Kingston travel guide

Kingston Tourism | Kingston Guide

You're Going to Love Kingston

Tropical splendor and busy urban life combine in Kingston. Green hills roll down to the Caribbean Sea, surrounding the beautiful capital of Jamaica. It's a big, bustling city that sprawls within an idyllic landscape, and is the cultural and economic center of the country.

Kingston lies on a natural harbor on the southeastern coast of the island of Jamaica. The city sits on a plain, protected on three sides by the Blue Mountains, Red Hills, and Long Mountain. The views are spectacular, and a side trip to the Blue Mountain area is worth adding to your agenda.

From classic reggae to thriving street markets, art galleries to street vendors, it's a city full of color and life. Add the genuine friendliness of your Jamaican hosts, and Kingston offers you an unforgettable experience.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Kingston

1. Golden Beaches

Kingston is home to beautiful beaches with golden sands, including Hellshire Beach, where you are likely to find open air concerts, and the very popular Fort Clarence Beach. Expect to find amenities like lifeguards and washrooms, along with food and drink.

2. Experience Lush Tropical Beauty

Jamaica is a green paradise, and the city's many parks let you explore the great outdoors without leaving town. Emancipation Park covers 35 acres, including the striking bronze statue by artist Laura Facey-Cooper. The Hope Gardens and Zoo lets you discover tropical plants and animals in a 200 acre park.

3. Reggae-Flavored Nightlife

You surely can't go to Kingston without enjoying its iconic music, whether that means checking out the Bob Marley Museum or taking in a live roots reggae show at a downtown club. You can dance in one of the city's many classic dancehalls, and enjoy many outdoor concerts and celebrations in this music-rich city.

4. Savory Jamaican Eats

From spicy jerk chicken to iconic Red Stripe beer, Jamaican cuisine is flavorful and delicious. With influences from the African continent, Britain, India, and China, seafood and bounty from the land combine to create classic dishes like goat curries, fried plantain, and rice and peas.

5. So Much Shopping

You'll want to explore the city's many galleries and artisan shops to check out textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and other wares. Jubilee Market and Coronation Market, housed in a huge old hall in the old part of town, offer a staggering array of goods and food at bargain prices.

Where to Eat in Kingston

The best Jamaican patties in town come from the Devon House Bakery, starting at J$200. At the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, you'll enjoy a fusion of Caribbean and European cuisine, including delectable grilled snapper and a delicious buffet Sunday brunch that starts at J$2,500. Scotchies Jerk Centre is one of many places you can enjoy genuine jerk cuisine, including chicken, pork, and sausage, with main dishes that start at J$550.

When to visit Kingston

Kingston in March
Estimated hotel price
C$ 30
1 night at 3-star hotel
Kingston in March
Estimated hotel price
C$ 30
1 night at 3-star hotel

Most visitors come to Jamaica during the cooler, drier months between December and April. It's important to remember, though, that you may experience rains at any time. The wet season extends from May to November, which includes hurricane season.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Kingston

Plane

Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) lies about 12 miles from Kingston, south of the island on the Palisadoes tombolo in the Caribbean Sea. A shared minibus shuttle to the city costs about J$1,300, while a private taxi will run about J$4,500.

Car

Kingston connects to Lucea through the A2, to Annotto Bay through the A4, and to Saint Ann's Bay through the A3. All three major roads connect to St William Grant Park, which runs through downtown Kingston.

Bus

There is an extensive bus network throughout Jamaica, and it's a wonderfully scenic way to see the island. Buses typically stop at designated hubs in each village, town, and city, and then depart when they are full. Knutsford Express is one of the larger companies that offers connections to Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and other destinations at very reasonable prices.

Airlines serving Kingston

Lufthansa
Good (1,084 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,336 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,781 reviews)
KLM
Good (264 reviews)
Air France
Good (271 reviews)
British Airways
Good (766 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,558 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (304 reviews)
Iberia
Good (549 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (475 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (159 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (584 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,258 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,099 reviews)
Frontier
Good (1,475 reviews)
Southwest
Good (1,430 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (396 reviews)
Virgin Atlantic
Good (139 reviews)
WestJet
Good (264 reviews)
Sun Country Air
Good (128 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Kingston

To stay in modern, elegant rooms with a vibrant decor, look to the upscale Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston. Just uphill, you can stay in stylish luxury with stunning views of the city at the Strawberry Hill Resort. Within walking distance of Emancipation Park, the Liguanea Club hotel offers you comfort in a whitewashed building with spacious rooms.

Popular neighbourhoods in Kingston

Historic Downtown - this is where you'll find streets with historic buildings and monuments like the Ward Theatre, dating from 1777, along with the Supreme Court, and Parliament buildings. King Street is the commercial heart of this neighborhood, where you'll find shops, street food, and a busy street scene.

New Kingston - this is the city's busy modern heart, teeming with office employees during the day and partygoers at night. Head to Knutsford Boulevard, lined with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

Port Royal - this historic neighborhood is where you can explore Fort Charles, the largest of the city's old fortresses, dating from the 17th century, along with the city's Old Gaol and many other period buildings. There are also a few restaurants and accommodations like Morgan's Harbour Hotel on the waterfront.

Where to stay in popular areas of Kingston

Most booked hotels in Kingston

The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel
Good (7.7, Good reviews)
C$ 280+
Courtleigh Hotel & Suites
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
C$ 254+
Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
C$ 289+
Hotel Four Seasons
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
C$ 189+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Kingston

Public Transportation

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) operates a network of buses throughout the city. Regular adult fares start at J$120.

Taxi

Several taxi companies service the downtown areas, and you'll know licensed taxis by their red plates. A typical fare within town runs about J$1,300.

Car

The streets of Kingston are often congested with traffic. There are limited free parking spots available on streets downtown, and a number of public parking lots and garages with rates that start at J$1 per hour. A compact rental starts at about J$5,000, and Budget and Avis are present in Kingston.

The Cost of Living in Kingston

Shopping Streets

You'll find the fabulous Coronation Market and Jubilee Market in the area of St. William Grant Park in central Kingston, with locally produced goods, a produce market, and just about anything you can think of from clothing to housewares. For modern shopping malls like the Pavilion Mall, look to New Kingston, with many clustered along or near Maxfield Avenue.

Groceries and Other

House of Spice and Hi-Lo Supermarket are two of the chains you'll find in Kingston. Both offer a broad selection of grocery and household items. John R Wong supermarket adds an in-store restaurant and bakery. A quart of milk costs about J$270 and a dozen eggs will cost about J$332.

Cheap meal
C$ 5.04
A pair of jeans
C$ 56.75
Single public transport ticket
C$ 1.11
Cappuccino
C$ 2.65
Other popular cities in Saint Andrew