What to do
Set in the handsome colonial-era townhouse where Bob Marley lived and worked from 1975 until his death, the Bob Marley Museum is Kingston’s most popular attraction. Guided tours take visitors through the singer’s recording studio and also visit the room where Marley was shot in an assassination attempt (you can see bullet holes in the walls).
Take an excursion slightly outside the city to visit the Craighton Coffee Estate. Blue Mountain coffee is widely recognized as one of the world’s best for its smooth, distinctive flavour. Naturally, visitors get the chance to sample the good stuff. Tours begin at the property’s grand 18th-century mansion, with guides then taking visitors on a tour of the hilly plantation. Among the highlights is a stop at a gazebo at one of the high points of the estate, which offers dramatic views over the surrounding mountains.
What to eat and drink
No trip to Jamaica would be complete without sampling some quality jerk and Sweetwood Jerk delivers. As its name implies, this joint’s authentic jerk meats are cooked slowly over a mix of sweetwood and charcoal. They serve jerk pork, chicken and pork sausage (jerk lamb sometimes makes its way onto the menu too, if you’re lucky), along with classic sides like fried dumplings (called festival), breadfruit and sweet potato.
Next head to Devon House, a 19th-century home built by George Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire. Grab a scoop at the property’s acclaimed ice cream shop, Devon House I Scream. They feature nearly 30 flavours of their thick, sweet ice cream, including only-in-Jamaica varieties like soursop and Devon stout. Swing by the bakery for some of the island’s best savoury patties – try the lobster or the shrimp.
Where to stay
It’s worth trekking just outside of Kingston proper to stay at Strawberry Hill and enjoy views over 3,000 feet above the city. Guest rooms housed in Caribbean-style cottages channel the resort’s colonial-era heritage with their jalousie shutters and mahogany bed frames draped in mosquito netting. There’s a dramatic outdoor infinity pool, as well as a lovely spa where treatments incorporate local products.
If you prefer to stick closer to downtown, try Terra Nova All Suite Hotel Suites, which is set in a restored colonial-era mansion. Suites here feel more like stately apartments than traditional hotel rooms, with each featuring a large sitting area and walk-in closet. Terra Nova is within an easy walk of some great restaurants but consider staying on property for at least one meal. Regency Restaurant offers a posh setting and tasty Europe-meets-Caribbean dishes, but it’s best known for its popular Sunday brunch.