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Kingston

An eclectic mix of cultures, striking natural wonders and awe-inspiring attractions awaits in the heartbeat of Jamaica.

Nestled between the Blue Mountains and the world’s seventh-largest natural harbour is the vibrant capital city of Jamaica. A city of two halves, Kingston will excite you with both its distinct natural beauty and cosmopolitan flair. It is this diversity that will provide an endless itinerary for all visitors. Whether in search of cultural pursuits, nature activities, exquisite fare or fabulous shopping, Kingston has it all.

Back to Nature
Rising out of the lush jungle north of Kingston at 7,402 feet, the Blue Mountains are a glorious backdrop for the city. The majestic mountain range is part of the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park, which has been inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Best known as the source of Blue Mountain coffee, the mountains are a favourite destination with adventure travellers and anyone looking to see what lies beyond the beach. You can find guided tours to the mountains from Kingston.

Back in the city, you can also take in the wonders of nature at Hope Botanical Gardens. Laid out on 2,000 acres of land, not only is it the largest open green space within Kingston’s urban boundaries, but it’s the largest botanical garden in the Caribbean. Here, you will be surrounded by an abundance of flora and fauna, from cacti to bougainvilleas. The Hope Zoo is home to 900 animals across 60 species, including indigenous, endangered and endemic animals from Jamaica, Africa and the Americas. Amongst the main attractions is Lucas the lion.

Kingston may not be known for its beaches, but locals flock to the shores of Fort Clarence. The beach features amenities like changing rooms, showers, toilets and lifeguards, plus two nearby restaurants serving up fresh fish and so much more. For some big waves, surfing enthusiasts can head to Jamnesia Surf Camp in Bull Bay, which is only 20 minutes east of Kingston. As Jamaica’s first and only surf camp, it’s not only home to some of the island’s top surfers, but it’s where many past champs catch waves and future champs learn to surf them.

Top Attractions
Reggae music is part of the island’s DNA, so paying tribute to the man who started it all is essential. Fans flock to the Bob Marley Museum, situated on the site of the legendary musician’s home, which he purchased in 1975. This is where Marley recorded and lived until his death in 1981. His simple bedroom has been left untouched, as have the bullet holes left from a failed assassination attempt in 1976. Make sure to take a few pictures of the famous statue of the singer in the courtyard.

A new museum just opened in 2016 honours another iconic reggae musician and one of the founding members of The Wailers, Peter Tosh. Tosh was an activist for equal rights who used his music to make a difference and take a stand. Though he was tragically killed in 1987, the Tosh Museum celebrates his life and accomplishments, and includes exhibits like his guitar shaped like an AK-47 and his unicycle.
Another popular attraction is Devon House, an elegant, Georgian-style Great House built in 1881 by George Stiebel, the Caribbean’s first black millionaire. The property — with its lush, sprawling landscapes — has been beautifully restored by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. Whilst you’re there, make sure you stop by the famous Devon House I Scream Shop.

Venture farther east to the old pirate enclave of Port Royal, where you’ll be regaled with swashbuckling tales about the original city of sin. After invading and capturing the small port town from the Spanish in 1655, the English — concerned that they would suffer the same fate — invited pirates to make themselves at home here. Resting on the Kingston Harbour, Port Royal was once vital to Jamaica’s trade and commerce. The decadence and debauchery that ensued have become the stuff of legend, and now the quaint seaside town is more of a curiosity. With its cobblestone roads, Spanish architecture, moats and forts, Port Royal makes for an intriguing little escapade only a 45-minute drive from Kingston.

 

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