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The capital city of Kingston in Jamaica is the centre of culture and commerce on the island. The growing metropolitan area buzzes with activity and events on any given day of the week, and some of the most popular can be found in the city. Here are the most unique experiences you can have in Kingston.
The Blue Mountains is the longest mountain range in Jamaica on the eastern side of the island. The cool temperatures and majestic scenery make it the best and most popular spot in Jamaica for hiking. Guests can follow the well-travelled mountain trails up to the 2256-metre (7400-foot) mountain peak. On the way, you’ll pass a few cottages, waterfalls, restaurants and, of course, the famous Blue Mountain Coffee Plantation.
A 15-minute boat ride from Port Royal will take you to a low-lying island cay that features one of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica. Lime Cay is an uninhabitable cay, popular among locals on the island. Visitors who can reach Lime Cay go there to swim, snorkel, explore and enjoy the secluded beaches. Lime Cay is also a popular spot for large private parties, as it is free and open to the public.
At any given day during the week, you can find a street dance happening in Jamaica. The street dances, an important part of dancehall culture, involve the setting up of sound systems in small communities. A local DJ plays music while locals and tourists dress up and come out to dance, enjoy the music, and mingle. Theme nights are popular among street dances; some of the most famous being Weddy Weddy Wednesday, Throwback Thursdays, and British/US Linkup.
Port Royal is one of the Caribbean’s oldest and most historic cities. Located at the mouth of the Kingston Harbour, the city was founded in 1518 and once had the reputation of being the richest and wickedest city in the world! Port Royal was also home to generations of pirates and was the headquarters of pirate pillaging escapades. The city is home to many of Kingston’s most popular landmarks, including the famous Giddy House, Fort Charles and Museum, and the underwater pirate city that sunk as a result of the famous earthquake in 1692.
Once a year, for the past 15 years, Jamaica embarks on its massive Bacchanal season, beginning at the start of February and ending in April. The carnival events are centred in Kingston, with smaller events in other cities across the island, and attract more than 100,000 locals and tourists. Guests come out in costumes to enjoy themselves and dance to the bands playing reggae, calypso and soca. A children’s parade takes place near the end of the season, leading up to the most anticipated event: the colourful adult’s parade, on the last day of Bacchanal, at Beach Jouvert.
The Bob Marley Museum is located on Hope Road and is where the famous reggae singer lived and recorded from 1975 until his death in 1981. The museum has a large collection of significant memorabilia and some of Marley’s most prized possessions. The museum also features his former recording studio, now transformed into an exhibition hall, the legendary Bob Marley café and gift shop, which sell the famous Marley coffee.
The National Gallery of Jamaica, established in 1974, is the oldest and largest public art museum in the English-speaking Caribbean. The gallery features an extensive collection of early, modern and contemporary art from many Jamaican artists, along with pieces from other Caribbean artists. There are permanent as well as temporary exhibitions that promote Jamaican art, some even showcasing works from Jamaica’s youngest artists.
The underlying theme of Club Privilege is exactly what the name suggests: privileges. This nightclub is one of the most luxurious, exclusive clubs in Kingston and a popular spot for clubbing on the weekends. The massive, 800-square-foot (75-square-metre) venue features two VIP lounges, a main bar, a champagne bar, and a large dance floor with walls covered in mood lighting. Club Privilege usually hosts theme nights and popular club events during the week, while it’s also a regular hang-out spot for celebrities visiting Jamaica, adding to its luxurious quality.
Nestled in the heart of New Kingston, Emancipation Park is an oasis of lush greenery and serenity. The park was built and opened to the public in 2002 and has since become a popular spot for those who want to relax, have a picnic, read a book or go for a jog. The park features three water fountains, lush gardens, various stonework and an 11-foot (three-metre) bronze sculpture called Redemption Song.
Perhaps the best and most delicious ice cream in Jamaica is to be found at the Devon House I-Scream shop. With more than 20 flavours, Devon House is a popular spot where locals get ice cream, especially on Sunday afternoons. Enjoy the signature flavour, Devon Stout, while touring the beautiful grounds of the Devon House property.