Newbie’s Guide: to driving across the island

 

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Driving to the “country” (as rural Jamaica is commonly referred to) for the first time can be a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the roads in that part of the island. We’ll give you some tips you need for the road, and we’ll share some pictures of our journey from Kingston to Trelawny and St. James.

 TIPS:

  1. Map exact location.  Ensure that you use a physical map, GPS or some other mapping device to locate your destination. (@JamNAV1 (a project of the UWI Mona Geoinformatics Institute) has done extensive work in mapping the island and their system is more accurate than Google Maps, since it was developed locally. Check their Twitter page for more information.)
  2. Find the best route.  It may be the fastest, or the most scenic wherever you want to go and whatever you want to see on the way will determine which route you take to your destination, We guarantee that all routes offer breathtaking views and beautiful scenery.
  3. Car charger.  It’s a device that is usually overlooked; But when going on journeys that will take anywhere between an hour and four hours it is necessary to ensure your phone’s battery is sufficiently charged. Tires can blow out, anything can happen on the road and you need to be able to make a phone call. Also, the charger becomes even more important if you are using an app on your smart phone to find your location.
  4. A little food. Carry a bottle of water or juice and perhaps a snack for the journey. This is especially important when travelling with children and the elderly. Any medical problems among passengers must be taken into consideration before the trip.
  5. Mints, Alcohol, Smelling salts? Now you may feel nauseous on the journey – motion sickness may get the better of you. Having mints (also the essence of peppermint oil), a bottle of smelling salts or some rubbing alcohol on board will ensure your trip goes smoothly. They’ll take care of that motion sickness in no time!
  6. Time. Take into account the time you need to arrive at your destination and how long it will take you to get there and leave your starting point within a reasonable time. In calculating how long it will take to arrive, factor in delays –  these delays could be road work, car trouble, the driver’s unfamiliarity with the directions and other eventualities.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask. Perhaps you’re lost, or rather, have lost your way due to some discrepancy with the mapping directions (for those who don’t like to admit they are lost)…don’t hesitate to ask any one you see on the road way for directions. Jamaicans are generally friendly people and will assist you in getting to your destination. However, if you are reluctant to speak to just anyone walking by, stop at a gas station or a restaurant (jerk centre, fruit stall or a shop) and ask someone there for directions.
  8. Keep your eyes peeled.  Take note of gas stations and food stops along the way. The more updated maps and mapping devices will show gas stations and restaurants. Be sure to take note of those. Pay keen attention to road signs also to ensure you’re travelling in the right direction.
  9. Check !  Check the papers (license, registration and fitness) for the vehicle and your own driver’ s license before embarking on your journey. You will always find a police officer on the way, ensure all documents are compliant so you will have no issues with them.
  10. Money. Money. Money. You have to make sure you have cash for the journey, to purchase any necessities but also for any “accidents” which may occur along the way.

Drive safely !

Photos from our trip:

Kingston —> Trelawny (Clark’s Town) —> St. James (Montego Bay)

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The trip from Kingston to Trelawny took 3 hours and 30 minutes (due to a minor delay) and from Clark’s Town in Trelawny it should be about 45 minutes to Montego Bay, but there was an oil spill the day we travelled so it greatly delayed the journey and took us almost 2 hours .

Lawrence Tavern, rural St.Andrew... on our way to Trelawny
Lawrence Tavern, rural St.Andrew… on our way to Trelawny
Entering Junction, St.Mary
Entering Junction, St.Mary
One parish down...one to go
One parish down…one to go
Driving through St.Mary
Driving through St.Mary
Heading towards Castleton Gardens
Heading towards Castleton Gardens
Road-side mansion
Road-side mansion
Just us and the open road - St. Mary
Just us and the open road – St. Mary
Whenever you're passing through St. Mary you have to stop here. Fried chicken  and everything you can think of !
Whenever you’re passing through St. Mary you have to stop here. Fried chicken and everything you can think of !
Stumbled upon some road work..delayed our journey but we used the time to make a few friends
Stumbled upon some road work..delayed our journey but we used the time to make a few friends
Coconut trees in St. Mary
Coconut trees in St. Mary
The open road, heading into St. Ann
The open road, heading into St. Ann
Jamaica is so beautiful
Jamaica is so beautiful
We see a bit of the Sea
We see a bit of the Sea
Boscobel, St. Mary
Boscobel, St. Mary
You know you're approaching St. Ann (tourist area) when you see tour buses on the road way
You know you’re approaching St. Ann when you see tour buses on the road way
Ocho Rios, St. Ann -  View of the harbour from the street
Ocho Rios, St. Ann – View of the harbour from the street
A popular tourist attraction
A popular tourist attraction
Firefighters hard at work in St. Ann ... they successfully extinguished a bush fire
Firefighters hard at work in St. Ann … they successfully extinguished a bush fire
Driving through beautiful St. Ann
Driving through beautiful St. Ann
Another popular tourist attraction... an open air museum in Discovery Bay, St.Ann
Another popular tourist attraction… an open air museum in Discovery Bay, St.Ann
We spent the day in Trelawny, then moved on to St. James the next morning
We spent the day in Trelawny, then moved on to St. James the next morning
Beach view
Beach view
Montego Bay, St. James - It was totally worth it
Montego Bay, St. James – It was totally worth it

Where In Ja will you be next?

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Good post. Nice pics. Would love to see more tips oriented to the actual trip though – where traffic is, which routes to avoid, what road might be bad, which intersection people may get confused, etc.

    1. whereinja says:

      Thank you for your feedback. We will have to do a more in-depth post soon.

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