Kingston – Jamaica’s capital and largest city – can also be referred to as the “Reggae Capital of the World.” It’s hard not to get into the groove when traveling to Kingston. Home to the Bob Marley Museum – not surprisingly the most visited attraction in Kingston – the city is flowing with culture and a Rastafarian vibe. Several other reggae legends hail from Kingston including Buju Banton and Sean Paul. Tourists booking flights to Kingston will find themselves immersed in the reggae influence.
Kingston is home to Devon House, a mansion with an adjoining park that once belonged to Jamaica’s first black millionaire, the National Gallery of Jamaica, and the Hope Botanical Gardens & Zoo. Had enough of the city? Head to Kingston’s Hellshire and Lime Cay beaches. Downtown Kingston is slightly more dispiriting – reports of crime, congestion and general chaos are standard complaints of the area. One thing is for certain about Kingston – you’re bound to have a good time. Travelers booking Kingston flights and accommodations will find themselves among more bars and clubs than anywhere else in Jamaica.
With little seasonal variation in the weather, Jamaica is pleasant year-round. Kingston is in the dry part of the island and sees little rain. What rain it does get falls mostly between May and November. Summers are hot, with temperatures reaching the 90s (Fahrenheit). Winters are balmy with daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s, cool trade winds, and cool evenings.The hurricane season is June through October, but the storms rarely hit Jamaica.
Across the island, mid-December through mid-April is the peak season for visitors and also for Kingston flights and hotel rates. Reservations need to be made at least a couple months in advance, especially if you are booking Kingston flights for Carnival, which is March and April in Kingston.
May through mid-December is considered the off season, and most hotel rates drop from 20 to 40 percent. Package tours and flights to Kingston are also typically lower during the off season.
As long as you don’t walk around at night, it’s great to explore downtown Kingston by foot. Taxis are great for short distances, but it’s better to hire a car and driver for the day. Make sure you take only Public Passenger Vehicle (PPV) taxis, which can be identified by their red PPV plates. Either hail or call ahead for a cab. Drivers are required to have their fares posted. Make sure you agree on a fare before you get in the cab, and be aware that fares will be more expensive between midnight and 5am. Your hotel can help you arrange a moped and motorcycle rental if you prefer to get around on your own. You can rent a car to get around, but the cost can be high. You’ll usually get your best rate when you book your Kingston flight. It might be less expensive to hire a car and driver, instead of renting your own car, and you’ll be able to avoid dealing with local drivers.