Kingston is the capital of the island of Jamaica on the southeast coast, between the Blue Mountains and the world’s seventh-largest natural harbor. Kingston might overwhelm you with its noise and hustle, and is the island’s cultural and economic heart. A visit to Kingston is essential to taste the rich excitement of modern Jamaica.
Downtown, the waterfront National Gallery of Jamaica has early and contemporary Jamaican art. Coronation Market is known for its colorful food stalls. Farther north, National Heroes Park has memorials to many famous Jamaicans. In the middle of Kingston harbor, the half-submerged ruins of the legendary pirate city Port Royal include the 17th-century Fort Charles. Fishing boats link Port Royal to Lime Cay, an offshore islet with white-sand beaches and snorkeling. A Kingston Jamaica Vacation can provide fun for everyone! And for other great Jamaica beach destinations, visit our Jamaica Travel Guide.
Weather (When to Go)
Kingston has a tropical climate with relatively low rainfall. The dry season is November – July. The rainiest months (August – October) are during the Caribbean hurricane season (June – November). The popular travel months are (March–May, July–August and December–January). Key events include Bob Marley Week (Feb), with reggae concerts and events. Bacchanal Jamaica (Mar/Apr, dates vary) is an Easter carnival with colorful parades and music. The Jamaican Coffee Festival (Oct) focuses on local Blue Mountain beans.
Passports valid for at least six months from the date of entry are required for all visits to Jamaica. Most nationals require no visa to visit Jamaica. Most of those who do can obtain one on arrival. For stays of six months or less, no visas are required for citizens of the EU, the US, Commonwealth countries, Mexico, Japan and Israel. Nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Greece and Japan don’t need a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
Driving in Kingston isn’t for the fainthearted. Be prepared for erratic and aggressive driving. All hotels and shopping centers offer parking, but secure car parking is nonexistent Downtown.
Taxis are numerous in Kingston, except when it rains and demand skyrockets. Use licensed cabs only, which have red PP or PPV license plates. Taxis have no meters, so confirm the fare in advance
Fifteen minutes by boat from Port Royal is a small, low-lying island cay with one of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica. The largest of the many small cays off the coast of Port Royal, Lime Cay is uninhabitable by humans because it is occasionally submerged when the tide comes in. Lime Cay has been the source of many scams and hoaxes whereby the cay is “sold” to unsuspecting buyers as a potential location for a private resort. Don’t be fooled, Lime Cay is a part of Jamaica, and the beaches there are public and open to all who can get out there.
Bob Marley Museum
The museum is situated on the site of the legendary musician’s home, which he purchased in 1975. This house, featuring 19th-century architecture, was Marley’s home until his transition in 1981. It was converted into a museum six years later by his wife, Mrs Rita Marley. The main museum displays Marley’s personal treasures.
Fort Charles is a weathered redoubt originally laid in 1655, and the only one of the town’s forts to survive the 1692 earthquake. Originally washed by the sea on three sides, the fort is now firmly landlocked due to the gradual silt build-up. At its peak, 104 guns protected the fort. Many cannons still point out from their embrasures along the restored battlements. In the center of the courtyard stands the small, well-presented Maritime Museum, containing a miscellany of objects – from glassware and pottery to weaponry – retrieved from the sunken city.
Fort Clarence Beach
Clean shores and waters are the main attraction at Fort Clarence. Although steeped in history, the fort itself was left to itself and is now in a state of disrepair. This spot is a popular venue for multiple forms of entertainment on the beach and mainly draws a local crowd on the weekends. Fort Clarence’s black sand beach is incredibly popular with the crowds of Jamaica because of all of the other activities available to guests of its shores.
Although Maiden Cay Beach isn’t located in one of the most secluded parts of Jamaica, it is still a great place to enjoy the sun, sand, surf, and laid back atmosphere that the island is known for.
Things to Do in Kingston
Loose Cannon Boat Charter and Tours is a company that is determined to explore the most beautiful and exquisite beaches in Kingston, Jamaica. We are pioneering a comprehensive, all inclusive, first class service, that will provide our patrons with comfort, luxury and safety as they go to sea on our very spacious and stable 69 ft power catamaran. For more information call +1 876-495-2222, or visit them on the web at Loose Cannon.
El Sol Vida Fun Tours
They provide to their guests, the best hotels accommodation, airport transfers, tours, excursions, charters and events in Jamaica. With over 20 years experience in tourism and management, they have become a trusted and reliable professional source. For more information call +1 876-630-0664, or visit them on the web at El Sol Vida Fun Tours.
Arrowhead Birding Tours
Arrowhead Birding Tours is a bird watching tour company in Jamaica. We provide from one day to several days excursions to birding hot spots across the island. All tours are led by professional local birding guides. For more information call +1 876-260-9006, or visit them on the web at Arrowhead Birding Tours.
This Is Jamaica
This Is Jamaica offers customized and personal expeditions around the island to some of Jamaica’s most beautiful hidden treasures. From spectacular mountain terrain to amazing white sand beaches, let them show you it all! Hike, snorkel, scuba dive, cave, bird-watch, surf, jam with the locals or just relax. This is your adventure, so see Jamaica as it was meant to be seen. For more information call +1 876-793-5406, or visit them on the web at This is Jamaica.
FIWI Jamaica Experienced Tours
“FIWI” is a licensed, insured and registered tour company that is located in the city of Kingston, Jamaica. They offer tour packages that will provide you with a full City experience and its surrounding areas. They also offer regular tours island wide starting from Kingston. Apart from their standard tour packages, they help to create custom tour experiences for their guests. For more information call +1 876-481-8082, or visit them on the web at FIWI Jamaica Experience Tours.
Best Kingston Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$ – $$$ Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records has delicious Jamaican food and music. Sample hearty dishes such as jerked sausage, chicken and shrimp kebab, served with a spicy Appleton sauce. For a fresh, lighter option, try the cobb salad that comes with jerked chicken, pepper jack cheese, guava ham, boiled egg, peanuts, seasonal fruits and a citrus vinaigrette. For more information call +1 876-906-3903, or visit them on the web at Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records.
$$ Boone Hall Oasis Known for its ‘Sunday brunch by the river,’ the eatery serves up hot, delectable Jamaican food including succulent curried goat, soft sweet plantain, fresh salads and soups. Winner of the Jamaica Observer Food Award’s Best Sunday Spot and the Jamaica Pegasus Wedding Extravaganza’s Best Other Booth, this restaurant is a must-visit if you are traveling to the capital. For more information call +1 876-942-3064, or visit them on the web at Boone Hall Oasis.
$$ – $$$ Hot Pot A breakfast and brunch buffet restaurant that has served up hearty food for over 35 years. Sample the real Jamaican jerk chicken or pork, served with wholesome yam, rice and peas and soft banana. Or try the steamed fish tails served with turn cornmeal for a seafood alternative. With a relaxed atmosphere, this casual haunt is the perfect place to have a mid-morning or lunchtime dish. For more information call +1 876-929-3906, or visit them on the web at Hot Pot.
$$ – $$$ So So Seafood Bar & Grill So So Seafood Bar & Grill is a perfect choice if you are looking to sample authentic seafood. With clever seafood twists such as their fish burger with cheese, and other more traditional options including savory salt fish fritters. Relax at the bar and enjoy some cocktails including The Phoenix special and the Campari Grapefruit. With a live DJ every Friday and classic reggae sounds playing in the bar, this eatery is a must-visit. For more information call +1 876-968-2397, or visit them on the web at So So Seafood Bar & Grill.
$ Sweetwood Jerk Point They offer a traditional Caribbean barbecue grill, with a wide range menu of jerked meats, pork, chicken, sausage, fish or lamb cooked on an open barbecue, as well as side options such as sweet potato or yam, breadfruit or rice and peas. It’s a great place to sample authentic flavors, unpretentious and delicious eats. Sample the soups for a lighter alternative, they are delicious and must be tried. For more information call +1 876-906-4854, or visit them on the web at Sweetwood Jerk Point.
Best Kingston Nightlife
Fiction Nightclub The hot spot is a popular venue for locals that want to party, mingle, and enjoy dance hall music on the weekends. The nightclub has a friendly staff and upscale ambiance that is sure to make you feel like a celebrity. The frequent parties, hostings, and special events held at Fiction bring about local and international celebrities. For more information call +1 876-833-2502, or visit them on the web at Fiction Nightclub.
Mingles Mingles Pub, located in the Courtleigh Hotel, is a favorite among locals and the visitors that stay at the hotel. This upscale place offers a luxurious party experience. The pub has a range of theme nights, including Karaoke Fun on Thursday with a D.J. spinning records, a Friday night Escapade for those who want to relax and enjoy the music, and Saturday night is “Saturday Latin Mingle” with Latin dancing. For more information call +1 876-926-7744, or visit them on the web at Mingles.
Triple Century Sports Bar The Sports Bar has several large 55-inch television sets, a lounge, and the main stage where karaoke nights and musical performances are held. Triple Century is a popular hang-out spot for locals, especially sports fans, and a frequent venue for intimate Dancehall shows. For more information call +1 876-906-2333, or visit them on the web at Triple Century Sports Bar.
The Deck The Deck is popular among young professionals and college students. The sports bar and grill provides a haven for those who want to relax after a long day or party on the weekends. The Deck features an eatery, a sports bar located outside, and a lounge inside. This chill spot is known for its Dancehall nights on the weekends and live entertainment which sometimes brings in notable artists. For more information call +1 876-, or visit them on the web at The Deck.
Escape 24/7 Bar & Grill With themed nights such as “TGIF” and “Karaoke Mondays,” it is not hard to understand why people flock to Escape 24/7 in Kingston. Escape is a place where clubbers come to release their stress, have a drink at the bar, and party. For more information call +1 876-960-1856, or visit them on the web at Escape 24/7 Bar & Grill.
Best Kingston Hotels
Spanish Court Hotel
Whether you’re traveling on business, taking a romantic getaway, or vacationing with the family, the Spanish Court offers a wide array of exceptional services and amenities, as well as a prime location in the heart of New Kingston, sure to please the most discerning individual. At the Spanish Court, we are dedicated to providing you with incomparable comfort, convenience, and luxury. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Spanish Court Hotel.
Choose To Be Happy @8
Choose To Be Happy @ Eight is a well-equipped apartment in Kingston. The apartment provides rooms featuring complimentary wireless internet, individual climate control, a laptop-size safe, TV with satellite channels and high ceiling. Bathroom facilities include a hairdryer, soft bathrobes and bath sheets. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Choose to be Happy @8.
Hilltop Kingston Jamaica Bed & Breakfast
Offering an outdoor pool, a fitness center and free WiFi, Hill Top Kingston Jamaica is located in Stony Hill. It has wonderful views over Kingston city center, located around a 10-minute drive away. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Hilltop Kingston Jamaica Bed & Breakfast.
Courtleigh Hotel & Suites
This Kingston, Jamaica hotel features an on-site restaurant, outdoor pool and 24-hour fitness center. Just a 5 minute drive from Bob Marley Museum, this centrally located hotel offers contemporary rooms with free Wi-Fi. Alexander’s Restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining and serves local and international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mingles Pub & Pool Bar is also on site. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Courtleigh Hotel & Suites.
Courtyard by Marriott Kingston
Situated in the heart of the city, we surround you with the core culture of Jamaica, where theaters, art galleries and music venues seamlessly blend with nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Explore the excitement by foot, or soak it all in while taking in the views from their rooftop pool and bar. Ready to sip and savor? The Centro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner to ensure you stay satisfied throughout the day. With free Wi-Fi, mini-refrigerators and luxury bedding, their accommodations make settling in a simple task. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Courtyard by Marriott Kingston.