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Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

Hell, Norway
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Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

My wife and I are planning a trip in February or March. We realize Kingston has a gritty reputation, but are surprised that so many tourists seem to come to Jamaica, flop on a beach - which is probably something they could do at home, and more cheaply - and ignore the capital, and what I assume is a key essence of Jamaica. Or am I the naive, deluded one?

We envisage spending half our 8-10 days or so in Negril (she is a beach bum, I am not but am stoked to see the Peter Tosh mausoleum), and then half in Kingston which could also double as a base for excursions to Ocho Rios - which also seems to get whacked by the experts here - the Marley Mausoleum, Johnny Cash house, Firefly, etc. People also seem to rave about Port Antonio, so maybe that too. We are very quick, efficient explorers.

Anyway, if this looks really stupid please tell me.

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Connecticut
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1. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

You have a very ambitious agenda given the travel times between the venues you have mentioned.

Travel time to Kingston from Negril is about 4 hours unless you fly (meaning a fat wallet) and that may not save all that much time because the flight would probably go from Negril to MoBay, change planes, then MoBay to Kingston's executive airport.

Kingston to Ochi is about 2 hours each way as is Kingston to Port Antonio, again each way.

If you plan on renting a car, know (as I am sure you already know) that learning to drive on the left side of the road is not an immediate adjustment. Add to that the chaotic driving of Jamaica's roads (2 lanes are often 3 or 4 lanes of cars).

Hell, Norway
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2. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

Thanks. The idea is to fly into MoBay, out of KIN - though the schedule keeps changing. But that will be a potential issue, yes. Just got back from a month driving in NZ/Aust, a manual no less. The hard part has been readjusting to USA. Funny how the brain works.

3. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

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4. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

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TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum posting guidelines with prohibiting self-promotional advertising or solicitation.

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Removed on: 21 May 2014, 14:55
UK
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5. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

Kingston, or the corporate area, simply isn't geared towards tourism. It is an urban sprawl with a lot of interesting aspects, but it needs time to explore. Getting a taxi-driver to bring you to the various places is a good idea, driving around the city is very hazardous. The Marley museum is one thing that should interest you, and it is conveniently located on the Hope Road in New Kingston, close to some of the hotels. In downtown Kingston you will find the Institute of Jamaica and Coronation Market.

You can go out to the old capital, Spanish Town, go up into the Blue Mountains or visit Port Royal. Just be prepared for a different experience :)

Hanau, Germany
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6. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

We drove the north shore road from Negril to Kingston, we turned a few miles before Ochi to see the fern gully on the way to Kingston, but you could visit Ochi and then drive that short bit back.

In case you want to drive in Kingston get a sat-nav we got completely lost without one, from there you can drive through the blue mountanins which are stunning and go to Port Antonio or take the coastal route.

Driving in Kingston is kind like driving in Paris, France, mad but manageable.

Do explore Jamaica, I couldn't belive how different it was in such a small space, we went from MoBay to Treasure Beach, Negril, Kingston, Blue Mountains, Port Antonio to Ochi, since we had a late flight out we drove back to MoBay on our last day, took about 1 1/2 hours to reach the airport from Ochi.

In case you want to rent in MoBay and drop off in Kingston go with Island Car rental they don't have a one way drop off fee, also they deliver the car to Negril for 40,-- US$ extra, we ordered ours for 11 am and the driver was there at 10:30 to do all the paperwork, at 11 we were ready to hit the road.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

Being in Kingston is like other busy cities, there is lots to see and do and some areas are safe and some are not. There is the Bob Marley Museum, The National Gallery, Emancipation Park, Devon House, etc... Also, the Blue Mountains are amazing! Hiking, checking out a coffee plantation or visiting Strawberry Hill for dinner and the sunset view over Kingston.

Johnny Cash house is in Montego Bay, only about a 10 minute drive from the airport, it would be a quick visit when you arrive.

If you plan to drive on the south coast between Negril and Kingston there are nice spots to check out - Treasure Beach, Blue Fields Bay, Floyd's Pelican Bar, Black River.

Port Antonio is gorgeous, and much different than the rest of the island. It is more lush and has many smaller separate beaches to explore.

I've been to Jamaica many times, but about 3 years ago I did a 10 day trip traveling around the island - Ocho Rios, Negril and Montego Bay with stops in Kingston, Treasure Beach and Middle Quarters. It is easy to get around and see lots in 10 days. Just remember that while you and your wife may be quick, efficient explorers things in Jamaica are rarely quick or efficient!

Leeds, United...
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8. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

we are staying in Ochos Rios (Couples Tower Isle)and want to visit the Blue Mountains using a private taxi tour. Would we have to go via Kingston?

Any advice really appreciated.

United States
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9. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

"Would we have to go via Kingston?"

No. The Blue Mountains are located between Ocho Rios and Kingston (the mountains are south of Ocho and north of Kingston).

Edited: 12 December 2013, 17:57
Central Ohio
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for Negril, Port Antonio, Treasure Beach
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10. Re: Why is Kingston excluded from recommended itineraries?

"half our 8-10 days or so in Negril and then half in Kingston which could also double as a base for excursions to Ocho Rios - which also seems to get whacked by the experts here - the Marley Mausoleum, Johnny Cash house, Firefly, etc. People also seem to rave about Port Antonio, so maybe that too."

With 8-10 days it's certainly doable. You will probably want to rent a car. I have some tips and thoughts on that: travelsinjamaica.com/p/renting-car-in-jamaic…

Ocho Rios, like MoBay (and now Falmouth) is a cruise ship port and big tourist destination. As such it (along with Negril) attracts a fair number of hustlers. It's entirely possible to deal with that, sometimes it takes more than "no thanks" but not often, some prefer to skip that and instead hang out in less touristed areas.

By all means, go to Kingston. I visited Jamaica for many years before I finally went and when I got there I had no idea why I waited so long to go. It's a very interesting city, I believe the largest English speaking one south of the US.

Re: Ochi to Blue Mountains: You don't have to go via Kingston but that is the main approach to the peak, most coffee plantations, Strawberry Hill, Newcastle, Holywell National Park, etc. So it depends what you want to do. It's possible to go in form Portland side (Annotto Bay or Buff Bay) but that's at least as long a drive as Kingston from Ochi. While there are mountains between Ochi and Kingston, they are not the Blue Mountains. Those are directly north and east of Kingston while Ochi is northwest.