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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    3

    Default First time to Couples - Can I forgo the bus shuttle?

    Hi!

    My wife & I are looking forward to our first trip to Couples in June. (We went with the Secret Rendezvous so we still don't know where we will end up.)

    I know Couples offers a bus from MBJ airport to the resort, but I am tempted to rent a car anyways so that we can leisurely explore a bit of the country on our way.

    Am I setting us up for a bad experience? I've never driven outside the US before, and am worried about the ease of finding our way to the resort, especially if there are any road closures/detours, etc.

    Aside from driving on the left side of the road, any other must-know info about driving in Jamaica?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,492

    Default

    If you've never driven outside the States, Jamaica should be the LAST place you take the plunge. We almost rented a car our first year, and I'm alive because we didn't.

    Honestly, we are considering it this year...6 trips later...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    338

    Default

    dont do it! Other than the shuttle being already included in the rate. The drivers in Jamaica are different than US. The roads are different and the left side is different not just driving on the left but how you enter and exit parkinglots is different. I would highly discourage it

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    314

    Default

    What must you know - DON'T DO IT! Try posting to Trip Advisor as you will get more people who travel independently to Jamaica there but the consensus among even seasoned Jamaican travelors is that driving in Jamaica is not for beginners.

    Amy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    322

    Default

    I'd suggest that instead of renting a car, you should hire a private driver. Not only will he know the way to your resort, he'll also know all of the good places to stop along the way.
    nobody's favorite poster

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    137

    Default

    Don't do it, take the bus and sit back and enjoy the sights on the way to the resort.They drive a little crazy in Ja and I would never rent a car.Leave it to the experts!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,295

    Default

    If you have never driven outside the U.S. before, let alone on the left side, I strongly advise you not to rent a car in Jamaica. Most of the rental cars are stick shifts - can you imagine how hard it is to drive and the left and do it with manual transmission? Many of the roads are not marked, not very condusive to "exploring." Some of the roads are also very narrow. If you want to explore, hire a taxi once you get to Couples. The concierge will find a driver for you that is reputable. It won't be any more expensive than a rental car, and you will be in good hands AND you won't have to worry about having a few cocktails then driving a car.

  8. #8

    Default Take the bus

    I have been to Jamaica a few times now, even back when the roads were pretty rough. I would neve rdrive down there. They drive on the opposite side as the US and they must take a different driving class, too, because they take a lot of risks. You really can't get lost going to the resorts, it's a straight shot from the airport, but you will take a risk by not driving like Jamaican's drive and probably cause yourself a lot of undue stress which may cause your vacation not to be as great as it should be.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    276

    Default

    I don't know that Jamaica would be the spot to try driving out of the US for the first time. They drive on the opposite side of the road and that can be a bit disorienting. Personally I would take the shuttle, sit back and relax, look out the windows at everything going on around you. To each his own but I think you would find your experience a lot more relaxing if you didn't have to worry about driving.

  10. #10

    Default

    I would be VERY afraid! You may get into this rental car with beautiful brown, black, red or blonde hair but I guarantee It'll be gray by the time you reach the resort if you attempt it yourself, not being an experienced drive-on-the left Jamaican driver. The bus ride is a great way to see the island between Mobay and your resort. If you feel the need to experience more of the island I suggest your hire a private driver.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,397

    Default

    I would say if your American, don't do it, most are not used to the different driving conditions and stick shift cars. You will get to see exactly the same areas on the bus and they offer a stop half way. It's a nice trip, just relax and enjoy.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,336

    Default

    I highly suggest you do NOT rent a car. There is more to Jamaican driving then just driving on the left hand side of the road. Their rules and culture of driving is completely different from the US. You would be taking your life into your own hands by doing so. The roads are not marked real well and you must know where you are going. It really isn't a good idea to drive yourself. You would just be asking for trouble.

    Just so you know, the bus ride isn't like a great big grey hound bus. It is a mini-van that can seat up to 5 couples. If you still don't want to do the shuttle ride, then you can hire a cab to take just you and your wife to the resort. It won't save you anytime to hire a cab.

    While you are at the resort, the tour desk will be happy to set up a driver for you to take you around the country.

    I'll state it one more time for emphasis, DO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF!
    Juliann & Jeff
    Jamaica Soon Come

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,157

    Default

    sailbb,

    If you've never driven out of the U.S. then you won't want to try driving in Jamaica. It's a combination of NASCAR and demolition derby without the wrecks. You're better off to ride the bus and leave the driving to them. The drive to CSA or CN can be a challenge with all sorts of road closures/detours and twists and turns. The road to CTI and CSS is better but I'd still ride the bus. You're on vacation so you may as well relax the entire way...including the trip to/from the resort. Plus the drivers can be very informative giving you info on Jamaica along the way.

    You're welcome,

    Bart & Bug

  14. #14

    Default

    take the bus or maybe timair to fly there. dont start your vacation by stressing on the drive. it is quite different and having seen major traffic issues around Mobay i am glad i am not driving. so just go, relax, meet some new folks on the bus and have a stress free vacation.

    Randy

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    266

    Default

    I would HIGHLY recommend letting someone else do the driving. It's more than just a left side of the road thing. Their whole driving style and driving etiquitte is different. No exaggeration, you are taking your life into your hands if you have no experience driving there. That's not to say it's a free for all, or it's madness. No. It's just that you need to know the local driving customs - the fact that they drive very fast, the passing etiquette, when to use your horn (as they don't relegate it's use to a "WTF!!!!" like we do in the States - it's a communications device there.).

    Really...REALLY..I wouldn't do it. Leave the driving to those with experience. The LAST thing you want is to get in an accident in Jamaica or end up in need of medical attention while there.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    708

    Default

    Yes, DON"T DO IT! YOU WILL DIE! Take the bus and be happy you will get there is one piece... Honest!!!!

  17. #17

    Default Shuttle answer

    We are heading back in late June for our 3rd year. We did the shuttle the first year, and then made friends with a local that also is a driver. He picked us up last year. I can give you his name and number if you want to email me.

    Advantage of shuttle is that once you get through security and get your luggage, there is not a long wait (if any) before the bus takes off to CSA. It's included in your price and they make no stops along the way (I've heard they will if enough folks ask for it), but free is good. You will pay a private guy around 70 to be picked up and taken, and you can be alone and have the flexibility to stop along the way for a cold red stripe or whatever else you need.

    It's just a matter of choice and what's important to you.

    Tom

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,336

    Default

    I would take the bus. If you want to go some place, it is best to take a taxi, they do not cost a lot and understand the road system. They will also keep you out of the areas that you should not be in. In Jamaica driving is nothing like the USA. They drive fast and pass when it is not what we would call safe.

    I have driven all over the world, and Jamaican drivers are some of the most interesting.
    Irie Mon

  19. #19

    Default

    I would not recommend it! Grab a Red Stripe from the Couples Lounge and enjoy the bus ride. The Red Stripe may help over come some of the things you may see and experience on the bus ride :-) Here are some things to that you may experience on Jamaican roads...people or vendors standing in the middle of the road with cars just missing them. They do not use their horns the same as in the states, it is more of a tool. Nisha, the woman who gave us the orientation at CSA mentioned the old "Why did the chicken cross the road?" She told us that in Jamaica, they don't even attempt to cross the road. She mentioned this as we went from the main resort area and crossed the road to the sports complex. When the crossing guard put his stop sign out, people would honk their horns to tell them nope, not stopping and whiz right on by us at a high rate of speed. So, enjoy the country from the bus view. You will see quite a bit of it. Plus, when you get to the resort, you will have enough to take in. Leave the driving up to the folks who are used to their style of driving :-)

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,032

    Default

    They have a very fast and aggressive style of driving. If you have never been there I would really suggest you don't try driving there. We had a lot of near misses on our last trip. We had to go into a ditch once to avoid hitting oncoming traffic when a lady walked across the highway. One major thing you need to know if you do drive is that it is totally an accepted practice to drive into oncoming traffic even if there is a car coming. You can pass people when there is a car coming at you and the car coming at you is expected to pull off to the side of the road. You will probably have this happen a few dozen times on the way from the airport to the resort. They pass when other cars are really close and the other car pulls over at the very last minute. This means people will pass and be coming right at you and you are going to have to pull over because they are not going to slow down. Being as though we are not used to this at all I would assume most drivers would panic in this situation, at least the first few times. It's probably not going to be leisurely at all. I think the best way to relax and see Jamaica is to sit towards the back of the bus, ignore the traffic and just look around. I am also not sure where you would be able to park once you get to the resort. For all I know this isn't even allowed. They bus most of the employees in so there isn't really a lot of space for parking.

  21. #21

    Default

    Sailbb,
    If you have never been to Jamaica before, I would not rent a car. A horn here means get out of the way, I am coming thru.The roads are not very well marked and I wouldn't want ti get lost in the mountains.
    You can pay for TrimAir and get there in about 15 Min.
    The bus is part of the fun. You meet other couples that you will be sharing your vacation with and also see things that you woundn't if you drive.This will be our 6th trip and we look forward to the ride. We may have the bus to ourselfs this time as we should be in MOBAY at 8:30 AM.
    Welcome to our Couples Klan.I am sure that this trip will be a first in the many you will make to Couples.

    Relax, enjoy and we know you will have the best experience of your lives!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    772

    Default

    Honestly: Don't do it. Driving in Jamaica is a bit like driving in Buenos Aires or Rome. (two of the scariest places i've been driven....) They not only drive on the left side, they drive quickly, and pass frequently. They also have a complex system of honks that signify different things and to the uninitiated, it is impossible to decipher.

    Take the bus to the resort. If you like, hire a car for the day to drive you around. It's not expensive, and it's much more relaxing. Trust me.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Wow! Thanks for all the great responses... it seems like the consensus on this one is pretty clear. I will definiately take the advice from you folks who know, and use the bus. If we feel like exploring during our trip, we can always hire a driver.
    Thanks!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    422

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bearso View Post
    Yes, DON"T DO IT! YOU WILL DIE! Take the bus and be happy you will get there is one piece... Honest!!!!

    LMAO!! Best response in the whole thread. And advice which I totally agree with!!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,988

    Default

    And fyi...

    There IS an option to the bus... you can contact the Couples Concierge on-line and arrange for a private transfer (at extra cost). Since you were willing to rent a vehicle, perhaps you'd also be willing to pop for the PT.
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


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