Framed by the Blue Mountains and facing a natural harbour, Kingston is one of the most naturally beautiful capital cities in the world. The city is protected by a long sand spit that links Port Royal, the once notorious city that sank in the earthquake of 1692, and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island.
Kingston is Jamaica’s commercial centre and seat of government. While Downtown Kingston has a reputation that the city is working hard to shake off, this is the heart of things. Many consider it the “real” Jamaica. New Kingston, built on lands that were once part of a race track, is a fast-growing area of office blocks and shopping malls.
North of here is Devon House, a wonderful example of a restored Great House. Built by Jamaica’s first black millionaire in 1879, it’s a tourist treat, not least for the shop that sells the best ice-cream in town. It’s impossible to talk about Kingston without mentioning Bob Marley. His former home on Hope Road is a museum, the city’s No. 1 destination for many travellers taking cheap flights to Kingston.
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Kingston has a tropical climate, with a wet season (May to November) that takes in the hurricane season (June 1 to November 30), and a dry season (December to April). As the name would suggest, not much rain falls during the dry season, but travellers who land on cheap flights to Kingston during the month of March will discover that there are often heavy showers at this time.
Most travellers take cheap flights to Kingston between mid-December and mid-April. The Christmas, New Year’s, Carnival and Easter holidays are very popular.
Mid-April to mid-December are the low-season months. During this time many hotels reduce their number of rooms and services. Most rain falls in May, June, October and November.
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.