitants of Kingston (and the rest of Jamaica) are of African descent, there are also Lebanese, Syrian, Chinese, Indian, and Jewish communities living in the city. The native inhabitants of Jamaica before the arrival of European colonists were the Taino (also known as Arawak). Although they have largely been assimilated into the rest of the country’s population and have ceased to exist as a separate group, visitors can learn about their culture and lifestyle in Kingston’s Arawak Museum.
- With around 660,000 inhabitants, Kingston is by far the largest city in Jamaica. It has around six times more people than Montego Bay, the second-largest city. For decades, the city’s population has been experiencing a steady growth, rising from 360,000 in 1960 to 580,000 in 2005 and the present number in 2019. Kingston is also capital of Surrey County, one of the three counties of Jamaica.
Top destinations and activities
- Bob Marley Museum. Dedicated to the most famous inhabitant of Kingston, the museum is inside the building where Bob Marley’s recording studio used to be. Visitors can learn about the famous musician’s life, as well as about the history of reggae music and the Rastafari religion. Kingston is also home to a beautiful Bob Marley statue.
- National Gallery of Jamaica. Opened in 1963 shortly after Jamaica gained independence from the United Kingdom, the gallery hosts a large number of works of Jamaican painters, sculptors, and other artists, many of whom have received international recognition. The National Gallery is located in the Kingston Mall, a large cultural center in the capital city.
- Devon House. One of the most famous buildings of Kingston, Devon House was once the home of George Stiebel, the first black millionaire in Jamaica. Having made his riches in South America, he later returned home for a relaxed and lavish life in the beautiful mansion. The building is surrounded by gardens, and inside, you’ll also find a restaurant.
Traffic and parking tips
- Jamaica drives on the left hand side of the road.
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limit is 80km/h (50 mph) on most intercity roads and 50km/h (31 mph) inside urban and built-up areas. The only exception is the national, tolled Highway 2000 on which the speed limit is 110km/h (68 mph).
- The legal alcohol limit for drivers is 0.35%. Exceeding the limit will lead to high fines, a licence ban, or even deportation or imprisonment.
- Although Kingston is not a very large city, the traffic in and around it is often quite congested. Getting a traffic app is a good idea (most locals go with Waze).
- While the main highways and intercity roads in Jamaica are generally in good condition (and the ones that are not are quickly improving), many of the rural roads and roads in the nature areas remain in quite a bad shape. Potholes are common, many roads are very narrow, most lack good lighting and have no special sections for pedestrians. Countryside roads also tend to lack road signs. It’s important to exercise extra caution when driving on these roads and to set out your route in advance.
- Jamaica is quite mountainous, especially in the inland areas. Getting a smaller car is a good idea if you only plan to drive in the city, but 4WD is a must if you plan to drive away from the main roads or in the mountains.
- Most gas stations usually close around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. The further you drive from the large cities, the fewer you’ll find, and in the rural areas many are closed on Sundays.
- Proof of insurance and the documentation of the car need to be in it whenever you’re driving.
- When driving, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The nation-wide emergency numbers are 110 for ambulance and fire brigade and 119 for police and the air-sea rescue.
There is one toll road in Jamaica, Highway 2000, which connects Kingston in the south of the island to Ocho Rios and Montego Bay in the north. Highway 2000 is controlled by the Government of Jamaica.
The toll payment depends on the size of the car. The toll payment can be made either by paying with cash at a toll booth or by getting a prepaid electronic tag (for which you can pay either with cash or by credit card). Some rental cars will come pre-equipped with this electronic tag. Some rental car providers might add an additional fee for this service. Ask your rental car provider about it in advance.
Built in 2003, Highway 2000 is 149km (93 miles) long. As of July 2019, some sections of the road are still under construction and there are plans to add more sections in the near future.
If you plan to drive outside Kingston, it’s important to do your own research about the Jamaican toll roads before you arrive. Keep in mind that information about Jamaica’s toll roads found online can be insufficient or contradictory because new sections are constantly being added and the rules are changed quite frequently. It’s a good idea to check Jamaica’s toll authority website, but the best way to get all the information and the latest updates is to contact your rental car provider in advance.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Port Royal. A village next to the capital city, Port Royal used to be famous as a haven for pirates who frequently raided the rich ships of the Spanish Empire. The area was called the richest and wickedest city in the world, and sea robbers from the other side of the world are said to have come to hide here whenever escaping trouble. Naturally, they brought unspeakable riches with them, some of which are said to still be hidden around the village. Located on the tip of Palisadoes earth mound, Port Royal is 30km (18 miles) from the Kingston city center and can be reached in about 35 minutes.
- Lime Cay. Located next to Port Royal, Lime Cay is a beautiful and remote islet. Although only accessed by boat from Port Royal, it hosts parties and events during the weekends. It is much more quiet on working days when Lime Cay is the perfect place to try snorkeling or simply enjoy the beautiful beaches.
- Hellshire Beach. Another nice beach area near the capital, Hellshire is largely favored by locals and has a much more authentic feel than the resorts catering to foreign tourists. The beaches are mainly white and sandy with a short section also made up of black sand. Besides the beautiful coastline, Hellshire is also famous for its unique recipe of fried fish. Located 24km (15 miles) southwest of Kingston, the area can be reached in about 30 minutes.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in Kingston is the Toyota Yaris. Many travelers also choose the Nissan Tiida and the Toyota Corolla. The most popular rental car types are compact, economy, and full-size.
- Blue Mountains. One of the most impressive areas in all of the Caribbean, the Blue Mountains can be easily described as a tropical paradise. Made up of high peaks, lush jungle, and many hiking trails, the mountains offer an enjoyable escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. A large part of the area is made up of Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park which is home to many protected plant and animal species. Located just 40km (25 miles) northeast of Kingston, the Blue Mountains can be reached in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Montego Bay. Kingston might be Jamaica’s largest city, but Montego Bay on the island’s northern shore is its number one tourist hub. The area can get quite crowded during the high season, but that is only because Mo Bay’s beaches, waterfalls, and water sports centers have so much to be enjoyed. Located 170km (105 miles) northwest of Kingston, Montego Bay can be reached in about 2 hours and 40 minutes.
- Ocho Rios. Ocho Rios is a resort town on Jamaica’s northern coast. There are many attractions here, from the Dunn’s River Falls area to Dolphin Cove where tourists can interact with sea animals and the many trekking tours in the surrounding rainforest. Compared to Montego Bay, it’s just as scenic, but more quiet and relaxed. It’s closer to Kingston, too - 85km (53 miles) to the north, it can be reached in about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Car Rental Prices in Kingston
- Large cars - from $102 per day
- Medium cars - from $62 per day
- People Carriers / Vans - from $120 per day
- Small cars - from $64 per day
- SUVs - from $138 per day
How can I save money on my rental car?
Follow these simple tips to land a great rental car in the capital of Jamaica:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Kingston is the cheapest in February when renting a car is about 41% cheaper than the yearly average and a whole 61% cheaper than renting a car in November.
Top Cities near Kingston
Montego Bay Car Rentals from $51.50 per day134.6 km / 83.7 miles away
Top 3 Locations near Kingston
Kingston, Downtown Car Rentals from $51.50 per day
Kingston, Norman Manley International Airport Car Rentals from $51.50 per day
Montego Bay, Sangster International Airport Car Rentals from $51.50 per day134.6 km / 83.7 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Kingston?
What’s the usual rental length in Kingston?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Kingston?
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Rental Agent||Make / Model||Doors||Luggage||Type|
|Ace Rent a car||Toyota Corolla||4||4||Large cars|
|Ace Rent a car||Suzuki Swift||5||1||Small cars|
|Alamo||Kia Picanto||3||2||Small cars|
|NuCarrentals||Suzuki Swift||5||1||Small cars|
|NuCarrentals||Toyota Corolla||4||4||Large cars|
|Ace Rent a car||Toyota Hiace||4||4||People Carriers / Vans|
|Ace Rent a car||Toyota Yaris||4||2||Medium cars|
|RightCars||Toyota Corolla||4||3||Large cars|
|Alamo||Honda Fit||5||3||Small cars|
|NuCarrentals||Toyota Yaris||4||2||Small cars|
Our Customers Reviews
Top 10 Suppliers for Kingston in 2019
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