Founded as the capital in 1692 after an earthquake devastated Port Royal, Kingston’s historic downtown is home to some of the city’s best-known attractions.
This colorful part of Kingston also includes Trenchtown, created by the British as a model housing project in the 1930s, and is now hailed as the birthplace of rocksteady, ska and reggae. Of course, the most-visited site in this edgy neighborhood is the wooden colonial-era house Bob Marley lived in until his death in 1981, and which has been converted into a museum.
A guided tour, which combines several of these attractions, including the home and recording studio of reggae legend Bob Marley, is the best way to visit this area.
New Kingston is the buzzing business district located in the heart of downtown and is where you’ll find some of the city’s best-known hotels including the colonial-style Spanish Court hotel and the Eden gardens Wellness resort, which is renowned for its health and wellness facilities. Some of these hotels located near the Half Way Tree Clock Tower were constructed in 1913 to commemorate the visit of England’s King Edward VII.
Further along Hope Road stands Devon House, the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, and just opposite this elegant 19th-century building on Trafalgar Road is the museum devoted to Peter Tosh, one of the three core members of Marley’s band The Wailers.
Twenty minutes drive west of Kingston, laidback Spanish Town, which was founded by Francisco de Garay in 1534, was Jamaica’s first capital city. In 1655, the British laid claim to this historic town and kept it as the country’s capital until 1872, when they moved it to Kingston.
As one of the island’s most historic cities, numerous sights of interest here include the 17th-century St Jago de la Vega, the Caribbean’s oldest Anglican cathedral surrounded by historic graves, as well as the magnificent 18th-century redbrick House of Assembly and other heritage buildings around Emancipation Square.