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[av_heading heading=’KINGSTON’ tag=’h1′ link_apply=” link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’25’ margin=” padding=’2′ color=” custom_font=” custom_class=” admin_preview_bg=” av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=”]
A resilient capital, rich in history, scars and hope
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dancehall vibes, mountain views and so much more

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[av_heading heading=’A backpacking guide to Kingston’ tag=’h2′ link_apply=” link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” style=’blockquote modern-quote’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ margin=” padding=’10’ color=” custom_font=” custom_class=” admin_preview_bg=” av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=”][/av_heading]

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When I told people I was headed to Kingston, the reactions were very mixed. While some proclaimed it’d love it, the majority told me it’s too dangerous and ugly anyway. However, after some calm beach days on the West coast, I was ready for some action anyhow and couldn’t wait to head to Kingston. The location of Jamaica’s capital is picturesque, nestled between the blue mountains and the Caribbean sea. While the city itself wouldn’t be considered a beauty by its looks, it is full of vibes, culture, and amazing people. While most travel guides don’t make Kingston sound like the most attractive destination, it will reward those who look and feel behind the obvious and are willing to give it some time. Whenever the city gets too much, the Blue Mountains, Bull Bay, or one of the many chill river spots over the perfect getaway for a day. 

Kingston – Leave room for magic

The The city of Kingston isn’t known for its architectural beauty, famous landmarks, or beautiful parks, but rather for the vibes, parties, and cultural events. Kingston never sleeps (not even during covid curfew), and there is always something to do or discover. As Kingston’s cool spots are not so obvious and, therefore, best discovered with local friends. Belleh23, a world-famous dancehall heaven, is the place to place yourself to find an inspiring crowd to find the best parties and tastiest restaurants.

 
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IN KINGSTON’ tag=’h2′ link_apply=” link=’manually,http://’ link_target=” style=’blockquote modern-quote’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ margin=” padding=’2′ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’ custom_class=” admin_preview_bg=” av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-s4swr5′][/av_heading]

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[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Bob Marly museum, Trenchtown Yard & Devon House

[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Take dance classes

[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Party the night away

[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Zip Blue Mountain Coffe and enjoy the views

[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Feel the vibe at Kingston’s beaches
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[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Take a tour at Bob Marley museum & Trench Town Culture Yard Museum

Bob Marley Museum

After Bob Marley’s passing his wife Rita turned the former Marly residence on Road into a Museum. As I’ve read her biography (which I highly recommend!) during my trip and was curious to actually see the house for myself. It’s only possihble to visit the site within a 90 minute tour, which was pretty cool but also expensive ($3000) and very touristy. Bob Marley museum is located into the posh neighborhood of New Kingston where they moved from their first home in Trenchtown.

Trench Town Culture Yard Museum

I liked the Trnech Town Culture Yard tour better as it gives a more in-depth look into the history of Kingston. Originally build in the 1940’s by Central Housing Authority between 6 & 8 Lower First Street in Trench Town, the site has been restored and hosts a small museum, a cafe and a artisan shop.

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[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Take Dancehall classes

Kingston is the world’s dancehall hub, and the famous parties attract dancers from around the world. So naturally, it’s easy to find a dancehall teacher to get your groove going!

If you are really into dancing, you’ll love staying at Belleh23 or Rocksteady. There you’ll find somebody dancing any time of the day, and you can connect to other dancers.

Aside from staying at Belleh23, you can arrange for private dance classes or join other dance events. Another place to check out is Xpression

 

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[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Party the night away

Kingston’s nightlife is legendary (even during curfew). There is no party strip, but there are some regular Parties taking place weekly like Uptown Monday, Boom Box Friday, etc. Try to make it to Dub Club on Sunday! The vibes and views are amazing. Make sure to connect with locals to know what’s going on!

You’ll find anything from very cool live events to wild dancehall parties. After curfew, the parties move to the streets, and you’ll have to be well connected to find the afterparties. 

General advice: no matter where you choose to party, it’s best to arrange for a taxi or know a driver who will take you home. It’s not easy to find a cab driver during nighttime, especially after curfew.

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[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] A guide to Kingston’s beaches

Even though I LOVE to be by the water, I’d took me a second visit to Kingston to go and see the beaches? Why? Kingston has so many things to do and discover that I never made it. Still, I also found that the beaches around Kingston are unjustly not as famous. However, I think that while the beaches surrounding Kingston may not be the prettiest in all of Jamaica, they are definitely worth a visit! It is nice to get out of the city to relax and catch a different vibe. So, I actually decided to write a guide on Kingston’s beaches. There are several of them with very distinct vibes. So, if you feel like chilling a bit, check out my guide to Kingston’s beaches here!

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[wp-svg-icons icon=”location” wrap=”i”] Blue Mountains – Zip some coffe and enjoy the views

Whenever Kingston gets too hot or too much, the Blue Mountains are the place to go to breathe and relax. Just a 20-minute car ride outside Kingston, the scenery becomes lush, green, and fresh. You can either choose to stay some days in the Blue Mountains, enjoy the view and catch some real Rasta vibes or even just head out, have some food or enjoy the view for a day. Shanty Man is by far my favorite restaurant up there. The ital food is fantastic and the view incredible! Be careful to speak clearly and slowly as the Rasta welcoming you does lip reading. Following the mantra of ” the journey is my destination,” I went on a day tour through the Blue Mountains to get to Port Antonio. I loved riding around the small roads stopping every now and than to get some food, enjoy the view or cool of in one of the many river spots. 

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Practical travel tips

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[wp-svg-icons icon=”info” wrap=”i”]  Public Transport in Kingston

Route Taxis are the way to move around Jamaica. Official route taxis have a red license plate.  In MoBay, you’ll see the route they are catering written on the doors. Route taxis are the cheapest and most flexible way to move around. Just be careful to enter/exit on the route. Otherwise, you’ll be charged as a charter taxi.

Public Bus: The stop for buses to basically anywhere leave is downtown. I couldn’t find a schedule. They seem to go more frequently than the Knutsford.

Knutsford: Leaving from from the downtown station, Jamaica’s luxury bus connects more significant destinations. Be aware that the time stated refers to calculated driving time and not the actual time to reach a destination. Adding to the driving time are stops and bus switches which are not apparent when buying the ticket. Due to Covid, there are fewer buses than usual, and it is better to buy the ticket online.

[wp-svg-icons icon=”info” wrap=”i”]  Best time to travel Kingston:

The climate stays pleasant all year around. It might rain bit more during hurricane season from June to Sepember but you still won’t get bored on rainy days!
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[wp-svg-icons icon=”info” wrap=”i”]  Time

Time is very relative in Jamaica, but it’s even more relative in Kingston. So be prepared to wait a long time for everything. It’s best to not have too many plans and just go with the flow.

[wp-svg-icons icon=”info” wrap=”i”]  Saftey in Kingston

Downtown Kingston is not the place to just stroll around without knowing anybody, uptown Kingston is much safer and easier to move around. Generally speaking Kingston is not the place for walking anywhere after dark and its best move around with a driver you know.
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Country, people & food culture

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