What's the best route from Kingston to Port Antonio? The scenic ‘Junction Road’ of course! Constant Spring Road takes you out of town and across the border into the parish of St Mary and over to the lush landscape of Port Antonio in under 2 hours. To leave town, Constant Spring Road becomes Stony Hill Road and then the A3 Junction Road, a winding, riverside route that is the main route between Kingston and Annotto Bay on the North Coast. To the left of Junction Road is the river, and to the right is the Blue Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring 1000s of acres of biodiversity.
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Mountains to the north east of Kingston, Gordon Town offers a small town vibe 20 minutes outside the city. Perhaps best known in recent times as home to Miss Lou, the teacher, folklorist, activist, artist and actor. The Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley O.M passed away in 2006 and is still remembered as one of Jamaica's "greatest treasures", according to the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. Gordon Town has another attraction. This one brings people of all ages up from Kingston or down the hill from Irish Town to bath in the Gordon Town Falls.
The first signs of Carnival in Jamaica began in the 1940’s with the opening of the University of the West Indies. This happened when the students from the Eastern Caribbean, especially those of Trinidad and Tobago, recreated the festival on campus of the elaborate Carnivals they enjoyed from back home. A tradition that continues on the campus to this day. However, Carnival at the time was still viewed as a foreign concept for the rest of the Jamaican public.
In 1989, the late Jamaican music pioneer, Byron Lee, along with a small band of believers, conceptualized a plan to bring the music, energy and vibe of Trinidad & Tobago’s annual Carnival event to Jamaica.
The city if Kingston actually includes 200 acres that make up the Royal Botanical Gardens, but locals call it Hope Gardens. The gardens were established in 1873 on a section of land from the estate of Major Richard Hope, one of the original English colonisers. Today the gardens are home to Jamaica's most popular collection of endemic and exotic botanical collections including the national tree, Blue Mahoe. The cassia tree grove by the main entrance was planted in 1907. Most of the plants and trees, particularly the mango and various spice species found here, originally came from a captured French ship on its way from Mauritius to Hispaniola in 1782. Find out what they look like today at the Hope Gardens in Kingston. Read more about Hope Gardens on Trip Advisor here.
Once home to pirates, Port Royal is home to close knit community that maintains its ocean traditions. Located at the tip of a 10-mile spit of land, everyone in Port Royal wants to be in Port Royal. Who wouldn't? A history overcoming earthquakes, hurricanes, fires and being labeled the "wickedest city in the west" as far back as the 17th century means there is something special about Port Royal. Where do you find it? Well one of the best places to look is in the water surrounding the town. It's a virtual archaeological goldmine filled with pieces of history. Above ground Port Royal is where local Kingstonians go for fish, a morning jog or a weekend bike ride. You haven't seen Kingston if you have not seen Port Royal! Check it out on > lonelyplanet <
You may have heard it was selected by National Geographic's Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe (2011) as the 4th best place in the world to eat ice cream. In Kingston's history, Devon House is a lot more than that. Built in 1891 on 51 acres called Devon Pen, it was the home of Jamaica's first black millionaire, George Stibel. The ballroom still has the original chandelier purchased by Stiebel for the room. Now home to restaurants, bars and an 11 acre park, Devon House is one of Kingston's most popular local destinations. For Devon House tours please visit devonhousejamaica.com.
Designed by John Pike, the Carib Theatre represents an unusual atmospheric style. The walls and ceiling of the auditorium were designed to create the illusion of being under the Caribbean sea, looking up at the surface. The auditorium was also egg-shaped, with the front end shirred off to create a circular stage area, which was fully equipped for live performances in support of the movies. When the Carib Theatre first opened in April, 1938, it was the largest building of any kind on the island of Jamaica.
The Lifestyle Health and Fitness Expo (click here for the expanded schedule!) presented by the Kingston City Run features up to the time exhibitors showcasing the latest trends in fitness apparel, health and wellness. Public sessions demonstrating best practices are an interactive way to get more familiar with health and fitness techniques as well as strategies to help you live the most fulfilling life you possibly can! Read more.
The Rae Town Old Hits dance session now takes place next to the Kingston Cricket Club in Sabina Park every Sunday, starting at 10:30PM. Hundreds of loyal patrons return every Sunday to hear local and international hits as well as rare cuts from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. The entrance charge is JA$200. Listen to a special Rae Town Old Hits tribute below!