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The capital city of Kingston in Jamaica is the island’s centre of cultural activity and adventure. Like all major cities, Kingston is filled with entertainment centres, hotels, bars and clubs to cater to one’s fun-loving side. As the hub of Jamaica’s unique culture, there are also a few cultural spots that are a must-see – the best past, many of them are free.
The Blue Mountains are 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 and camping. The Blue Mountains is also home to many cosy cottages that locals and visitors stay at to enjoy the spectacular view. There are also waterfalls, restaurants and, of course, the famous Blue Mountain Coffee Plantation.
The former capital city of Jamaica, Port Royal is one of the oldest and most historical cities in the Caribbean. The former home of generations of pirates and outlaws was once known as ‘the wickedest city in the West’, being the centre of illegal pirate activity. In the late 1600s, when the English captured Jamaica from the Spanish, they built Fort Charles to defend their new territory. The Fort has seen earthquakes, hurricanes, rebellions and wars and still stands today as one of the main attractions in Port Royal.
The 50-acre (20-hetare) National Heroes Park is a botanical garden in Kingston and the city’s largest open space. It is dedicated to Jamaica’s seven national heroes and is the burial ground of many of Jamaica’s former prime ministers. Monuments of the national heroes are located in an area of the park called The Shrine. The National Heroes Park has been the venue for many historical events, including Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and the Smile Jamaica Concert on December 5, 1976, led by Bob Marley.
Hope Botanical Gardens, also known as the Royal Botanical Gardens, is a 200-acre (81-hectare) botanical garden and park located in Kingston. It’s the city’s most popular public green space, and features lush greenery and exotic plants and flowers. At Hope Gardens, especially on the weekends, you’ll find many people laying on blankets, enjoying the scenery or having a picnic. It’s also a popular spot for couples to have romantic dates, surrounded by nature. Concerts and special events such as weddings are occasionally held here too. For family entertainment, there is also a zoo available on site.
Hope Botanical Gardens, Old Hope Rd, Kingston, Jamaica, +1 876 927 1257
If you want a lesson in Jamaican history, then visit The Institute of Jamaica in Downtown Kingston. It is Jamaica’s number one free museum and an ideal place to discover more about local culture, politics and art. The institute hosts permanent and visiting exhibitions on agriculture, music, art and all things Jamaican.
The Institute of Jamaica, 16, 10 East Ave, Kingston, Jamaica, +1 876 922 0620