Montego Bay

Caribbean > Jamaica > Montego Bay

See: Why hire a car in Montego Bay ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

The Montego Bay (Sangster) International airport is the gateway to a long stretch of holiday coastline that spreads out along the western and northern sides of the island of Jamaica. Montego Bay airport is used by travellers heading to resorts such as Negril, but also for visitors heading as far east as Ocho Rios, which might have its very own “Ian Fleming airport”, but this facility, perhaps unsurprisingly considering the villains in Fleming used to write about, is exclusively only for private jets and very small aircraft.

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Montego Bay car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Montego Bay is in car rental price band: 8/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Montego Bay? 

No. Car rental is very expensive by global standards.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Montego Bay between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:1/10

Balance: 4

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


Why? Visiting Montego Bay using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Montego Bay ?

  • The spread out nature of the area around Montego Bay means that it can certainly be quite useful to have a hire car, and getting a rental car in Montego Bay might also be a good idea for heading inland.

Note that the capital Jamaican Kingston is known for having a high crime rate, so we wouldn’t necessarily advise driving there.

Why not? Visiting Montego Bay without a car

Why don't you need a car in Montego Bay ?

  • Plenty of activities based around beach resorts – no transport needed.
  • Many other activities will include transport from the resort to the location.
  • Buses serve just about every point on the island. These vary from scheduled, air conditioned coach services down to shared taxis and mininbuses. Ask locally at the transportation centre.
  • Various tour options are available based on the many cruise ship arrivals.

Naturally, it’s perfectly easy to enjoy stay in around Montego Bay without renting a car, because plenty of organise trips are available, and a lot of the resort activities around the beaches and watersports, so many visitors who come here and don’t even think about getting a rental car will probably barely even notice they don’t have one! Yet our advice is based around people who are coming to destinations like Montego Bay and who are already thinking about hiring a car, rather than visitors who might arrive and walk straight past the car hire desk.

Ratings: How does Montego Bay compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Montego Bay? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Montego Bay, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?



Do you need to hire a car in Montego Bay? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Montego Bay (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Montego Bay? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel


Car hire basics:


Public transportation basics:


Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):


As you start ....

Does Montego Bay airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No






Has our advice for Montego Bay car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 8

2021 - 4

Average score - 6



Is it worth hiring a car in Montego Bay? It certainly by no means essential here, and you might prefer to look at one or two day rental in resort, but in Montego Bay, car hire can offer make a lot of sense.


Do you or don't you need a car in Montego Bay ?