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Dear Travelling Dad (Part 1)

Hello Jacky @ Jamaica So Nice,

We are planning a trip to Jamaica soon; we plan on seeing multiple cities. We are a family of five with kids between 2 and 5 years old. My questions are:

1. What are nice places to stay in Kingston?

2. How would we get from Kingston to Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios?

3. How would you compare and contrast Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios?


Traveling Dad.

Dear Traveling Dad:

Good day. In answer to your question, which I will do in three parts:

1. What are nice places to stay in Kingston?


Kingston Harbour Protected by Palisadoes Spit

Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, is the smallest parish yet the most populated city on the island. It faces the 7th largest natural harbour in the world that is protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island.

Kingston was founded in July 22, 1692, as a refuge for survivors of the earthquake on June 7th which had destroyed two-thirds of Port Royal. Prior to the earthquake, Port Royal was the headquarters of the English buccaneers and was known as the “wickedest” city in the world because of the riotous life of the town’s inhabitants including the likes of privateer, Sir Henry Morgan.

In the city center, the Bob Marley Museum is housed in the reggae singer’s former home. Nearby, Devon House is a colonial-era mansion with period furnishings. Hope Botanical Gardens & Zoo showcases native flora and fauna. Northeast of the city, the Blue Mountains are a renowned coffee-growing region with trails and waterfalls.

A Map of Central Kingston

Activities for families:

· Kingston Tour including Bob Marley Museum

· Devon House Tour including the famous Devon House Ice Cream

· Port Royal Heritage Tour

· The Blue Mountain Coffee Experience

Places to Stay

Places to stay in Kingston for families range from Air BnB (US$80 to US$140 per night) to guest houses and villas (US$55 to US$200 per night) and hotels (US$100 to US$400 per night). Guest houses and hotels in New Kingston are the most central, but with prices in the upper range. Popular hotels in New Kingston for travellers include Spanish Court, the Courtleigh, and the Courtyard Marriott. New Kingston gives easy access to uptown (Devon House, Bob Marley Museum), downtown (National Gallery) and the Norman Manley Airport.

While in Kingston, I recommend a trip to Port Royal for you and your family to discover a city shaped by hurricanes, pirates, earthquakes, and fire. Do take time while in Port Royal to enjoy the popular seafood restaurant, Gloria’s.

How to Get Around Kingston

Taxis: Licensed taxis – called ‘contract carriages’ – have red PPV license plates (those without such plates are unlicensed).

Private Radio Taxis: Kingston has a number of private radio taxi firms. The Transport Authority has established fixed rates according to distance.

Jamaica Union of Travelers Association (JUTA): Operates island-wide and is geared almost exclusively to the tourist business.

Buses: Kingston’s municipal bus system operates a fleet of large yellow buses. Buses stop only at official stops.

Minibuses: Private minibuses, also known as ‘coasters,’ have traditionally been the workhorses of Jamaica’s regional public transportation system. All major towns and virtually every village in the country are served. Licensed minibuses display red license plates with the initials PPV (public passenger vehicle) or have a JUTA (Jamaica Union of Travelers Association) insignia.

Route Taxis: Communal route taxis are the most universal mode of public transportation, reaching every part of the country. They run on set routes, are very convenient and a cheap way of getting around. Most route taxis are white station wagons marked by their red license plates. They should have ‘Route Taxi’ marked on the front door, and they are not to be confused with similar licensed taxis, which charge more. Avoid any taxi that lacks the red license plate.

Rental Cars: There are a number of rent-a-car companies in Jamaica, most of them offering vehicles for rent in major towns and at airports.

I would advise using JUTA, private radio taxi firms or rental cars for your convenience and security.

Jamaica So Nice

(876) 881-8283

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