Worth A Visit

10 Things To Do When You Find Yourself Marooned in Kingston, Jamaica

Here’s a guest post from my brother Steve Wilson who spends many days on the road travelling as part of Sean Paul’s management team, but Kingston is his first love when it comes to cities.

Here’s his list of 10 things to do when you find yourself marooned in Kingston, Jamaica

1. Sip Blue Mountain coffee in the Blue Mountains.
Listen, I don’t care if you don’t like coffee…do yourself a flavor and make the 30-45 minute journey up to the cool Blue Mountains and sip a cup of one of the world’s most sought after brews. This aromatic arabica only grows at above 3000 feet* and the views up there are utterly entrancing. Best spots to sip your cup:
  • Cafe Blue (the closest to Kingston)
  • Eits Cafe (a bit higher up and great food too)
  • Gap Cafe (the highest with amazing views)
  • Serendipity Spa (get a massage and go sit in the waterfall afterward)
  • Twyman’s Old Tavern Coffee Estate
  • Craighton Estate (also offers a coffee tour)
  • Strawberry Hill (the most exclusive spot and also a Chris Blackwell owned boutique hotel with an infinity pool to rival all others)

Strawberry Hill, Irish Town, Jamaica

Strawberry Hill, Irish Town, Jamaica

Dining on the Edge at EITS Cafe
Dining on the Edge at EITS Cafe
2. Get your Robinson Crusoe on with a Lime Cay day trip.
If you have a friend in Kingston have them scoop you up for the 30 min drive to Port Royal or hop an On Time Taxi for about 30-40$ then go to Morgans Harbour or Y-Knot pier to catch a motorized fishing canoe (around 10$) for a 15 minute ride to your own deserted island (not really deserted, usually others there but not generally crowded, especially during the week).
Bring food & drinks cuz there’s nothing out there.
If you want that real deserted island feel skip Lime Cay and head 5 mins further to the aptly named Maiden Cay (a small sandbar) but bring plenty water to drink and sunblock.
If you go midweek you may be lucky and have the island all to yourself but make sure to tell the boat Captain what time to pick you back up, return fare is in included.
Lime Cay, Jamaica
Lime Cay, Jamaica

3. This should be number 1 really.

Do yourself a favor : unlock your phone before you come  & pick up a Digicel SIM card with a data package at the airport when you arrive. GPS works here, Waze, Yelp & Trip Advisor too.

4. Check out Dub club

A reggae night the way your parents would remember it. No cover charge (I think there is a small one now), Roots Rockers, live performances, herbal wines, Ital food & pure vibes. The mixed crowd here may surprise you – Rastas, Japanese tourists, local socialites, European backpackers and random drop ins all make the scene here one of smoke filled acceptance & oneness.
5.  If you eat ONE THING, eat THIS.
Hellshire fried fish – snapper fish perfectly seasoned, then deep fried, over an open wood fire, on the beach, 25 mins from the New Kingston hotel strip. Simply the best fish you will ever eat. Make sure to get the festival (a sweet fried bread) and the scotch bonnet peppers in vinegar.
Hellshire Beach, Jamaica
Hellshire Beach, Jamaica
6. The Trench Town Culture Yard. 
The regularly visited Bob Marley museum & Devon House are cool but if you really want to feel steeped in reggae history go to the Trench Town Culture Yard. It’s a rudimentary tour for sure but this small community spawned an unreal amount of reggae royalty in the 60s & 70s. Go pay your respects.
Trench Town Culture Yard
Trench Town Culture Yard
7. Hit a late night street dance if you have the balls.
From Rae town & Wet Sundaze to Mojito Mondays, Boasy Tuesdays, Weddy Weddy Wednesdays & whoppings in Olympic Gardens on Thursdays (just to name a few) there’s a open air street dance for every night of the week.
These dancehall fueled soirees are part dance off, part fashion show & generally kick off well after midnight so go to a bar first then head over once you have your liquid courage up. Local host is a must for this one unless you’re a regular to Kingston and fluent in patois.
8. Be a Jerk
Sure do the popular spot Scotchies but also sample a few other joints if you can: Chateau 7 up in Stony Hill is owned & operated by the dancehall temptress Patra and offers tantalizingly sexy twists on jerk as well as unique takes on soup including: jerk pork, corned pork, silver snapper and conch. #Yum
One of my other faves is SweetWood Jerk much more centrally located at New Kingston’s Emancipation Park.
9. History & Culture Lessons of Downtown.
Hit the National Gallery and view pieces from Jamaican stalwarts like Carl Abrahams, Kapo, Gene Pearson, David Boxer & the inimitable matron of Jamaican Art Edna Manley as well a modern art rising stars like Ebony Patterson & my friend Berette Macauley. (YardEdge note: Jamaica Cultural Enterprises/JCE does a great Art Tour of Kingston – see our archives).
Other key downtown points of interest are:
  • Watching the local kids diving off the pier on the waterfront – make sure to tip or buy them a drink… This is thirsty work!
  • The Jewish Synagogue – complete with sand from the holy land, one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere built by Spanish Jews
  • The Gleaner – one of the oldest newspapers in the Western Hemisphere
  • Coronation Market – a local guide is a must to guide you thru this maze of local produce (YardEdge note: JCE also does a food tour of Kingston)
  • F&B Downtown  – great sandwiches, coffee & lunch in a very Manhattan-comes-to-Kingston setting
  • Institute of Jamaica – one of Jamaica’s most significant cultural, artistic and scientific organisations
10.  Kick back & relax, buss an ice cold Red Stripe beer. 
Or chop a fresh coconut & add some of our world famous Appleton rum and just be easy. Remember our national motto may be “out of many one people” but our national attitude is “soon come”.
Brawta (means something a little extra) – Other treats if you have time :
  • Jamaican Chinese food – a fusion sent from God
  • Cook shops like Lorna’s, Fatty’s, Ziggy’s serve up a dizzying array of local favorites all day long such as the national dish ackee & salt fish, brown stewed chicken, run down, fried chicken, callaloo, soups & porridges (porridge is an art form in Jamaica and we make it from everything; peanuts, plantains, cornmeal, oats and even rice).


YardEdge note: Recommend checking the current status, pricing, opening hours, etc. of all of the above as these change. 

For more info on some of the above spots check out on YardEdge:

Strawberry Hill for Tea Anyone?

Saturday Hellshire Vibes

JCE’s Kingston Art Trek Explores Uptown & Downtown Galleries

Jamaican Architect, Christopher Whyms-Stone Talking About Trench Town and the Culture Yard

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