It's been approximately six months since I've been in Jamaica, and I'm almost six months away from my return there for the holidays to see my family. And because I'm in the midst of planning that holiday trip, and I recently sent a friend of mine some recommendations for her upcoming vacation, I have Jamaica on the brain. Kingston, Jamaica to be exact.
When most people go to Jamaica, they go to Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, maybe Negril, and they do your typical touristy stuff, which is all well and good. But for those finding their way through the island's capital who may be thinking, "What is there to do in Kingston, Jamaica?" Well, I can help answer that. There are many things I love to do in Kingston, but here are my top five:
Visit Devon House
You cannot go to Kingston and NOT go to Devon House. It's just not an option. As the former residence of Jamaica's first black millionaire, George Stiebel, the property is a beautiful centerpiece to a serene setting that's filled with shops and places to eat. Ice cream lovers should head to Devon House I Scream, patty enthusiasts should stop by Devon House Bakery and coconut and smoothie sippers should stop by Coco Raw (full disclosure, this is my cousin's shop!). It's the perfect place for everyone at any time of day.
Tour the Bob Marley Museum
I can't count the number of times I've been to Kingston in my lifetime, and it wasn't until my last visit that I went to the Bob Marley Museum. If you love reggae and want to tour one of the homes and recording studios of one of the greatest musicians of all time (biased opinion but not really), this is the tour for you. I loved everything from the murals on the wall outside his home to the music that drifted out as we walked from room to room, hearing about the Honorable Robert Nesta Marley's life and vast accomplishments.
Eat Fried Fish and Lobster at Hellshire Beach
The actual beach of Hellshire has almost disappeared, but it doesn't mean this isn't a place worth visiting. In fact, for me this is one of my favorite meals and it is so simple: fresh fried fish and lobster with bammy and festival, all with an ocean view and maybe a bottle of Ting. There are numerous places where you can have this experience, and it doesn't get any more straightforward and relaxing than this. You just have to make sure to get there early enough to get a good seat.
Dine at Strawberry Hill
Probably the opposite experience of Hellshire Beach (but I love it nonetheless) is a trip high up into the Blue Mountains to Strawberry Hill Hotel. You don't have to be staying there to take advantage of their Sunday brunch or regular lunch menu, which comes with truly stunning views of Jamaica's Blue Mountains along with their calm setting and picture-perfect infinity pool. The times I've been there to eat (make a reservation, by the way!), I've inevitably ended up having a mini photo shoot on their property because it just begs for one.
Do the Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour
Similar to my visit to the Bob Marley Museum, the Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour wasn't something I had ever done until my last trip, and now I'm wondering what took me so long. This is a truly refreshing alternative to the beach. You're picked up in Kingston (or elsewhere on the island) and driven up into the Blue Mountains where you cycle leisurely down the hill, passing waterfalls, coffee plantations, dense areas of trees and lush landscapes. Oh, and you're fed not once but twice. There's truly no downside to this experience.
One of these days, I'll have to write about the things I love to do on the entire island because it's truly such a diverse and uniquely beautiful country (biased opinion but not really).
Have you ever been to Kingston?