Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, is the island’s cultural, economic, musical and political heart. The Bob Marley Museum, a large, creaky, colonial-era wooden house where Bob Marley lived and recorded until his death, is the city’s most visited site. Much of it remains as it was in Marley’s day, including his original recording studio. There are also many celebrations in honour of the late Reggae superstar, particularly for one week in February where festivities take place to commemorate his life and achievements. The Devon House Heritage Site, built in 1891, was the mansion of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Steibel. It is beautifully furnished with a collection of 19th century antiques. Today many of the buildings on the property host some of Jamaica’s finest restaurants and confectioneries. Devon House I Scream, Jamaica’s premier brand of ice cream flagship store, and the Devon House Bakery are excellent options to try. Port Royal is one of the oldest and most historic regions of the country. A must visit is the Giddy House at Fort Charles. For Jamaican art, head to the National Gallery of Jamaica, which offers a distinctly Jamaican take on international artistic trends and the country’s artistic heritage.
Lime Cay, a 15 minute boat ride from Port Royal, is a small, low-lying cay with one of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica. On Sundays, it is a favourite getaway for the locals and some of the best snorkelling on the south-east coast of Jamaica can be done here. Castleton Botanical Gardens and Hope Botanical Gardens are great getaways from the city. They host some of the country’s most popular exotic botanical collections, with many rare and beautiful species of tropical plants and trees, including Jamaica’s national tree. The Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains National Park is an unspoiled preserve offering breathtaking mountain views, waterfalls, lush rainforests, and exotic plants and animals. The Blue Mountains is the longest range on the island and its highest point, Blue Mountain Peak, is accessible by mule or foot. On a clear day, it is possible to see Cuba from the peak. For some home cooking, head to Sonya’s Homestyle Cooking, famous for big traditional breakfasts, or Patrice’s Restaurant, famous for its stew pork and dumpling. To wind down at the end of the day, to mingle with the locals and to listen to some great reggae music, try Red Bones Blues Café, Mingles Pub or Y-Knot Bar.