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Posted on 07/31/2023 in Business

Discovering the Parish of Kingston, Jamaica: 18 Hidden Gems to Explore - Part 1

Discovering the Parish of Kingston, Jamaica:  18 Hidden Gems to Explore - Part 1

Jamaica's vibrant capital, Kingston, is a city teeming with history, culture, and natural beauty. Beyond the well-known tourist attractions, there lies a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. In this two-part series, we will unveil 18 of Kingston's lesser-known but captivating destinations that will surely make your visit to the island unforgettable.

About Kingston
The parish of Kingston is a vibrant and bustling city full of culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you're a seasoned traveller or a first-time visitor, plenty of off-the-beaten-path attractions exist in this lively city. From clubs, street dances by top Sound Systems, and numerous restaurants to dine in, there are gardens, museums, and lots to entertain visitors and Jamaica residents thoroughly.
Kingston is the vibrant capital and largest city of the island nation. Nestled on the southeastern coast, it serves as Jamaica's cultural, economic, and administrative hub. With its rich history, lively music scene, and diverse population, Kingston offers a unique blend of Caribbean charm and urban energy. As you explore, you'll encounter a city that pulsates with life. The bustling streets are lined with colourful markets, vibrant street art, and the rhythm of reggae music. The city divides into two main areas: Downtown and Uptown Kingston.

Downtown Kingston
Its historic buildings and markets are the heart of the city's commercial and cultural life. It's home to landmarks such as the National Gallery of Jamaica, where you can immerse yourself in the country's artistic heritage, and the historic Devon House. This beautifully preserved mansion offers a glimpse into Jamaica's colonial past.

Uptown Kingston
It is known for its upscale neighbourhoods, luxurious hotels, and stylish restaurants. Here, you'll find the iconic Bob Marley Museum, located in the former residence of the legendary reggae musician. It is a must-visit for music enthusiasts and provides an in-depth look at Bob Marley's life and legacy. So now, let's dive into 18 exciting places to visit in Kingston.

Devon House
Devon House, a must-visit, is a historic mansion in Kingston, Jamaica. It was built in the late 19th century by George Stiebel, Jamaica's first black millionaire. The estate was named after Stiebel's birthplace in England and was used as his residence until he died in 1896. Today, Devon House is a popular tourist attraction and cultural centre featuring a variety of shops, restaurants, and museums. Visitors can participate in a guided tour of the mansion to learn about its history and see its beautiful architecture and furnishings. The property also includes a spacious lawn and gardens, often used for events and concerts.

One of the most famous features of Devon House is its ice cream, which is made using a traditional Jamaican recipe and is considered some of the best ice cream in the country. The ice cream parlour is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. It offers a variety of flavours, the traditional Jamaican favourites like rum, raisin, mango, and guava. Devon House is a must-visit destination for Jamaican history and culture.

Bob Marley Museum
The Bob Marley Museum is located in Old Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica, and celebrates the life and legacy of the legendary musician and cultural icon Bob Marley. The museum is the former residence of the famous singer, which he purchased in 1975 and lived in until he died in 1981. The museum features numerous exhibits showcasing Marley's life and achievements, including his music, role, and impact on Jamaican culture and the world. The exhibitions include artefacts such as Marley's possessions, photographs, recordings, interactive displays, and video presentations.

Visit the property, which includes Bob's bedroom, his recording studio, and the outdoor space where he often performed. The museum also hosts special events and concerts throughout the year. Put this iconic location on your to-do list as it is a must-visit destination for fans of Bob Marley and reggae music and anyone interested in Jamaican history and culture. It is a powerful tribute to one of Jamaica's most beloved and influential figures and provides an immersive and engaging experience for visitors of all ages.

Emancipation Park

Emancipation Park is a public park that opened in 2002 and marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Jamaica. The park is a symbol of freedom and national pride, and it has become one of the most popular public spaces in the city. Beautiful landscaping, including manicured lawns, walking paths, and various trees and plants, decorate this beautiful landmark. The park's centrepiece is a striking statue called "Redemption Song," designed by Jamaican artist Laura Facey and depicted a naked man and woman reaching toward the sky, symbolizing their liberation from slavery.

In addition to its beautiful design, Emancipation Park is a popular sports and recreation spot. It features a running track, a fitness station, and a playground for children. The park also hosts various cultural events throughout the year, including music festivals, art exhibits, and outdoor concerts. It is a powerful symbol of the country's history and culture, providing a beautiful and relaxing space for visitors to enjoy. Whether you want to relax, exercise, or learn more about Jamaican history, Emancipation Park is a great place to visit.

Lime Cay
Lime Cay is a small uninhabited island located off the coast of Kingston. Many locals and tourists adore this location due to its unspoiled beaches, transparent waters, and relaxed ambience. The only way to reach the island is by boat, and tourists can hire a nearby fisherman to take them there for the day. When visitors arrive, they can relax on the Beach, dip in the warm waters, and enjoy water sports like snorkelling and scuba diving. The island's coral reefs are teeming with different marine creatures, from colourful fish to sea turtles, and sometimes even dolphins or whales can be seen.

Lime Cay is also a popular spot for picnics and beach barbecues. Visitors can bring their food and drinks or purchase snacks and beverages from the local vendors who set up shop on the island. Lime Cay: a beautiful and peaceful destination that offers a welcome escape from Kingston's city life's hustle and bustle. Jamaica's pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and thriving marine life make it a destination that travellers cannot miss.

National Gallery of Jamaica
The National Gallery of Jamaica is the most established and extensive public art museum in the English-speaking Caribbean. It is in downtown Kingston, in a historic building that was once the residence of a prominent Jamaican businessman. The museum features a collection of over 2,000 works of art that span from traditional folk art to modern pieces. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, and mixed media works, and it highlights the work of numerous influential Jamaican artists, such as Edna Manley, Albert Huie, and Barrington Watson.

Various temporary exhibits are shown throughout the year, featuring the work of Jamaican and international artists. In addition to its exhibits, the National Gallery of Jamaica also offers educational programs, workshops, and lectures, designed to engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds. It provides a unique and insightful look into the country's artistic heritage, and it is a powerful tribute to the creativity and talent of Jamaica's artists.

Hope Botanical Gardens
This unique Garden is a public park located near Papine, Kingston. It was established in 1873 and covers an area of approximately 200 acres, making it one of the largest public green spaces in the city. The Hope Botanical Gardens features a wide variety of plants and trees, including many native species of Jamaica and exotic plants from around the world. The park's lush greenery provides:

●    A peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
●    Making it a popular spot for picnics.
●    Walks.
●    Other outdoor activities.

In addition to its natural beauty, Hope Botanical Gardens also features a variety of attractions and amenities for visitors. These include a large pond, a children's playground, a jogging track, and several picnic areas with grills and seating. Throughout the year, the park offers diverse cultural events, such as music festivals, art exhibitions, and outdoor concerts. Among the park's most popular attractions is the Hope Zoo, which houses various animals, including lions, monkeys, and birds. The zoo is a favourite spot for families with kids, offering an exceptional and informative experience for visitors of all ages. And if you're getting married and need the perfect backdrop for those fabulous photos, then book your spot with your photographer to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Holywell National Park Jamaica
Holywell National Park is a protected natural area in Jamaica's Blue Mountains, approximately 1.5 hours drive from Kingston. The place is well-known among hikers, birdwatchers, and nature enthusiasts for its breathtaking landscapes and wide range of flora and fauna. The park covers an area of approximately 330 acres and is home to various ecosystems, including tropical montane forests, grasslands, and wetlands. Its high elevation - ranging from 900 to 1200 meters above sea level - provides a cooler climate compared to the rest of Jamaica, making it a welcome respite from the heat of the lowlands.

Visitors to Holywell National Park can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and camping. The park has numerous hiking trails that vary in difficulty, providing options for both strolls and more demanding hikes that offer breathtaking panoramic views of the nearby mountains. Along the way, hikers can spot a variety of bird species, including the Jamaican Tody and the Rufous-throated Solitaire. Several camping areas, with basic facilities such as restrooms and cooking areas, are on the property.

Camping at Hollywell National Park
Camping overnight in the park provides a serene and peaceful experience, allowing visitors to enjoy the calming sounds of the forest as they wake up in the morning. Its stunning scenery, diverse ecosystems, and relaxing atmosphere make it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse oneself in the beauty of Jamaica's natural world. And depending on the time of year, pack your sweater and prepare to keep warm on those chilly nights and evenings.

Fort Clarence Beach
Fort Clarence Beach is a public beach located in southern Jamaica, near Portmore. It is known for its clear waters, soft white sand, and beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea. The Beach is named after the nearby Fort Clarence, which the British built in the 18th century to defend against possible attacks by pirates and other invaders. The Beach is a beautiful location for swimming, sunbathing, and unwinding. There are also plenty of opportunities for water sports, such as jet skiing, parasailing, and snorkelling. The Beach is well-maintained and has several amenities, including restrooms, showers, changing rooms, and a restaurant that serves delicious Jamaican cuisine.

Fort Clarence Beach is not only known for its stunning natural beauty but also for its vibrant atmosphere. The Beach is a well-liked destination for both residents and visitors. On weekends and holidays, it becomes a hub of activity with music, dancing, and local food vendors offering tasty treats.

Trench Town Culture Yard
Trench Town Culture Yard is a historic site in the Trench Town neighbourhood of Kingston, Jamaica. It is a popular attraction for visitors interested in Jamaica's music and cultural history. The Culture Yard is a former government housing project converted into a museum and community centre in 2003. It features exhibits on the history of Trench Town and its role in developing reggae music, including displays of photographs, musical instruments, and other artefacts.

As a visitor, you can participate in a guided tour of the site. During the tour, you can explore vital community areas, such as the communal kitchen and the small room where Bob Marley lived as a young man. The tour is by local guides who can provide insights into the history and culture of Trench Town.

Not only does Trench Town Culture Yard hold great historical and cultural importance, but it also provides programs and services to residents as a community centre. These include music and dance classes, job training programs, and youth development initiatives. Curious to know about the musical history of Jamaica? Then make your way to Trench Town, the subject of Bob Marley's famous reggae song, 'Trench Town Rock.'

Strawberry Hill
Strawberry Hill is a luxury resort in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, just outside Kingston. The resort is renowned for its breathtaking vistas of the neighbouring mountains, verdant tropical greenery, luxurious lodgings, and top-tier facilities. The boutique hotel and spa is nestled in the cool hills and offers stunning views and world-class amenities.

Originally built as a coffee plantation in the 18th century, Strawberry Hill has been beautifully restored and transformed into a luxurious retreat for travellers seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. The resort features 12 spacious cottages and villas, each with its private balcony or veranda offering breathtaking views of the mountains and the city of Kingston below. In addition to its luxurious accommodations, Strawberry Hill also provides a range of amenities and activities for guests to enjoy: an infinity-edge pool, a fitness centre, and a restaurant serving delicious Jamaican cuisine.

Visitors can also make the most of the resort's fantastic location in the Blue Mountains by discovering the nearby surroundings. Several hiking trails are nearby, including the famous Blue Mountain Peak Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The site is also known for its coffee plantations, and guests can take tours of the nearby coffee farms to learn about the history. Whether relaxing in one of the resort's elegant cottages or exploring the breathtaking mountain landscape, guests are sure to have a memorable and rejuvenating experience. Part 2 of : Discovering the Parish of Kingston, Jamaica,18 Hidden Gems to Explore.

Jack's Hill
Jack's Hill is a residential neighbourhood overlooking Kingston, Jamaica. It is known for its stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains and its relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. The community is named after a British planter, John "Jack" McMorran, who owned a plantation in the area in the 18th century. Jack's Hill has become a favoured spot for tourists seeking a break from the busy environment of Kingston and a chance to appreciate Jamaica's serene countryside.

One of the main attractions of Jack's Hill is its panoramic views of Kingston and the sea. Visitors can drive up the winding roads to the top of the Hill, where they will find several lookout points offering breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding landscape. In addition to its scenic beauty, Jack's Hill is also known for its vibrant music scene. The neighbourhood has been home to several famous musicians, including Bob Marley, who lived in the area during the 1970s. Whether taking in stunning views, enjoying live music, or simply relaxing in peaceful surroundings, visitors will indeed have a memorable and enjoyable experience in this charming hilltop neighbourhood.

Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains, located in eastern Jamaica, are a mountain range renowned for their breathtaking natural beauty and significance in the country's history and culture. The range stretches for about 28 miles and is home to Jamaica's highest peak, the Blue Mountain Peak, which rises to 7,402 feet. Every trip to Kingston is complete with a visit to the Blue Mountains.

It is known for its lush tropical vegetation, which includes coffee plantations, rainforests, and a variety of exotic plants and trees. The area also has several rare bird species, including the Jamaican blackbird and the swallow-tailed hummingbird. One of the major draws of the Blue Mountains is its famous Blue Mountain Coffee, which is widely regarded as one of the finest coffees in the world. The coffee is grown on the slopes of the mountains and is known for its rich, full-bodied flavour and smooth finish. Visitors can take tours of the coffee plantations to learn about the history and production of the coffee and sample and purchase the coffee to take home.

Hiking in the Blue Mountains

Another popular activity in the Blue Mountains is hiking. The area is home to several hiking trails, including the famous Blue Mountain Peak Trail, a challenging but rewarding hike offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Other trails lead to waterfalls, historic sites, and other points of interest in the area. Overall, the Blue Mountains are a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Jamaica's natural beauty, history, and culture. Whether enjoying the views, exploring the coffee plantations, or hiking the trails, visitors will indeed have a memorable and enjoyable experience in this stunning mountain range.

Fort Augusta
Fort Augusta is a historic fortification located in Port Royal, Jamaica. The British initially built it in the 1730s as a small battery to protect the entrance to Kingston Harbour. Over time, it was expanded and renamed Fort Augusta in honour of Princess Augusta, the wife of King George III. Fort Augusta played a vital role in the defence of Jamaica and the British Empire during its long history. It was used as a garrison for British soldiers and as a base for naval operations in the Caribbean. It also served as a prison for both military and civilian prisoners, including members of the Maroon community who rebelled against British rule.

Today, Fort Augusta is a historic site open to the public. Visitors can explore the fortifications and learn about its history through exhibits and guided tours. The site also houses the headquarters of the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard.

Rae Town Fish Market
Rae Town Fish Market, located in Kingston, Jamaica, is a well-known fish market and a popular destination for seafood lovers. It is in the neighbourhood of Rae Town near downtown Kingston. The fish market offers fresh fish and seafood products, including snapper, grouper, lobster, shrimp, and more. Local fishermen bring their catches directly to the market daily, ensuring customers access a diverse selection of high-quality seafood.
Visitors to Rae Town Fish Market can expect a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. The market is typically busiest in the early morning when fishermen bring in their catches, and residents and restaurant owners come to purchase fresh seafood for the day. The market offers an authentic glimpse into Jamaican culture and provides an opportunity to interact with locals. Apart from the seafood, the market also has numerous food stalls and vendors offering authentic Jamaican cuisine. Visitors can enjoy dishes like escovitch, jerked fish, fish soup, and other seafood delicacies with local flavours and spices.

Rae Town Fish Market is a must-visit destination for seafood enthusiasts and those looking to experience the vibrant atmosphere of a Jamaican fish market. It offers a unique opportunity to sample fresh seafood, interact with locals, and immerse oneself in the rich culinary traditions of Jamaica.

Bob Marley Statue
The Bob Marley Statue is a prominent landmark located in Kingston, Jamaica. It stands in Emancipation Park, a public park commemorating the emancipation from slavery in Jamaica. The statue was unveiled on December 1, 2003, in honour of the legendary Jamaican musician and cultural icon Bob Marley. The figure depicts Bob Marley in a dynamic pose, with his right arm outstretched and holding a guitar. It captures his charismatic stage presence and the passionate energy he brought to his music. The statue is a tribute to Bob Marley's significant contributions to Jamaican music, reggae and his role in spreading messages of peace, love, and social justice through his music.

Emancipation Park, where the Bob Marley Statue is located, is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists. The park offers beautiful green spaces, walking paths, and a serene atmosphere for relaxation and reflection. The statue has become an iconic symbol of Jamaican culture and attracts visitors worldwide who come to pay homage to Bob Marley's legacy. The Bob Marley Statue serves as a reminder of the profound impact that Bob Marley had on music, culture, and social activism. It stands as a testament to his enduring influence and continues to inspire generations of fans and musicians worldwide.

Port Royal
Port Royal is a historic town located on the southeastern coast of Jamaica, near Kingston. It is situated on a small peninsula at the mouth of Kingston Harbour and was once a bustling and prosperous seaport during the 17th century. In the 17th century, Port Royal was known as the "Wickedest City on Earth" because it was a haven for pirates, privateers, and buccaneers. It was a significant centre for trade and commerce in the Caribbean, attracting wealthy merchants, sailors, and adventurers from Europe.

However, in 1692, Port Royal was devastated by a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which resulted in most of the town submerging under the sea. The quake caused significant damage and loss of life, and the city never fully recovered its former glory. Today, Port Royal is a small, quiet town with around 2,000 residents. This location boasts a wealth of historical and cultural significance, making it a highly sought-after destination for tourists fascinated by its past and archaeological relevance. Visitors can explore the remnants of the old town, including Fort Charles, built in the 17th century to defend the village from attacks.

Port Royal is also home to the Port Royal Marine Laboratory, which researches marine biology and conservation. The town is known for its seafood; visitors can enjoy fresh seafood dishes at local restaurants. Additionally, Port Royal is a gateway to the Palisadoes strip, a narrow stretch of land that connects the town to Norman Manley International Airport. The 'strip' is known for its beautiful beaches, including the famous Lime Cay, which offers crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches. Port Royal, Jamaica, is a historically significant town with a rich maritime past. It attracts visitors interested in its pirate history, archaeological sites, and beautiful coastal surroundings.

Sherwood Content
Sherwood Content is a small rural community located in the parish of Trelawny, Jamaica. It is situated in the northwestern part of the island, approximately 20 kilometres east of Montego Bay. It is best known as the birthplace and childhood home of the world-renowned Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes in history. Bolt, who holds multiple world records in sprinting, grew up in Sherwood Content and attended the Waldensia Primary School in the area.

The community of Sherwood Content is primarily an agricultural area, with residents engaging in farming and livestock rearing. The region's fertile soil and favourable climate support the cultivation of various crops, including sugarcane, bananas, yams, and other vegetables. While Sherwood Content may be a small community, it holds a special place in Jamaican sports history through its association with Usain Bolt. The community's pride in its famous son and agricultural activities contribute to its unique character.

Usain Bolt's Tracks & Records
"Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records" is a chain of sports-themed restaurants and bars co-founded by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. The first establishment of Usain was launched in Kingston, Jamaica, in 2011. Since then, it has broadened its reach to nations such as the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands. Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records establishments provide a unique dining and entertainment experience that combines Bolt's passion for sports and Jamaican culture- the restaurants' decor, sports memorabilia and photographs showcasing Bolt's achievements and the history of Jamaican athletics.

The menu features a variety of Jamaican and international dishes, including jerk chicken, curried goat, burgers, wraps, and seafood. A diverse assortment of drinks is available at the bar, such as Jamaican rum-based cocktails, various beers, and other beverages. In addition to dining, Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records locations often host live music performances, DJ nights, and sports viewing events. The venues aim to create a vibrant and energetic atmosphere that reflects Bolt's dynamic personality and love for sports.

These establishments have become popular destinations for locals and tourists, attracting sports enthusiasts, fans of Usain Bolt, and those seeking a taste of Jamaican cuisine and culture. Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of Jamaica's greatest athletes while enjoying a memorable dining and entertainment experience.

Enjoy Kingston, Jamaica
In summary, Kingston, Jamaica, is a city that captivates visitors with its lively culture, rich history, and warm hospitality. It's a place where you can immerse yourself in reggae rhythms, sample delicious cuisine, and discover the unique spirit of the Caribbean. Whether you're a 'foodie,' nature lover, or a history buff, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city. So the next time you plan a trip to Kingston, explore some of these off-the-beaten-path attractions for an unforgettable experience.

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