How to Spend 3 Days in Kingston
While many travelers to Jamaica pass through Kingston en route to beach destinations or skip it entirely, the capital is full of culture and history and merits a few days. With three days in the city, you have time to see historic and reggae-related sites, as well as take a day trip out of town. Here’s one way to plan your time.
Day 1: Jamaican Heritage
Spend your first day in Kingston experiencing the city's history and culture. Learn more about colonial and maritime history at Port Royal, home to the 17th-century Fort Charles, now a maritime museum. For art, head to the National Gallery of Jamaica, home to a large collection of artwork from across the Caribbean, including pieces from the celebrated Jamaican artist, Edna Manley. Not far from the National Gallery is Emancipation Park, full of outdoor sculptures and art installations. Art-themed walking tours tend to include both attractions. For a taste of Jamaica, try a cuisine-focused walking tour, which introduces you to Jamaican classics such as patties and jerk chicken. And if your visit happens to be on a Tuesday, make sure to stop by the weekly Kingston Night Market, popular for its large variety of food and crafts vendors.
Day 2: Strictly Roots and Culture
Kingston is the birthplace of reggae music, and its reggae-related attractions are among its biggest draws. Spend your second day visiting reggae sites—you can save time and money and take the stress out of planning by booking a reggae-themed city tour. Popular attractions include the Bob Marley Museum, featuring a large variety of Marley-related ephemera exhibited in the former home of the late singer. Nearby, the Peter Tosh museum focuses on the works of Tosh. Further south, Trench Town is the neighborhood where Bob Marley came of age and is home to the Trench Town Culture Yard Museum; tours to the area usually stop at the museum and devote some time to exploring the neighborhood. If you have time, National Heroes Park is also worth a visit. A number of famous Jamaicans are buried at the botanic garden, including Marcus Garvey, and it's where Marley's famous 1976 Smile Jamaica concert took place.
Day 3: Out into Nature
There are plenty of great spots near Kingston for a day trips, particularly if you like to get out into nature. A short drive inland, the Blue Mountains are known for producing the country's finest coffee, but the area is worth visiting even if you aren't into coffee for its scenery and ample hiking and bird-watching. Know that the drive up can be treacherous, particularly on rainy days, so it's easiest to go with a tour or hire a private guide who’s familiar with the route. Alternatively, consider joining a day trip to Dunn’s River Falls, a terraced waterfall not far from Montego Bay. It’s one of the most popular of Jamaica’s numerous waterfalls, and most tours include the chance to climb up to the top of the falls (with the support of your guide) for expansive views out over the jungle.