- For other places with the same name, see Kingston (disambiguation).
Kingston, the capital and largest city of Jamaica, nestled on the southeastern coast of the island.
Kingston is the commercial and cultural capital of Jamaica with nearly a million people calling the city home.
At one point, it was the only city in Jamaica. The city is assigned the equivalent of postal codes, (Kingston 5, Kingston 10, etc.) which is a good representation of how truly large this city is, especially for an island such as Jamaica. There are two major sections to this city: 'downtown' and 'uptown,' also referred to as 'New Kingston.'
In Greater Kingston more than 1.2 million people live on a plain between the sea and the mountains rising up to 2,250 m above sea level. Since 1872 the city is the seat of government. Kingston can be divided into Downtown, Midtown, Uptown, East Kingston, West Kingston and villa areas in the mountains.
Downtown is the historical old town with a chessboard layout of streets. The south used to be the harbour, but it was remodelled in the 1960s, and today there are bank and government buildings at the sea. A bit north from there is the parade place with a theatre on its northern side. Towards the end of the last century the vacant space was turned into the present-day William Grant Park with trees and benches. In the north this district is delimited by a former oval race track. This track has been turned into the National Heros Park with memorials and governmental buildings.
Midtown is made up of New Kingston and bordering districts. This new part of the city was planned after Jamaican independence and is mostly made up of high-rises. Here are banks, insurance companies, embassies, hotels, the botanical gardens, the zoo and the university complex. In between is the Jamaica House and King's House, the residences of the general governor and the prime minister. Here are also the Bob Marley Museum and the Devon House, a well-preserved mansion from 1881, nowadays housing a museum, as well as shops and restaurants.
Uptown is a dormitory suburb, north of the Washington Boulevard, which in turn is the main artery leading to Spanish Town. The most notable attraction here is the private Constant Spring Golf Club.
East Kingston is a dangerous part of the city between Mountain View Avenue and Up Park Camp. Here shootouts between drug dealers occur frequently. Up Park Camp is the headquarters of the Jamaican Army.
West Kingston on both sides of Spanish Town Road is made famous through the Bob Marley song "Trench Town Rock", and infamous for its gang wars with many victims. On one side there are industries, fuel storages, a power plant, the new container harbour, the regional airport Tinson Pen, the Red Stripe brewery and rum warehouse. On the other side, between Trench Town and Washington Boulevard is a shantytown. The huts are regularly demolished by the government, though they don't build social housing to the extent that it's needed.
The affluent live in the north of the city in gated communities with big gardens. Names of the communities include Beverly Hills, Cherry Gardens, Cedar Valley, Plantation Heights and Sterling Castle.
The first settlement in the area was established in 1509 by the Spanish on a peninsula in front of Kingston and named Caguay or Cabuaya, like the native Taino name for the area. It remained a small settlement until 1655, when the English conquered Jamaica and set up the city and fortification of Port Royal on the same place, and it quickly grew into the largest city in the Caribbean and perhaps its most notorious base for pirates and privateers.
However the 7 June 1692 earthquake meant the end of Port Royal – 3/4 of its inhabitants were killed and most of the city sank into the sea. The survivors established Kingston on the mainland, and in a few decades it became the island's most populous city and an important trade centre for goods from the plantations inland.
In 1872, the island government was moved from Spanish Town to Kingston, which for a long time had been a more important city. In 1907 another major earthquake destroyed much of Kingston, and as such few buildings from before that has survived.
The 1960s were an economically good time for the newly-independent Jamaica and Kingston saw rapid development with the district of New Kingston emerging and the waterfront being remodelled from a harbour to its current shape. Kingston also hosted the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games and the 1966 Commonwealth Games. Nevertheless, an economical downturn in the 1970s brought with it both political and gang-related violence.
In the 21th century, the situation has improved, and tourism has become one of the city's most important industries. Many visit the city including without any issues, even on guided tours to the birthplaces of reggae which include Trenchtown and other parts of the city unwise to visit on your own.
Kingston's climate is like most of the Caribbean - tropical with constant warm weather and distinct dry and wet seasons. The latter covers May to November, and at that time of the year hurricanes is a risk. As the city is in the rain shadow of the Blue Mountains, notably less rain fall than on the north coast.
- 1 Jamaica Tourist Board, 64 Knutsford Boulevard (New Kingston), ☏ +876 929-9210-16, +876 929-9200.
Since 1992, there has been no passenger rail traffic to Kingston.
- 1 Norman Manley International Airport (KIN IATA) (in the southeastern part of the island, overlooking Kingston Harbour on the Palisadoes peninsula), ☏ +1-888-247-7678. Served by Air Canada, Air Jamaica, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Delta, and a number of Caribbean airlines. Be prepared for queues at the airport, to clear immigration and customs, which are fairly strict. It is important that you know where you will be staying and write it down on your immigration form.
- There are taxi vans between the airport and town - one person US$28; a group US$33, potentially negotiable. Payment can be in US dollars. The cheapest way is to take bus 98 straight to the Parade in downtown Kingston for J$80. The bus stop outside the arrivals terminal is for bus 98 going towards Port Royal. Just past the bus stop is where bus 98 stops on its way to downtown.
- 2 Kingston Tinson Pen (KTP IATA). There is a smaller airport closer to downtown, but there is no longer any regular passenger service to it.
Island Rental Cars has offices at the NMIA airport, in downtown Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, and will allow you to do one-way rentals. Remember to drive on the left!
- Highway 2000 — one of Jamaica's highways, run through St. Ann Parish to Kingston.
- North South Highway — runs from the north of the island to the south. Taxicabs can be taken from the south to Kingston.
Regular bus service in Jamaica costs J$80-100. Air-conditioned buses (in yellow with the Jamaican flag at the front) cost J$150 (children under 12 J$50).
Intercity buses travel along National Highways. The A1 comes in from Spanish Town, and A4 from Morant Bay. Buses on the north coast travel along the coastal road until Saint Ann's Bay or Ocho Rios, and then across the island to Spanish Town.
Kingston has an extensive and modern bus system. The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) runs the bus system for the government, while private contractors also run the same routes. There are also minibuses and route taxis which are very affordable. Whenever in doubt, ask a bus driver how to get somewhere or where to find a certain bus; they are generally very helpful.
Public transit generally goes through one or more of the three central transportation hubs.
- Downtown (Parade and the downtown Kingston Transport Centre). Keep a tight hold of your bags as petty theft is possible as in any large metropolis.
- The ultra-modern Half-Way Tree Transport Centre (HWT) in uptown Kingston is generally a safer area, but there are less buses.
- Cross Roads an older, congested hub not suggested for tourists.
All official taxis have red license plates that start with PPV.
Route Taxis (a taxi that has a set route and picks up multiple people along it) are also common and often mirror bus routes and are not much more expensive than buses. These are a bit more complicated to get used to, so ask for help.
Charter Taxis (normal taxis) - negotiate a price before getting in the car. Fares range from J$400 to J$5,000 for long routes.
With some practice, bravery, and chutzpah you can rent a car (Island Rent a car allows for one-way car rental). Local rental companies include Caribbean Car Rentals[dead link], Fiesta Car Rentals, Island Car Rentals and Kosmo Car Rental.
Driving in Kingston, you should be familiar with the ten most important streets to find your way around. There are many one way streets (some without signs) and even more traffic lights. Take a good map and be willing to ask (and keep asking to get a consensus) for directions along the way. It's not safe to drive in the countryside after dark. If you get in a wreck/hit someone, drive to the nearest police station.
- 1 Devon House, 26 Hope Rd, ☏ +1 876 926-0815. The Mansion is open M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM, the courtyard 10AM-6PM, and the gardens are open daily 9:30AM-10PM. One of the best example of Jamaican architecture, the Devon House was built by George Stiebel, the nation's first black millionaire. Much of the interior furniture is not original, but it upholds the 19th Century mansion style. The courtyard has craft shops, a few restaurants, and the most famous ice cream shop on the island. J$700 for a tour of the mansion. Entry to garden and shops is free.
- 2 National Gallery of Jamaica, 12 Ocean Blvd, ☏ +1 876 922-1561. Tu-Th 10AM-4:30PM, F 10AM-4PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. The museum features artwork by Jamaicans from throughout its history, from the native Taino Indians through the colonial period to works by modern artists. The gallery hosts its annual National Visual Arts Exhibition, which began in 1963 as a way to promote post-colonial art and to showcase the works of rising artists from Jamaica. Entrance fees are waved during the exhibition period. J$100, students and senior citizens over 65 may enter for J$50.
- 3 Gordon House, 81 Duke Street. The seat of the Jamaican upper and lower houses, parliament and legislature. This modest building was finished in 1960 and named after the national hero George William Gordon, elected as a member of the island administration in the mid-18th century. The building can be visited by prior appointment.
- 4 Headquarter House (Hibbert House, Headquarter House), 79 Duke Street, ☏ +876 922-1287-88, fax: +876 967-1703. First built as a residence for Thomas Hibbert, a wealthy merchant and later the Speaker of the House of Assembly. The War Office of the West Indies Regiment bought the house in 1814, and it served as a army headquarters and residence for the commanding general. In 1872 it was sold to the colonial administration, whereafter the parliament functioned here until 1960 when it moved to the new Gordon House across the street. The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) office has been in the house since 1983, and visitors are welcome.
- 5 Ward Theatre. The massive white and blue theatre building north of the William Grant Park is definitely an eyecatcher. The neoclassical building is the third theater building standing on this place and was gifted to the city by rum magnate Colonel Charles J. Ward in 1912. The theatre is a national heritage site and has more than 800 seats with its interior hardly changed since its inauguration. However, not much else has been renovated either, and the building is in a quite bad condition. The population of downtown do not really have a relationship to the cultural side of this building whereas the richer inhabitants avoid the surroundings at nighttime.
- 6 University of the West Indies (UWI). This university was established in 1948 on the grounds of the former Mona and Papine sugar plantations. Sights on the campus are the Hope plantage aqueduct build in 1758 and the university's chapel built from stones from the Gayle plantation in Falmouth.
- 7 Rock Fort. Three centuries ago, this was the eastern end of the harbour. Rock Fort was established in 1694 as a protection against the French, and it was enlarged over the course of the 18th century. Now the ruins of it stand along the highway. Next to the ruins there's a mineral bath (Rockfort Mineral Bath) in a source that emerged in the 1907 earthquake.
- 8 Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Rd, ☏ +1 876 927-9152. M-Sa, tours last 1 hr, including a 20-min film. The first tour begins at 9:30AM and the last tour at 4PM. Filled with tons of memorabilia and Bob Marley's personal belongings, this museum was Bob Marley's recording studio and was his home until his death in 1981. The house is a preserved historical site; even the bullet holes from the attempted murder of Bob Marley remain. Every visitor will be added to a tour upon entry. residents J$500, non-residents US$20 (credit cards accepted).
- 9 Currency Museum (Coin and Notes Museum), Ocean Boulevard. M–F 9AM–2PM. In the Bank of Jamaica Building there's a museum showcasing the history of Jamaican money. There's a collection of old coins in banknotes on display.
- 10 Arawak Museum (Taino Museum), White Marl, Central Village. A small museum with artifacts and information about the original inhabitants of the island, the Arawak (or Taino) Indians.
- 11 Trenchtown Culture Yard Museum, 6 & 8 1st St. In the southern corner of Kingston's most (in)famous neighbourhood there's a museum where you can learn about the district, and the musicians behind the style of music that was born there in the 1960s – reggae.
- 12 [dead link] National Heroes Park. Originally this was the horse race track of Kingston and as such also goes by the names Racecourse or George VI Memorial Park. In the southern end of the park, there's a big memorial stone, and it's the burial place of the national heroes Marcus Garvey, Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley. There are statues of Paul Bogle, Simon Bolivar, and the Cuban general Antoneo Maceo. On the southern end of the park there are the ministries of finance and education.
- 13 William Grant Park. Former parade ground with a colourful history. In 1694 a fortification was built on this place, with the guns aimed at the harbour. It was torn down in 1870 and the place was turned into a parade ground, named Victoria Park after the queen. A statue of Queen Victoria was placed here, in addition to a gallows. In 1977 the park got its current name, and the queen's statue was joined by statues of Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley. In the end of the 1980s the parade grounds were remodelled into a park.
- 14 Hope Botanical Gardens. 08:30-18:30. The Largest Botanical Garden in the Caribbean. The garden gets its name from the man Richard Hope who helped capture Jamaica for Great Britain and was given the property to reward him for his faithfulness to the Crown. Hope established a sugar plantation here. In 1758 the first stone aqueducts were built here, channeling the water of the Hope River and still part of the city's water supply system. In 1881 the government bought a part of the plantation and set up the botanical garden, much of which was first used as an experimental farm. Here new species of sugarcane, coffee, cocoa and pineapple was grown. Until the 1907 earthquake it was possible to travel here by tram from the city centre. Queen Elizabeth II visited the park in 1953 and since that "Royal" has been part of its name. There's a small zoo and a restaurant in the park. The garden has seen better days, but the zoo has been renovated and expanded. Free.
- 15 Hope Zoo (Next to the Botanical Gardens). 10AM-5PM. See animals from many parts of the world; mammals, birds and reptiles from iguanas to emus and lions to bobcats. J$1500 adults, J$1000 children.
- 16 Emancipation Park. Offers free concerts occasionally in the summer and during the Christmas. The six-acre park includes fountains and public art. The park is known for the large sculpture Redemption Song at the park's main entrance.Redemption Song, which takes its name from Bob Marley's song of the same name, is an 11-ft-high (approximately 3 m) bronze sculpture by Jamaican artist Laura Facey. The sculpture features a male and female figure gazing to the skies – symbolic of their triumphant rise from the horrors of slavery. The statue was unveiled in July 2003, in time for the park's first anniversary. The park is in New Kingston, opened on 31 July 2002, the day before Emancipation Day. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson's address to open the park he acknowledged that the park is a commemoration of the end of slavery. Even though the park doesn't provide food and drink, except ice-cream, restaurants and cafés are nearby.
- 17 Lime Cay. Beach off the coast of Port Royale must take a boat from Port Royal fisherman or the hotel to island. Island is famous as the location for final scene in The Harder they Come. Crowded party spot on the weekends with food and drink available for purchase, much more sedate and often deserted on weekdays. You can camp overnight if you arrange a next-day pickup time, but be careful, as you can't exactly swim to shore!
- 18 Port Royal. Once known as the "Richest and wickedest city in the world", Port Royal was a notorious pirate haven in the 17th century. The most famous privateer (basically a pirate, but licensed by the British crown) who operated from Port Royal was Sir Henry Morgan who plundered Spanish vessels travelling in the Caribbean and even sacked Panama City. The city prospered as the pirates gathered riches, but a strong earthquake struck the area in 1692 sinking many ships in the harbour, killing many people, and leaving much of the city under the sea. Some claimed the quake was God's punishment for the evildoers of Port Royal. This disaster helped to establish Kingston as the new capital, and many of the survivors moved to Kingston.
Although most of the buildings at the port today are not the original buildings, the walls of Fort Charles have been preserved since the rebuilding two years after the earthquake, Saint Peter's Church built in the early 18th century, and the ruins of Fort Rocky remain. There is also a museum to learn more about the history and see artifacts from its heyday.
- 1 Spartan Health Club, 9 Lady Musgrave Road, New Kingston, ☏ +876 927-7575. Gym.
- 2 Constant Spring Golf Club, 192 Constant Spring Road, ☏ +876 755-2066, +876 924-1610. 18-hole golf course, designed by Scotsman Stanley Thompson in 1920. Par 70, 6,096 yards. Clubhouse, bar, restaurant, pool, tennis court, equipment shop. Green fee US$35, caddy US$9.
- 3 Royal Jamaican Yacht Club, Palisadoes Park, ☏ +876 924-8685-86. 120 berths, 3-ton crane, pool, restaurant and bar, fuel and water.
Outside Kingston is the wreck of Cayman Trader at a depth of 10-17 m. It sank more than 30 years ago and is still in a good condition. In the main shipping lane to the inner harbour, on 19 July 1944, HMT Texas sank after colliding with a British warship. This wreck lays at a depth of 30 m. At the horseshoe-shaped reef you can see many anchors and cannons, though sharks regularly also seen.
- 4 The National Stadium, Arthur Wint Drive (Independence Park), ☏ +876 929-4970. Built for the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games, with 35,000 seats. Mainly used for association football, concerts.
- 5 Sabina Park, South Camp Road, ☏ +876 967-0322. Cricket Arena, 30,000 seats.
- 6 The Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Drive, Cross Roads, ☏ +876 926-6129. 600 seats.
- 7 Ward Theatre, North Parade, Downtown, ☏ +876 922-0453. 1,000 seats
- Blue Mountain Coffee from the supermarket for cheap or get premium beans direct from the JABLUM manufacturers or craft/single estate roasters. Look into Rum Roast and Royals at Devon House for some better selections.
- Hot sauces. Jamaica is famous for its hot sauces, with the major ingredient being the Scotch Bonnet Pepper, found throughout the island. Supermarkets have a bewildering selection of such sauces, from several producers.
- Jerk spice powder. Make your own jerk chicken when you get home.
There are a lot of places to shop in Kingston. Even here in the biggest city of Jamaica you can see baskets, woodwork and colourful fabric being sold at the streetside, as well as fruits and vegetables from lorries.
There are also a lot of small malls, usually containing a dozen of shops, a supermarket and a restaurant or two. Concentrations of these are along Washington Boulevard (the main road from Spanish Town), Constant Spring Road (west of New Kingston, running north-south, here you will find a lot of them), and Hope Road (north of New Kingston, running west-east, and onwards to the university). There are also a few malls in New Kingston. In Downtown, King Street from Saint William Grant Park to the sea is lined with shops.
- 1 Kingston Craft Market, 174 Harbour St. Handicraft and souvenirs are what they sell here, both Jamaican traditional craft and touristy items like t-shirts.
- 2 Coronation Market, Pechon St. On weekends, where you can buy fruit and vegetables from across the island.
Restaurants usually serve only Jamaican food, though eating out is usually affordable. If you fancy something else, there are some Indian restaurants and a few more Chinese restaurants.
- Jerk, curried, fricasséed or brown stew chicken, pork or fish
- Escoveitch fish—Warning, spicy!
- Ackee and saltfish (codfish) -- the national dish of Jamaica
- Curried mutton (goat)
- Fruit: Mangoes, sugar cane, paw-paw (papaya), guava, June plum, jackfruit, star apples, guinep, naseberries...
- Roasted corn
- Bammy Cakes. 5-inch diameter cakes made from cassava.
- Patties from a bakery (The Brick Oven at Devon House makes excellent curried chicken patties, and both Juici and Tastee are "fast food" patty restaurants. In Liguanea there's a vegetarian/vegan patty restaurant, across the parking lot from the Wendy's
- Devon House I Scream (ice cream)
- Local fastfood chains Tastee Patty, Juici Patties, Mother's have restaurants all around Kingston. They mostly serve "patties", though Mother's also does hamburgers and fried foods.
- Island Grill - upmarket Jamaican fast food and jerk with a dozen or so locations around Kingston.
- Jerk pans - see them on the street smelling good - get jerked chicken, rice and peas!
- 1 Chilito's, 88 Hope Road, ☏ +876 978-0537. M – Sa noon-10PM. Mexican and vegetarian. around US$10.
- 2 China Garden, 6 Dominica Drive, New Kingston, ☏ +876 929-7458, fax: +876 968-1846. M–Sa 11:30AM–9PM, Su noon–7PM. Chinese cuisine. around US$10.
- 3 Stanford & Earl's Juice Garden, Haining Road, New Kingston, ☏ +876 920-1677, fax: +876 906-4287. M-Sa 7AM-6:30 PM. Vegetarian restaurant. up to US$10.
- Every twist and turns you make, you may see many Asian restaurants, e.g. Chinese restaurants, Japanese restaurants (Little Tokyo) and Indian restaurants.
- 4 Bamboo Village, The Village Plaza, Constant Spring Road, ☏ +876 929-2389. M–Sa 11:30AM – 10PM, Su 10AM-10PM. Chinese restaurant. US$10-15.
- 5 Dragon Court, Dragon Centre, 10 South Avenue, Half-Way-Tree, ☏ +876 920-8477, fax: +876 960-0786. M-F noon-10PM, Sa-Su 10AM-10PM. Chinese restaurant. US$10-15.
- 6 Golden Bowl, 7 Cargill Avenue, Half-Way-Tree, ☏ +876 929-8556, fax: +876 926-2001. M-Sa 11AM – 9PM, Su noon-7PM. Chinese restaurant. US$10-15.
- 7 One Love Cafe, Hope Road (Bob Marley Museum), ☏ +876 631-1309. M–Sa 9:30AM–4:30PM. Simple Jamaican cuisine. US$10-15.
- 8 Redbones Blues Cafe, 1 Argyle Road, Kingston 10, ☏ +1 876 978-6091. Jazz & Blues-themed Caribbean fusion cuisine restaurant & bar. Cultural watering hole with live music & art gallery.
- 9 Norma's on the Terrace, Devon House (At the back of the Devon House mansion in the shopping area.). Closed Sundays. Excellent upmarket restaurant with a fusion of Western and Jamaican cooking. Eat outside at large tables with very decorative flower arrangements.
- 10 White Bones Seafood, 1 Mannings Hill Rd. M-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 2-10PM. Highly recommended, but expensive, fish and seafood joint. Tuesdays are all-you-can-eat shellfish nights. J$3,000.
- 11 Noodles by East Japanese (East Japanese Restaurant), 67 Constant Spring Road, ☏ +876 960-3962, fax: +876 960-3594. M-Th noon-11PM, F 5PM-3AM, Sa noon-10PM, Su noon-11PM. Japanese cuisine.
- 12 Rib Kage Bar & Grill, 29 Barbican Road, ☏ +1 876-778-7427. Tu-Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM, Su 11:30AM-4PM. Steakhouse.
Drink Red Stripe and Appleton Rum. If you've got the guts, try some Wray & Nephew overproof white rum (locals refer to it as "whites"): a drink that is usually around 120 proof.
There's also refreshing coconut water, cane juice, sorrel (only served around Christmas time), Irish Moss, and tamarind drink or genuine Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (according to experts it is perhaps the best tasting, most expensive and most sought after coffee in the world). You can get premium beans from Rum, Roast and Royals in the Devon House complex.
Good bars include Red Bones Blues Café (also a good restaurant).
Kingston is the host of many great clubs. Found in New Kingston, there are many clubs that party until the early morning hours.
- 1 The Deck, 14 Trafalgar Rd, New Kingston. Popular watering hole mainly patronised by those over 30. Disco and live music and excellent bar snacks.
- 2 Mingles Bar and Lounge, 85 Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston (Courtleigh Hotel), ☏ +876 929-9000.
- 1 The Liguanea Club, Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston, ☏ +1 876 968-3483. 38 rooms, air conditioned unit, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, fitness room/gym, 8 tennis courts, 6 squash courts and a swimming pool. From US$75.
- 2 Indies Hotel, 5 Holborn Rd, Kingston 10, ☏ +1 876 926-2952. Guest house. 15 rooms with AC and TV. Breakfast restaurant and bar in the inner yard, restaurant across the street. The hotel has been owned by the same family for more than 50 years.
- 3 Altamont Court Hotel, 1-5 Altamont Terrace, New Kingston, ☏ +1 876 929-5931, fax: +1 876 929-2118. 58 rooms and suites. All rooms have balcony, shower, internet access, air condition, safe and TV. Rates include breakfast. US$110.
- 4 Christar Villas Hotel, 99a Hope Rd, Kingston 6, ☏ +1 876 978-3933. Fascinating mid-range Jamaican hotel with a wide range of facilities and Jamaican mojo. 22 suites and studios, Palm restaurant, Vibes Sportsbar, pool, gym, jacuzzi, 4 conference rooms US$115.
- 5 Four Seasons Hotel, 18 Ruthven Road, New Kingston, ☏ +876 929-7655, fax: +876 929-5964. 19 standard rooms and 57 deluxe rooms. Two bars, pool, gym, three conference rooms. Restaurant with German cuisine.
- 6 Courtleigh Hotel & Suites, 85 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, ☏ +1 876 929-9000. Mahogany furnishings in a traditional Caribbean style. Usual amenities for business travellers. Mingles Pub is a popular meeting place and Alexander's restaurant has a good reputation. Offers handicapped access. 88 rooms and 30 suites. Pool, gym (24 hr open), conference room, Mingles night club.
- 7 Wyndham Kingston, 77 Knutsford Boulevard, ☏ +1 876 926-5430. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Reports suggest that it has seen many better days and lost its former Hilton franchise. Breakfasts not included in price and are expensive. Internet extremely unreliable. US$89 and up.
- 8 The Knutsford Court Hotel, 16 Chelsea Ave, Kingston 5, ☏ +1 876 929-1000. 170 room, newly refurbished. Bar, restaurant, pool, fitness centre.
- 9 Spanish Court Hotel, 1 Saint Lucia Ave, Kingston 5. New hotel, with gym, swimming pool, etc. The architect seems to have almost forgotten windows in some of the rooms at the back, however, and others are a bit noisy if you want an early night. A business rather than a tourist hotel. Excellent internet, both Wi-Fi and cable, and a good restaurant. US$140 + tax.
- 10 Pegasus, 81 Knutsford Blvd, ☏ +1 876 926-3691. Arguably Kingston's major hotel. In the New Kingston area close to most offices. 300 rooms and suites. Pool, souvenir store, fitness centre, 9 conference rooms, two floodlit tennis courts, wellness centre. 17-floor building, accessible for disabled guests. Multiple restaurants. Rates quoted on the web site start at US$300 but significant discounts are available.
- 11 Terra Nova Hotel, 17 Waterloo Road, Kingston 10, ☏ +1 876 926-9334, [email protected]. Definitely a splurge hotel the Terra Nova advertises itself as an "All Suite" hotel. Convenient location, good service and a highly regarded kitchen. 35 suites. Gaming lounge, two restaurants, two bars, pool, boutique, fitness centre (24 hr open), conference rooms. From US$200.
Digicel and Flow have 3G and 4G coverage all over the Kingston urban area. Moreover there are Internet cafés here and there.
Kingston has more crime than the rest of the island and it is one of the most dangerous cities in the world when measured by the murder rate. These mostly take place among members of organized crime, but occasionally others including tourists, end up in the line of fire.
While the Trench Town section of Kingston does have an interesting history, nevertheless no visitor should dare go there unless they're part of a goodwill tour or something similar with a high level of pre-arranged security. The average tourist going there would be signing his or her death warrant. Common-sense and precaution should ensure a pleasant experience in the safer areas of the city, though. After dark, only use cars to get around or stay at your place of abode. If you find yourself in need of the police, the emergency number is 119. Police corruption can also be an issue in the city.
Tourists, especially white tourists, tend to stick out and garner lots of attention, not all of it positive. Hissing and cat calls at women (even accompanied ones) is common. Replying to overzealous touts with "No badda (bother) me" can help.
Homosexuality is not condoned and can elicit violent reactions.
Embassies and High Commissions
- 2 Belgian Embassy, 6 St Lucia Avenue, ☏ +1 876 7547903, +1 876 3827850 (emergency number for Belgian citizens), [email protected].
- Canada High Commission, 3 West Kings House Rd, ☏ +1 876 926-1500, fax: +1 876 733-3493. M-Th 7:30AM-4:30PM, F 7:30AM-1PM.
- China, 8 Seaview Ave, Kingston 10, ☏ +1 876 927-3871, fax: +1 876 927-6920, [email protected].
- 3 French Embassy.
- Japan, NCB Towers, North Tower, 6F, 2 Oxford Rd, ☏ +1 876 929-3338, fax: +1 876 968-1373.
- United Kingdom, 28 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 10, ☏ +1 876 936 0700.
- 4 United States, 142 Old Hope Rd, Liguanea area, ☏ +1 876 702-6000, [email protected].
- Blue Mountains (Jamaica)
- Organize an overnight climb of Blue Mountain. Many outfits will come and pick you up from in town for an additional fee.
- Visit the Gap Café and Strawberry Hill in the Blue Mountains
- Hellshire Beach - A taste of the authentic Jamaican beach going experience
- Lime Cay - an uninhabited island beach with snorkelling opportunities, reachable from Port Royal for cheap via a fisherman's boat or by a more expensive fancier boat from Morgan's Harbour Hotel
- JABLUM - the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee factory
- Port Royal - the former pirate city that has been destroyed twice by earthquakes is a good place to relax and have a beer or visit the museum and learn about the piracy history
- Portland (Jamaica) - passed the Blue Mountains.
- Ocho Rios ("Ochi") - only 4 hours away by minibus/route taxi for ~J$500. Direct morning departures from the Downtown Transport Centre and indirect (via Port Maria) from HWT
- Montego Bay - roughly 4 hours from Kingston for less than US$10 from the Downtown Transport Center.
- Port Antonio - take a direct minibus/route taxi from HWT for J$200–300.