I will visit Jamaica in May 2011. I will rent a car to drive, how is the traffic in Jamaica. Is it safe driving in Kingston?


City: Kingston

Undetermined: [None]

Country: Jamaica


Well it all depends on what time of day that you'll be traveling. If its mid morning you might encounter traffic congestion and also during the peak hours of the evening. However, it depends on the area in which you'll be traveling and yes indeed kingston is safe to drive at, but you must always take caution and find a trustworthy and honest person to guide you along the way. Happy visiting.
Dear Rose-Ann, thank you very much for your answer. I'm travelling alone and I will pick up the car at the (NM) airport when I arrive approximately 13.00 hours in Kingston. I want to visit the Bob Marley museum at once on my way to Kingston. The only trustworthy guide I have is the rented navigation device, I assume that I will/must find the place though ( hopefully). After my visit to the BM museum I will head to Ocho Rios, where I’ve booked for my holiday, do you think I could manage at my own on my first visit to Jamaica? I am used to drive in big cities, but I know that Kingston is different.
Hello Martin. With regard to traffic in Kingston, I would recommend driving around outside the hours of 6:00am - 8:30am and 4:30pm - 7:00pm which are the corporate area's peak hours, give an take 30 minutes. Though I don't mind it, if you end up travelling during these hours, I suggest you rent a car with a good air conditioner and sound system and take your music collection with you for entertainment. Yes, it is relatively safe to drive around Kingston as long as you stick to the main roads and and northern parts of the city. Daytime travel is always recommended especially if you are unfamiliar with your routes. If you are uncertain of your travel routes, which sometimes have you cutting through tricky areas to get around traffic, I recommend that you have someone trustworthy, guide you along the way. A cell phone may come in handy too. I hope this helps you. Welcome, and do enjoy your stay in Jamaica.
Thank you for your answer Kimone, see my comment on Rose-Ann's answer. Kind regards Martin
Martin, I agree with everything the others have said but please also ensure you not only drive for yourself but for the other road users, as Jamaicans sometimes do not drive quite as the highway code intends. For example, you will probably take it for granted that those on the roundabout have right of way, and you are supposed to take caution when going onto a roundabout as you do not have right of way, but some Jamaicans believe it is the other way round, so if you are not prepared for these little things it can get a bit tricky. Also many of them think nothing of undertaking!..So please just be extra cautious of these things. However the majority of road users in Jamaica are aware and drive as the road code intended!. If you need a friendly person whilst in Kingston my husband lives there and I can give you a hook up if you get back to me ok..otherwise have a great time Jamaica irie!!!
Hi Martin

Well like any major city in the world there is the peak hour traffic, both going and retuning from work. Then of course there is the lunch hour traffic persons who are trying to get a number of things done within their lunch break. Apart from that the traffic flows smoothly. Driving here is ok we drive on the left so if you are an American then you will have to constantly remind yourself of that. There are areas you would want to stay away from but generally its safe to drive around and visit some of the great spots Kingston has to offer. All the best and I do hope you enjoy your trip.
Yes it is safe to drive in Kingston, Jamaica. Some major four way intersections though can be filled up with traffic at certain times like from 2-4 or 5 and 5:45-8 depending on the day. Also coming from the down town side onto Half way tree road will be backed up with traffic around the same times starting from Cross Roads, in Liguanea from Stanton Terrace and Oxford Road from Tom Redcam Drive. These are the only problems on our roads. Typical traffic...
It is safe to drive in kingston. But you must remember that we drive on the left hand side in Jamaica so keep that in mind. There is congestion on the road in the mornings cause most persons go to work at that time and most, if not all the schools in kingston starts between 7:30 and 8am in the morning from monday to friday. On week it is all good. Since you will be comming in May it may not be too bad cause most students will be out doing external exams so their time may varies. one thing you must watch out for when driving on the road in jamaica is the taxi drivers and the coaster buses have fun and drive carifully
If you are a city driver you should be fine, Bob Marley museum is pretty easy find once you get to Half Way Tree from the aiport. Ocio Rios is a beautiful drive, some pretty steep drops ay the roadside in places so care is needed. Jamaican drivers, drive pretty fast, espacially route taxis (red plates) and watch for them stopping without notice to pick up passengers anywhere! Enjoy!
it is safe you just need to take the necessary care and caution as you would in any major City,so go ahead rent a car and have a great time exploring Jamaica.

"Jamaica once you go ,you know"
Our road here in jamaica has improve significantly however therefore we have little very little traffic at times depending on your location in Kingston, however be on the look out as some drivers do forget that their are other road users.
Traffic varies depending on the time of day, as far as safety goes it is safe enough to drive in Kingston. There are various road conditions in the Kingston area, your vehicle will be a victim of great wear and tear. As far as the environment and people, tuning into the local news daily will keep you informed of situations in and around the island.
Dear Martin:

The drive from the airport to Bob Marley Museum should pose no difficulties however the getting to Ochi could pose a challenge for you since the major roadworks is planned for the gourge (the main road between Kingston and Ochi) so I would suggest you get clear directions and maybe you could get a map. it is generally safe to drive in Kingston and its surroundings. I hope you enjoy your trip,

Martin, Good choice to vislt Jamica. There are some major trrafic changes that will affect your trip to ocho rios. the Bog Walk gorge(one of the main corridors to Ocho Rios), will be closed at that time, so too will the famous Fern Gully. Signs will be posted to guide you through Sligoville and Brednut Hill. You may consider travelling through St Mary via the Juntion Main Road. These roads are narrow but with careful driving you should be ok. The Bob marley Mesuem is at 56 Hope Road and closes at 4:00 p.m. Your arrival time suggest that you may not be able to visit on that day. Because of the road changes I would suggest that you stay in Kingston until the next day, visit the measum and then travel on to Ocho Rios. I am only sorry that you will miss the beauty of the Gorge and Fern Gully, but we have plenty, plenty more places that you can visit. Some hotels in Kingston are Pegasus, Hilton, Knutsford court, Terra Nova nad Spanish Court.
We look forward to welcoming you to Ja. I know you will enjoy your stay.

Dear Susan Marry and all the other who responded on my question, thank you very much for you suggestions and advices!! Jamaican people are very Nice, Warm and Helpful and I appreciate your attention very much! At a closer look on my travel plan, I've mentioned that I need to go to St. Mary instead of Ocho Rios...does that make any difference for the route? According to the Jamaican Google road map I need to take the A3 roadway via Broadgate/Watervalley and Trinity, which is 75 Kilometer of length. Does somebody know this route? I want to leave the BM museum before 16.00 hours and than head to St. Mary. Sunset by that time in Jamaica is 18.30 and according to Google the trip is 1.36minutes long (please advice). The other issue I have is that I am a very positive person and like to meet with locals during my trip and discuss interesting ad relevant topics. Should I be more wary for people with bad intention or is it all good??
Martin, please tell me the name of the district in Jamaica that you will visit so the I can instruct you better. It is safe to talk to Jamaicans, we love that, just make sure it is a very public place.
yes it is safe to drive in Kingston, the traffic is just like all metropolitan, very crazy during peak hours.
There is a lot of traffic in Kingston. I would say peak hour traffic but that hardly exist as the roads are crowded throughout the entire day. Yes it is safe to drive in Kingston. However, there are still some areas that I would not necessarily call safe. Remember to drive on the Left. Stick to the major roads and you should be pretty safe.
hey martin!
I live in St. Thomas, just next door to Kingston and i must admit that driving in the the big city can be a bit tricky. the roads are normally busy and very fast paced. There will be Coaster Buses on the roads that can be a bit pushy at times, people eagerly wanting to cross the roads and a few pot holes to avoid. Just imagine NYC but a little smaller. The road codes are easy to understand, however, if you are a iffy driver; you will get shout at and 'over taken' a lot by commuters. It would be best to take a taxi for the first day or so and get a hands on experience on the trafficking system before you venture alone. ( fare $80 JD).
It is safe to drive in Kingston. Sundays are really slow. I like Sundays, there is less traffic. But weekdays during the peak hours are tiresome.
Whatever you chose to do, best of luck and don't be afraid to ask for directions :-)
all the best... Lexie
Martin, Great to hear you want to explore our wonderful country.
As in any city, there is always 'rush hour' traffic, ours typically being between 7-9am & 3-6pm.
There are many spots to visit for historical & cultural experiences, or for just hanging out & as we would say, "catching the vibe". The New Kingston area & environs is great for this.
As with any new environment, a few extra precautions can be taken like driving around with AC on, & "doors locked".
Taking a short drive up to the mountains is a wondeful experience and here you want to breathe in the lovely fresh air with windows down!
Have a great time and we look forward to seeing your blog after your trip.
Yes it is safe to drive in Kingston, just remember to drive on the left, like all major cities there are areas u dont want to get lost in but you will find that most people are helpfull and it is good idea to plan your routes ahead of time

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