If you are looking for an urban feel and synergy that captures the heartbeat of Jamaica, then Kingston is where it’s at.
It is a place to really feel the culture as it is the entertainment capital of the island. Home to over 1 million people, it offers many different options for those who are on vacation looking for that Jamaican experience.
Kingston, Jamaica: What to Expect?
Gritty, charming, inspiring, exhilarating, challenging and unforgettable are just some of the adjectives that could be used to describe Kingston Jamaica. It is a city that has a unique charm to it and my description really doesn’t do it enough justice, you have to experience it for yourself to truly understand what Kingston has to offer.
I really wanted to do my best to give an idea as to what to expect for those who are visiting Kingston Jamaica for the first time. For many, it would be like any other urban area on the planet. It is dense, there is a lot going on and there is always something to see and do.
With Kingston Jamaica being the cultural capital of the island, you will never be short of having something to do. You definitely will not be sipping umbrella drinks and listening to waves lapping up on the beach, but if you are into culture, if you’re into people, if you were into just new experiences, then Kingston is definitely the place for you.
Things to Do
If you are looking at the top things to do in Kingston, Jamaica, then we go you covered. We highlight everything that you must try. What is at the top of the list and what should be ignored.
The Food: Jamaica is known for its local cuisine and Kingston is saturated with hotspots for tasty food. Ranging from the street vendors who sell the spiciest jerk chicken to the local patty shops, there is something for everybody. Places like the Devon House Bakery are great for patties and other Jamaican favorites like potato pudding, while Tastee Patties serves up some of the best Jamaican breakfasts you’ll ever have including the national dish – Ackee & Salt Fish. For more refined dining, restaurants such as Nirvana, Uncorked, Tamarind Indian and the Steak House on the Verandah are a must visit.
The Parties: Kingston is home to some of the best parties you’ll ever experience. If you’re big on night life and partying, then Kingston is the city for entertainment. Be aware though that Reggae and Dancehall music will dominate on most scenes, unless it’s carnival time when soca music becomes the norm. If you decide to indulge in the local festivities, don’t be surprised by the seemingly sexual dance moves, it’s all a part of the Jamaican party scene and culture.
Credit Card Accessible: Most of the attractions in and around Kingston use credit or debit card, so you won’t need to walk around with huge sums of cash. Once you notify your card provider that you will be travelling, you should be able to use your card in most areas of the city. For the few places that do not accommodate cards like the local markets or taxis, US and Canadian currency are widely accepted of you are travelling from those regions.
All Inclusive Hotels: Kingston has great all-inclusive resorts for those looking for a one stop shop. Many of these hotels not only provide accommodations, but they organize excursions to various places of interest around the island.
Nature Spots: Despite being one of the most developed places in Jamaica, Kingston has a lot to offer for those who want to experience nature. The city is nestled at the foot of the world famous Blue Mountains, which offers anything from hiking and ziplining to camping in a variety of outdoor cabins.
Affordable Shopping: Kingston has dozens and dozens of haberdasheries, stores and wholesale shops. It’s the best place on the island to get good deals on authentic Jamaican offerings and gifts.
Not Pedestrian Friendly: Kingston can be a tough city for the unfamiliar to navigate. Unless you’re extremely street savvy, it’s not recommended that you go trekking around Kingston on your own. Most attractions are far apart and can be hard to reach, so it’s 100% recommended that you hire a taxi to take you around the city. There are many well-known taxi companies in the city such as On Time, El Shaddai and Gadge Pro.
Traffic: The likelihood of getting stuck in traffic in Kingston is very high. Being the centre of the island’s commerce, thousands of people visit Kingston daily to transact business. This makes for a maze of vehicles that’s compounded by unruly bus and taxi drivers. The only plus is that most local drivers know shortcuts and ways to avoid getting stuck in the gridlock.
Theft: Kingston is unfortunately not crime free. While most areas are relatively safe, places like Downtown can be volatile. Be on the lookout for pickpockets and thieves once you venture away from the resort areas of New Kingston.
Harassment: Local sellers in the market place can be a nuisance, especially if they recognize that you are a tourist. While the calls and requests to make a purchase are generally harmless, if you are unfamiliar with the local marketplace culture, it can make you flustered.
Mosquitoes: Like in many tropical places, insects such as mosquitoes can be an issue. While this should not be an issue in the resorts and hotels, if you plan to be out in the evenings, a repellant is a good idea.