Tourism and Sightseeing in Kingston


Tourist Office

The official contact agency for stop over and cruise passenger tourists is the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). The representatives of the agency have offices for convenient contact in Jamaica (multiple locations) as well as in North America, Europe and Asia (view office locations details). The head office is in Kingston

64 Knutsford Boulevard
Kingston 5
Jamaica, West Indies
Tel: (876) 929-9200 - 19
Fax: (876) 929-9375

The typical government business hours are 8:30AM to 5:00PM, Monday to Thursday, and to 4:00PM on a Friday. Check with the office ahead of visits to be sure of opening times and remember public holidays.

The websites of the Board serves as informational channels for tourists and commercial partners for Jamaica as a travel destination and tourist resort. The website content includes The Tourism Information Publishing Site (TIPS) which continuously feeds sector related news, provides corporate information on the JTB including service and destination awards and social responsibility activities of the JTB, and resource and visitor-interest information about the destination. The online information channels is readily accessible include a portal that facilitates search for lodging. This includes apartments and villas, and can be sorted by regions (e.g., Kingston) and facilities (e.g., gym).

TPDCo is affiliated with the JTB (both are agencies of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment) and deploys Courtesy Corp Officers in the resort towns of Negril, Montego Bay, Runaway Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio, and in Kingston. They add to the information service line on the streets for leisure seeking visitors to Jamaica. These officers monitor the towns to facilitate and enhance the friendly and safety experience of tourists. The Corps are usually seen in in the towns in pairs, a male and a female, nicely uniformed in Oxford white tops and tailored black pants, with some accessories in red, and a hat that seems to be made of straw and projecting a Caribbean flair. Visitors can ask them for directory and travel safety assistance, and possibly other general information about points of interests.

Sightseeing and Tours

Jamaica is skirted with about 322 km of beach-friendly coastline, including the Seven Mile Beach in Negril. The high and low tide around the coast is said to never vary by more than 41cm. Most of the land area is over 300m above sea level, and has a varied topography. The variety includes carbon-dense and biodiverse jungles and rainforests, watersheds, rivers, tracts of distinct limestone formations, caves and mountainous ranges. The Blue Mountain is the highest and most famous of the mountain range (2,256m above sea level), and well known for farms of coffee with a certain distinguished aroma. The land is home to some 406 recorded animal species (about 90 of which are endemic); and more than 3,300 vascular plant species (about 900 of which are native and endemic).

One of the most celebrated jewels of the land is Dunns River Fall. With walls that seem terraced, the JTB describes the falls as continuously regenerating itself from deposits of travertine rock, the result of precipitation of calcium carbonate from the river, as it flows over the falls. The height is reported to be between 55m and 300m. See facilities and contacts.

Mystic Mountain overlooks a verdant tropical rainforest. The setting is ideal for a chair lift overlooking the canopy of trees and whisking sky explorers to the top of the 700ft Mystic Mountain. See images, facilities and contact information for this richly rewarding attraction to the nature lover (click here)

Blue Mountain Peak is the highest mountain range in Jamaica and is as thrilling as it is daunting for hikers who are up to the challenge of a 22 km long trek to the clear the 2,256m peak. This is one of the fulfilling experiences of visitors and residents in Jamaica. More information is provided here.

Please use the website for information describing natural treasures of the land, beaches and booking information for tours (click here).

Some beachfront hotels in Jamaica have exclusive ocean-front location where you can access private beach. Other facilities you can find include conference room, wedding planner, championship golf course, health spa, waterslide, pools with waterfalls, plunge pools, children's programs, nightly entertainment, swim-up bars, lobby bars, beach bars and disco or nightclub. Apart from the resort oriented hotels and villa retreat, there are city centre business hotels. Most of the resorts offer complete family vacations within walking distance of downtown shopping and nightlife.

Events and Things to Do

Jamaica is bubbling with events for the entertainment seeker. This experience includes options in music, culture, cuisine, sports, active outdoors, and sea and underwater excursions.

Saturdays have horseracing at Caymanas Park, St Catherine. This is a full day's race program to experience equestrian entertainment and punt in pleasure. There are two polo tournaments in May; one staged by the Jamaica Polo Club at Caymanas Park Estate; and the other by Chukka Caribbean Adventures Foundation and Issa Trust Foundation at Chukku Cove Farm.

Aviation enthusiasts get a treat with the General Aviation Day/ Open House at Tinson Pen Aerodrome in May. One of the stops in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the Errol Flynn Marina of Port Antonia. This happens in May and is bit of a buzz with festivities when racers stop over there.

There is a Tennis Open for juniors at Liguanea Club, and for seniors at Half Moon Bay Resort, in June. Jamaica American Chamber of Commerce sponsors a Golf Open at Rose Hall, in June. In July, There is the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship in Montego Bay.

Utech Track & Field Classic is in April, and Jamaica International Invitational Meet in May. Both are staged at the National Stadium. Between March and May, schools athletics roll out the Prep Schools Champs, Primary School Champs, Gibson Relays, Boys Champs and Girls Champs. Development (or preparation) Meets take place earlier in January or February all over Jamaica at various school grounds. However, note that the marquee event for sports in Jamaica is Boys & Girls Champs in March.

Jake's Treasure Beach Off-Road Triathlon in April features a 500m swim, 25km mountain bike ride, and a 7km country run for the extreme outdoors enthusiast. Another entree in this line is is the Tuff Warrior Challenge Fun Mud Run at Caymanas Park in June. Makka Pro Surf Contest is the only pro surf competition in Jamaica happening out at Southhaven in Yallahs St Thomas. Car racing is at Dover in Easter.

Festivals in Jamaica

The Maroon Quao Victory Day Celebration held in Portland happens in June and features performances and exhibits in traditional Maroon culture and cuisine. The Kingston Pon di River Literary Arts & Music Festival is staged in June. Jamaica Cultural Development Commission hosts a drum festival at Hope Gardens in June. Utech hosts a literary festival in April. Calabash Literary Festival which attracts an international following is in June at Treasure Beach. Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) Urban Art Festival is staged in June. The National Dance Theatre Company do their creative dance show in Easter. Arts and culture festivals include Dis Poem Wordz & Agro Festival in Portland. On the last Sunday of every month the National Gallery of Jamaica hosts a special exhibition.

The annual show of the Jamaica Horticultural Society (JHS) is usually around April. The parish chapters of JHS make it their business to host their own garden and flower show annually as well, usually in their home parish. The annual show of the JHS was hosted in recent years at the National Arena in Kingston.  Farm shows are usually hosted by parish chapters of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS). The culmination is the big farm show of the JAS at Denbigh in August.

Families anticipate the Kite Festivals in Priori and Melrose Farm, both in St Ann and different dates in April.

Jamaica marks its signature in cuisine in a number of food shows from April all the way through summer. Various sponsors stage food festivals highlighting different foods including breadfruit and yam; and food preparations namely jerk, roast and curry. At these festivals you may find a particular food (e.g., breadfruit) or food preparation (e.g., curry) as the base ingredient for juices, wines, paste, sauce and meals. Eating out is in fashion during Restaurant Week in November (Jamaica Gleaner promotion) at many participating restaurants; and chefs are toasted in the annual food awards show (Jamaica Observer promotion) held at Kingston in May.

The party scene is hot in Jamaica all year round but especially in the summer. There is some kind of publicly promoted entertainment event targeted for a month end in Kingston. Sometimes the show is a party series, e.g., every two months, and has its own 'cult' following such that promoters barely do any promotion. Bachanal J'Ouvert (a carnival fete in several parishes) builds up into the Bachanal Jamaica Carnival Road Parade in Kingston. There is SFP Weekend – literarlly a weekend-long party, held in July at various venues in Ocho Rios. Several parties are part of the entertainment calendar for Jamaicans in this way. Party specialists in Jamaica do not mind that some parties are themed. For example, there is 'retro' to target music from a certain era. a roots reggae party may reflect a heavily rotation of message music, norms that disavow alcohol and endorse smoking ganja, and the menu at food stalls that is vegetarian friendly. A regular party crowd might prefer heavier dosage of top 40 in the party mix and definitely alcohol. Picking the party to go to will require navigating these considerations.

Live shows keep going with Jamnesia (Bull Bay) on a monthly basis. Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts recognise International Jazz Day with a concert. There is the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival usually around June; and in January, there is the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival usually in Montego Bay. Both events are posted on the JTB's events calendar. Reggae Sumfest at Catherine Hall and Fun Fest at Hope Garden - two popular reggae shows, are in June. The University Singers have their concert at the UWI Mona Campus in June. Fun in the Son Gospel Festival at Portmore in July is popular in Jamaica. The program includes as a prelude the Gospel Jazz concert at Red Bones Cafe.

Fashion shows by Saint International and Canadian Women's Club of Jamaica in Kingston in May. The Caribbean Fashion Week is held in June.

Help to find events

There is no official and exhaustive calendar of these events posted online are listed in a publicly available document. However, some websites  post events. Some of these events may be logged with the Ministry of Tourism and promoted in the events program to guests at some hotels. These are some online resources that can help with keeping up with these events:

Update 15/03/2016


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest WhatsApp Addthis

Recommended Partners

Learn a language

Babbel is an international success with millions of active subscribers and ranked as the world's #1 innovative company in education.

Why Babbel?

Learn and review on your own schedule: Mobile, tablet or desktop compatible, with lessons about 10-15 min.

Expert-made courses: Learn the basics or focus on topics like travel, culture, or business.

Start speaking right away: Learn to speak a new language naturally and conversationally.

Every learner is different: Each course is based on your native language and personal interests.

Remember everything: Babbel employs proven cognitive techniques that move new vocab to your long-term memory.

Refine your pronunciation: Practise speaking and improve your pronunciation with speech recognition technology.

Try Babbel for free today

Registration with Babbel is completely free of charge and the first lesson in every course is FREE to try (Depending on the language you choose, that's 30-80 free lessons!).

If you want full access to Babbel's courses, simply choose a subscription that works best for you. Buy with confidence: 20-day money back guarantee!

Do you have comments or personal information to communicate about this article? Add your comment.

Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Go to the Forum to talk more about tourism and sightseeing in Kingston, entertainment.

Download the full digital PDF expat guide in Kingston

Download the guide: Kingston, Jamaica
  • See in one single booklet all the articles for a city guide for expatriates.
  • Enjoy full colour photos to illustrate each section.
  • Additionnal maps: Region, City view, Neighborhood, Street view.

  • - My Life Abroad -
    A selection of expat stories

    "A fun compulsive read!"
    J. Matcham, Amazon

    "I strongly advise people ready to live abroad to read this book!"
    Patrice, Amazon