Beaches around Kingston

Kingston's best beaches

Jamaica's most underrated beaches

Duration: at least one week

Budget: $ 75 per day

Stay:  Belleh23 or Raggamuffin

Before coming to Kingston, I didn’t expect any great beaches. During my first visit, I didn’t even attempt to hang out by the beaches as the city offered way too many things to do, and I also didn’t expect the beaches around Kingston to be so fun, beautiful, and full of vibes. Admittedly, Kingston has become one of my favorite places of all time, but it can get intense at times, and the beaches around Kingston offer the perfect getaway from the city buzz.

view of Bob Marley beach

Things to know when visiting Kingston’s beaches

The beaches surrounding Jamaica’s capital are all so different, making it hard to decide on my favorite. But before going into more detail, let me tell you:

1) The beaches around Kingston are pretty beautiful

2) Each beach has a very distinct vibe. Depending on if you are seeking quietness or good vibes, you’ll find a perfect spot

3) Transportation can be somewhat of a hassle (as anywhere in Jamaica) regarding time and money.

Port Royal - Kingston 1, where it began

Port Royal, which is sometimes referred to as the “wickedest place on earth,” is one of the first settlements in Jamaica and, despite its beaches, offers so much more to its visitors.

I visited Port Royal twice and was so amazed by the history, the vibes, and the beach that I promised to come back and stay for some days.

Little background info on Port Royal, Jamaica:

The natural harbor of Port Royal on the southeast coast of Jamaica was once known as the largest city in the New World, rivaling Boston. However, port Royal quickly became infamous for being home to pirates, prostitutes, and English migrants.

However, the booming city was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami waves. Two-thirds of the town disappeared into the ocean, over 200 people were killed, and major forts were destroyed. The story of Port Royal became somewhat of a cautionary tale. Today, most of the city still lies underwater, and since the 1950s, it has been possible to dive and explore the site. If you want to read more on the history of Port Royal, check out Atlas Obscura!

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Things to do in Port Royal

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1. Giddy House

What a rare sight, somewhat comparable to the leaning tower of Pisa.

2. Visit Fort Charles

Fort Charles is the only fort that has not been destroyed by the 1692 earthquake and can be visited for a fee. Inside you’ll find a small museum.

3. Dine at Gloria’s

There are two Gloria’s in Port Royal, offering fantastic seafood choices. This one is somewhat of a laid-back hotspot of the who-is-who in Jamaica. I thought it was a great place to watch people after coming back from a Lime Caye Trip or on the weekends.

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4. Enjoy Port Royal’s beach

Port Royal’s beach is vast with light grey sand. Right by Goria’s, the beach is well-taken care of and clean. There would be the possibility to take a long way by the beach, but sadly the beach get’s pretty dirty and is covered in plastics. However, it’s still lovely to spread your towel by the restaurant, enjoy the water and take in a beautiful sunset!

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Lime Caye - a slice of paradise

Not that I wanted to get away from Kingston all too often, but Lime Caye is one of my favorite getaways! During the week, the islet is super quiet, and most likely, you’ll have it all to yourself. It’s a very cool spot for snorkeling and discovering the underwater world. There is only one beach for swimming which is super cool because you can see the city in the backdrop while dipping in turquoise waters! I loved the view! We brought some food and drinks and spent the day in pure bliss! So, if you need to get away from everything: head to Lime Caye during the week and feel like Robinson Cruz! On the weekends, it’s a different story! Lime Caye becomes the place to be to hold the vibes, barbeque, or party. Like any Kingston beach, I loved the serenity and the weekend vibes. If you can, I highly recommend staying some days in Rort Royal (including the weekend) to check out the different vibes!

How to get to Lime Caye:

Take a taxi to Port Royal. From there you’ll have to take a boat, which costs  JA 6500. It’s a small boat and you will have to ask the local fishermen.

Bob Marley Beach

Kingston‘s Bob Marley Beach is full of vibes and good music on the weekends and deserted during the week. The turquoise waters and the grey sand make for a perfect spot to enjoy the sun. A Rastaman rents little Bamboo huts ($500 JA for 2 hours) for shade. I loved the weekend vibes with good seafood, music, and Kingstonian company.

The sunsets at Bob Marley Beach are beautiful, too.

How to get to Bob Marley Beach: It’s quite a ride by bus and even by taxi. It will take 30-40 minutes, depending on your location in Kingston and traffic on that day. If you plan to get away by taxi (especially during the week), it’s best to arrange a taxi beforehand. I had the experience that cab drivers don’t like going out to Bull Bay.

Important information: Bob Marley Beach is under current threat of development. Many Jamaicans keep fighting to keep beaches open to the public. Please visit Bob Marley Beach for yourself and support the cause!

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Bull Bay beaches - Kingston's surf hub

Wickie Wackie beach is a vast, long beach with a pretty cool bar at the entry. However, the beach was completely empty during the week when I visited. Wickie Wackie beach is a cool place during the weekend but not my favorite spot when seeking serenity on a regular day. There is no infrastructure, and nobody is around during the week.

Jamnesia surf school is located about a 20-minute walk from Wickie Wackie beach. You’ll find small, essential restaurants and supermarkets close by. The beach itself is lovely to hang out and enjoy the water. It’s not the perfect spot for swimming (like most surf beaches), but you’ll find shade under a tree and a friendly dog pack to keep you company.

Beaches in Portmore

Portmore’s beaches are only about an hour’s drive from Kingston. Though erosion has taken away big stretches of sandy beaches, Portmore’s beaches are worth visiting. 

Hellshire Beach

Hellshire Beach, Jamaica, is still one of the best beaches around Kingston, despite years of erosion diminishing the original shoreline. What remains are a few meters of beautiful golden sand with turquoise waters and an undeniable atmosphere filled with good vibes that make you want to linger for hours.

Moreover, Hellshire is absolutely renowned for its mouthwatering food stalls – fish is cooked fresh as soon as it’s caught and can be paired perfectly with a classic Red Stripe beer!

Anymoneyonestop restaurant is one of my favorites.

Screetchies is a famous hotspot for Kingston’s Who is Who on the weekend. It has a school view over the city, too.

Not only did they just rebuild their outside lounge area, but they also had the best food! Love their fish, and Lorena was super happy for a vegetable option.

Given all this, Hellshire may have lost some of its sand over time but never lost any of its charming spirit. There is a really good vibe and party on Sundays!

Pro Tip: If you get there by inDrive, try to agree on a pick-up time later, as it might be hard to get a ride back.

The beach is free on the weekend and costs $100 JA to enter on the weekend. 

Hellshire Beach is good for:

+ Good Vibes

+ Delicious seafood

+Incredible massages by healinghandsja

+ The water is calm and often super beautiful, with very little seaweed

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Sugerman Beach

Sugarman Beach is right behind Hellshire Beach. The Bay is bigger than the one by Hellshire Beach. However, I never found the bar to be open, so the area was tranquil. There is lots of seaweed, and it looks like the beach has not been taken care of in a while. Better walk up to Hellshire. 

Oceans Beach

Oceans Beach is located right next to Waves Beach. It is a much more casual spot. The beach costs $100 JA to enter, but the beach chairs are free. I absolutely love the fish and the vibes. Unfortunately, there is no bathroom. 

me eating fish at oceans beach in Hellshire

Waves beach

Waves Beach Restaurant and Bar is located right between Oceans and Broadwalk Beach Bar. It’s a more upscale option with more comfortable seating options. It’s free to enter, but a beach chair is between $300 and $500 per person. They also have a bathroom. They do have a basic bathroom on site as well. 

Fort Clearance Beach

Fort Clearance is the largest and most expensive beach facility on this strip. You can use the lounge chairs, changing rooms and bathrooms for $1000 JA per day. The facilities are not always open, but you can always walk over to Waves Beach or Oceans Beach

Broadwalk Beach

Boardwalk Beach is the last beach on the strip. It often has a very chill vibe, comfortable beach chairs, as well as a bar and restaurant.  It is open Thurs-Saturdays 8.30 am- 6.30 pm.

Practical travel tips for Kingston & Jamaica

Which language is spoken in Jamaica?


The official language is English, but you'll also hear Jamaican Patois spoken throughout the country. It's a colorful and vibrant mix of English, West African languages, and Spanish influences. Don't be afraid to interact with locals and try out some basic phrases in Patois - they'll appreciate the effort and you may even learn a thing or two.

What is the offical currency in Jamaica?


The Jamaican dollar is the official currency and is accepted everywhere on the island. However, US dollars are widely accepted as well, so it's always a good idea to have some cash in both currencies. You can easily exchange your money at banks or ATMs throughout the city. Just be aware that the exchange rate may vary, so it's best to check before making a transaction. Also, don't forget to tip - it's customary in Jamaica and greatly appreciated by service industry workers. So make sure you have some small bills on hand for tipping at restaurants, bars, and hotels.

What is the best time to visit Kingston?


The climate stays pleasant all year round. It might rain a bit more during hurricane season from June to September, but you still won't get bored on rainy days!

Kingston is home to many festival and events, so if you want to check them out, plan your dates accordingly.

Is Kingston safe for travelers?


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 to move around with a driver you know.

Public Transport in Kingston, Jamaica


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 to 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. In Kingston, the Route Taxis are not as obvious, but they drive the most prominent streets and honk to let you know they are available.

Public Bus: The stop for buses to leave from 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, so buying the ticket online is better.

Can I drink tap water in Jamaica?


Even though Jamaica is considered a third-world country, it provides the best water quality in the region. You are, therefore, safe to drink tap water. This is especially true in the cities. However, if it makes you feel uneasy, bring a water purifier.

What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?


Tourism leakage: Jamaica is a tropical paradise that's adored by tourists worldwide, but it has a problem that's hidden from sight - tourism leakage. This phenomenon refers to the loss of revenue that occurs when international hotel chains capture a large chunk of tourist dollars, leaving very little money behind to benefit the local economy. If you're among the millions of visitors who flock to Jamaica every year, there's a simple way to help mitigate the effects of tourism leakage: support Jamaican-owned hotels, shops, and restaurants. By doing so, you can put your money where your heart is - and give the people of Jamaica a chance to thrive. So don't be shy about seeking out local businesses on your next vacation. Your decision to keep tourism dollars within Jamaica could make a world of difference.

Beach access

While Jamaica is known for its beautiful beaches, there have been some issues with access to these public spaces. In recent years, many resorts and private properties have restricted access to certain parts of the beach, making it incredibly difficult for locals to maintain their life and right to the sea. Support public beaches and say no to all-inclusive tourism!


Make sure to bring a foldable food container and cutlery with you! The amount of waste caused by food sold on the street is incredible.


Make sure to protect Jamaica's marine life and bring reef-friendly sunscreen!

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Packing List Jamaica

As you see, there are plenty of things to experience in Jamaica. To come fully prepared, check out my packing list for Jamaica, which includes everything from eco-friendly toiletries to sustainable fashion and even the coolest travel gadgets!

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No matter how often you return to Jamaica, you will never get bored!