Kingston (Jamaica)

Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, is located on the southeastern coast of the island. There are two major sections to this city: 'downtown' and 'uptown,' also referred to as 'New Kingston.'

Understand

Kingston was for some time Jamaica's only city and is still the commercial and cultural capital. You will notice that 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. As of 2011, the city had 937,700 inhabitants.

Get in

Northern suburbs of Kingston.

By plane

Norman Manley International Airport (IATA: KIN), Phone: +1-888-247-7678, . Located in the southeastern part of the island, overlooking Kingston Harbour on the Palisadoes peninsula. 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 both 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 USD28; a group USD33, potentially negotiable. Payment can be in US dollars. The cheapest way is to take bus 98 straight to the Parade in downtown Kingston for JMD80. The bus stop outside the arrivals terminal is for bus 98 going towards Port Royal. Just passed the bus stop is where bus 98 stops on its way to downtown.

Kingston Tinson Pen There is a smaller airport closer to downtown, but there is no longer any regular passenger service to it.

By car

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!

By bus

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.

Get around

By bus

The bus service in Jamaica has now been upgraded with express buses cost ranging from JMD80 to JMD100, and another bus also air conditioned can be found in yellow with the Jamaican flag at the front costs for regular fares JMD150 and for children under 12 JMD50 12+(prices are expected to raise for the new buses soon because of the increase of gas). The original non air con buses still function, but who knows when will they last?

Interactive bus map

By taxi

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 JMD400 to JMD5,000 for long routes.

Rental cars

With some practice, bravery, and chutzpah you can rent a car (Island Rent a car allows for one-way car rental). 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.

See

Devon House, Kingston
Statue of Bob Marley in Kingston

Do

Buy

Eat

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

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 180 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. The Quad, and Asylum are only a couple of the very popular clubs.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Like many other large cities elsewhere in the world, Kingston is home to a higher number of crimes than the rest of the island. It has been rated one of the most dangerous cities in the world in previous years when measured by the murder rate. 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. If you find yourself in need of the police, the emergency number is 119.

Cope

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 at all condoned and can elicit violent reactions.

Embassies and High Commissions

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.