No matter which Couples resort you are staying at – or any resort in Jamaica – you will need a bus or private taxi get to your final destination.
Couples provides this transportation for free from Montego Bay and uses private contractors driving small buses that hold about 12 people. Normally the bus is not jammed full as they try to limit the bus to 4-5 couples.
You will pick up the free bus from The Couples Lounge at Montego Bay Airport.
If you are arriving at Kingston International – you will need to provide your own private transportation to the resorts.
After a short wait in the Couples Lounge, they will call your bus and have you identify your bags to make sure they are going with you to the resort.
After identifying your stuff, the Red Cap Porters will escort your bags to the waiting bus. They will expect $1 per bag.
Loading the bus takes just a few minutes and very quickly you are on your way.
Get to Know Jamaica
If your bus driver is good, he will have the Reggae music already playing and will be welcoming you to Jamaica – asking where you’re from and if this is your first visit etc. and overall getting you pumped up for your vacation.
If the driver does not have any Reggae playing – don’t be shy to ask him to turn it on. Sometimes the people on the bus ride just want to sit in silence but many times they are all just too shy to ask.
During the ride, your driver will point out interesting things along the way and will ask if you have any questions.
The drive takes about 1 & 1/2 hours to Negril and about 1 & 3/4 hours to Ocho Rios.
If you are getting dropped off at a Couples Resort, know that Couples Negril and Couples Sans Souci get dropped off first – so if you are staying at Couples Tower Island or Couples Swept Away then you will have to wait a few minutes while they stop to drop the first group off.
The drive is very pretty with many spots to see the ocean, the mountains and several small towns along the way.
Do You Stop?
The driver will give your group the option of stopping to use the restroom or keep going.
We always ask to stop because the Red Stripes we had at the Couples Lounge will hit you hard around the one hour mark.
We usually stop at a small bar/restaurant about 60 minutes into the ride. They have a few items to purchase including Red Stripe and snacks. If you’re lucky, the driver has stopped at a place where you can purchase local herbs – don’t worry if not, you’ll have plenty of opportunities.
What About Those Unfinished Houses?
Driving along and seeing all of these seemingly abandoned, and partially finished houses and wondering what is going on?
Jamaicans have a different philosophy when it comes to building their dream house and it’s quite impressive and very smart when you consider the alternatives.
Instead of taking out a huge loan from the bank and paying interest on a finished house for years. Many Jamaicans instead choose to build their houses piece by piece as they make their money.
Thus, it is common to see a completed 1st story of a house with rebar and possibly a few walls of the 2nd story complete.
You may also see concrete shells of very large houses as they are building each section piece by piece as time and money allow.
This may seem haphazard (my HOA would not approve!) but it’s very smart as no bank can come along and take away their house.
If you look along the road you may see herds of goats. They use these to help rid the side of the road of weeds and vegetation.
Are we There Yet?
If traveling to Ocho Rios, you will know you are getting close when you see the Bauxite port/plant and the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal.
You will pass through the town of Ocho Rios, then cross the White River – just past the White River is Couples Sans Souci.
About a 7-10 minute ride from Sans Souci is Couples Tower Island.
If traveling to Negril, you will know you are getting close when the road goes totally flat and straight and you’re surrounded by trees. Up until then you will be navigating coves and bays with windy, hilly roads with long views of the ocean and mountains.
The first stop is Couples Negril.
Couples Swept Away is a 5 minutes bus ride.
Tip Your Driver!
While Couples does have a NO Tipping policy for their employees, the bus driver is not a Couples employee.
While it is not required, we happily tip our driver more when he is courteous, safe, tells us interesting things along the way and engages with us in some way.
The driver will NOT be aggressive about collecting a tip and we choose to tip them out of respect for a job well done.
Other Transportation Options/Getting Around while at the Resort
It is possible to rent a car, but know this – Jamaicans drive on the wrong side of the road! Just kidding – it seems wrong if you live in the US, but Jamaica was a British Colony up until the island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. For this reason, Jamaicans still follow British road rules and drive on the left side of the road. Take this into account if you plan on renting a car.
You can also hire a private taxi and will need to do this if you are flying into Kingston International Airport.
The typical cost for a private taxi from the airport is $140+ – not including tip.
Fly To Ocho Rios or Negril
There are private charter planes that will take you from Montego Bay Airport and will have you at Ocho Rios or Negril in just under an hour. Not much of a time savings as you still have to take a taxi from the local airport to the resort, but it can be a nice, romantic addition to a luxury vacation.
Ha! just seeing if you’re still paying attention. Those really are your only options as there really isn’t any public transportation in Jamaica and things are very spread out so walking is not an option except along 7 mile beach.
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OMG!! This site is AMAZING!! Just stumbled upon it this morning while checking out the Couples Message Board. Thank you…