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.
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 become 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!
1. Giddy House
What a rare sight, somewhat comparable to the leaning tower of Pisa.
More things to do in Port Royal
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.
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!
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 there:
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.
Getting there: 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.
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.
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! Given all this, Hellshire may have lost some of its sand over time but never lost any of its charming spirit.
Get ready to travel Jamaica
How to get to the beaches
By car or taxi! If you go by bus it will take you at least (!!!) 1,5 hours from New Kingston and one hour from downtown plus walking.
Don’t worry too much. Kingston’s beaches felt very safe to me. Just don’t let your valuables fly around for too long. Also, have a plan on how to leave after dark.
When to go to Kingston's beaches
Almost all beaches close to Kingston are pretty deserted during the week and come to life during the weekend. So I highly recommend coming out to the beaches on the weekend to hold the vibe.
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 your Lifestraw pro. It will keep your drinks cold for 24 hrs, too!
Biggest challenge for the responsible traveler
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!
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!
Places to visit in Jamaica
No matter how often you return to Jamaica, you will never get bored!
Montego Bay | more than an all-inclusive hotspot
I was a little weary of Montego as it seems such a popular all-inclusive spot. However, the city quickly grew on me. Montego was the perfect starting point for my trip to Jamaica. Its touristic infrastructure allows you to settle in quite quickly while downtown affords you glimpses into real Jamaican city life!
Belmont | Peter Tosh’s birthplace
I left Negril seeking a more peaceful and authentic experience further South. Belmont seemed like the perfect option! About midway to Treasure Beach, Belmont comes alive on the weekends and is quiet during the week. Belmont is stretched along the Highway and consists of charming restaurants, bars, and Berry selling the best pudding in town.
Packing list caribbean
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