Route Taxis & Buses Offer Affordable Transportation in Jamaica

Route Taxis & Buses Offer Affordable Transportation in Jamaica

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Not understanding how buses and route taxis work in and around Negril, Jamaica can get pretty expensive. If you’re on your honeymoon or trying to impress your new partner with a fancy vacation, affordable transportation in Jamaica may not be for you.

typical transportation in jamaica
Taking one of these from Montego Bay will keep $50-$80 in your pockets.

If you’re a budget traveler though, who would rather spend $80 on rum drinks and jerk chicken instead of transportation from Montego Bay to Negril you may be interested in learning a little about the route taxis and buses.

Getting to Negril; Affordable Buses or Expensive Airport Shuttles

Traveling on a budget can be a bit time consuming, and a little more cumbersome, than doing it the easy (expensive) way. It may take you an extra hour, or two, to get to Negril from the Montego Bay airport, but the $50-$80 USD you save can keep you eating and drinking in Negril for another 3-4 days. I feel like that’s worth 1-2 hours of my time.

transportation in jamaica montego bay to negril
The price for a shuttle from Montego Bay to Negril that you’ll be sharing with a bunch of tourists

If paying $50-$80 USD to sit on a shuttle with a bunch of obnoxious tourists, on their way to their gated, all-inclusive resort isn’t your cup of tea, try taking the route buses. They’re not luxurious, nor very direct, but budget travelers have to be willing to make some sacrifices. 

Cheap Transportation from Montego Bay to Negril, Jamaica

The first thing you’re going to want to do once you’re out of customs is to exchange your money for Jamaican dollars (JMD). Most taxis don’t accept U.S dollars, nor will they give change for large Jamaican bills. Get a bunch of $100 & $500 Jamaican dollars if possible. Once you’ve gone through customs and exchanged your money, you’re ready to get a taxi.

negril jamaica route taxi plate
Look for a red license plate outside of the airport. Taxis are the only cars with red license plates in Jamaica.

Just step outside, hop in one of the many taxis waiting there, and tell the driver you’re taking the bus to Lucea (locals call it Lucy), and that you need to get to the bus terminal. The cost to the bus terminal will be around $150 JMD ($1.20 USD). 

Nomad Tip
Always confirm the price of your taxi before getting in. Most taxi drivers assume, correctly, that tourists have no clue about taxi prices.

Just politely ask, “It’s 150J to the terminal, correct?

At the Bus Terminal in Montego Bay

When you arrive at the bus terminal in Montego Bay, your driver should be able to show you where the buses to Lucea depart from. If he doesn’t know, one of the many employees wandering about will be more than happy to point you in the correct direction.

Once you find your bus the porter will help you with your luggage and sell you your ticket, which will be around $400 JMD ($3 USD). Now that you have your ticket, and found a seat, be prepared to wait. That bus isn’t going anywhere until every seat is occupied.

Sometimes the wait is 5-10 minutes, other times it could be 30. Bring a book, sit back, and relax. You’re now in Jamaica where nothing happens quickly. The sooner you accept that the more enjoyable your trip is going to be. 

Lucea to the Negril Bus Park

Once you get on your way your next stop is going to be the Lucea bus park. Grab your bags and ask the porter where the buses to Negril depart from. Once you find your bus you’ll go through the same process you did on the first bus; pay another $400 JMD ($3 USD), sit, and wait. 

Eventually, about 2-3 hours after you left the airport, you’ll end up at the Negril bus park where, if you’re staying in Negril for any length of time, you’ll find yourself more than a few times. Now, unless your hotel is in downtown Negril, you need a taxi to your hotel.

transportation in jamaica typical route taxi
Typical route taxi. Note: red license plate, checkered sticker running length of taxi, route name on the door.

Route Taxis from Negril Bus Park to your Hotel

If you’re staying near the cliffs on the west-end, you’ll need a West-End route taxi. If you’re staying on the beach, you’ll need a beach route taxi. Both are well marked and anyone at the Negril bus park will point you in the right direction.

negril route taxi
A clearly marked west-end route taxi.

Either route taxi will drop you at your location and the cost is only around $150 JMD ($1.20 USD). You just used cheap transportation in Jamaica to go door to door from the Montego Bay airport to your hotel in Negril, for less than $10 USD. That couple that arrived an hour earlier, on the shuttle, paid anywhere between $50-$80 USD.

How Affordable Transportation in Jamaica Differs from Other Countries

There are a few things you need to know about route taxis in Negril that differ from taxis in other countries.

  • There are no meters – all prices are fixed between one destination and another. If you’re in a west-end taxi all pick-ups and drop-offs along the west-end route cost around $150 JMD ($1 USD).
  • Route taxis won’t go off route – if you’re on the beach and want to go to the cliffs, it’s going to take two taxis; the beach taxi will drop you off downtown where you will catch a west-end taxi.
  • Route taxis aren’t private – the driver will stop and pick up everyone he can along his route. 
  • All fares are per person – if you are one person your fare in a beach route taxi will be $150 JMD ($1 USD). If you are a couple the same fare will be $300 JMD ($2 USD).
  • Not all taxis look the same – even if they’re from the same route each taxi may look different. All licensed taxis will have red license plates. Never get into an un-authorized taxi without red plates.

Understand the above rules for route taxis in Jamaica will make it much easier for you to get around.

Using Affordable Route Taxis to Get Around Negril, Jamaica

As a tourist, there are really only two routes you need to know about in Negril. Each route has its own route taxi service. Those routes are the beach route and the west-end route.

Negril Beach Route Taxis

These taxis run from the Northern-most resorts on the beach to the town center (sometimes called “downtown” or “the round-about”) along the beach road. No matter if you’re going from one end of the beach route to the other, or only two hotels away, the rate will always be the same; $150 JMD ($1 USD) per person.

negril beach road route taxi map
Negril Beach Taxi Route – From Bloody Bay in the North to Negril Town Center in the South.

Negril West-End Route Taxis

West-end taxis go from downtown all the way up to, and past, The Westender (it’s doubtful you will ever need to go farther than that). Again, the price is the same whether you go the entire route or only part of it; $150 JMD ($1 USD) per person. Get to the world-famous Rick’s Cafe for just $1 USD.

Negril West-End Taxi Route – From Negril Town Center in the North to Westender Inn to the South.

Hailing a Route Taxi in Negril

Getting a route taxi in Negril is unbelievably easy. Just figure out which direction you want to go, walk to that side of the road, and hold your hand out. That’s it. Chances are the driver will see you standing there and pull over before you even have a chance to raise your arm.

It is doubtful you will ever have to wait for more than a couple of minutes for a taxi to roll by.

Getting From the Beach Route to the West-End Route or Vice Versa

You now know how easy it is to travel along the beach or west-end in route taxis. What if you wanna go from the beach to the cliffs or vice versa? It’s still pretty easy. 

If you find yourself on the beach and feel like the cliffs on the west-end would be a nice change of scenery, it gets only slightly more complicated. Grab a beach route taxi and tell him to drop you off downtown so you can grab a west-end route taxi. He’ll know exactly where to drop you.

cliff jumping on the west end negril
Paul doing backflips off the west-end cliffs. It only cost $1 to get there from Negril Town Center in a route taxi.

Again, the cost of that taxi will be $150 JMD ($1 USD). The driver will most likely drop you off at a waiting west-end taxi. If not, just look around. In less than 30 seconds you’ll see a car with a red license plate and labeled “west-end route taxi” on the door. Just tell the driver where you want to go on the west-end and again the cost will be $150 JMD ($1 USD).

So, if your hotel is on the beach, and you wanted to go cliff jumping at Rick’s Cafe on the west-end, using route taxis that trip would cost you a whopping $2 USD. I’ve heard of people paying private taxis up to $25 for the same trip, sometimes more.

Now you know how to Use Affordable Transportation in Jamaica

Using the tips above you should be able to add quite a cushion to your Negril, Jamaica travel budget. Not only is using affordable transportation in Jamaica cheaper, but you’re able to get a feel for what it’s really like to live in Negril. Who knows? You may love it there so much you decide to never leave.

We lived in Negril for almost six months and fell in love with the city. If you’re interested in a little more info on what’s it’s like living in Negril, Jamaica, check out how our nomadic-AF adventure began in Negril, Jamaica.


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5 Replies to “Route Taxis & Buses Offer Affordable Transportation in Jamaica”

    1. Hi Cindy. Yes, Negril route taxis are still 150j. That’s for each leg though, 150j for the beach route, and 150j for the West End route. Just look for the cars with the red license plates. A couple of things though, these are shared taxis, not private. Also, the rates could as much as double in the evening. Always ask first to make sure at night. Have fun! It’s such a great country.

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