Exploring: Kingston, Jamaica
If “vibesiest” were a word, it would be the all-encompassing adjective that would describe Jamaica. With a size of 4,240 sq. miles, Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and is bursting with energy and culture at every seam and corner. Around the capital of Kingston you’re guaranteed to find a smiling face, a character with a story to tell or the perfect stranger wishing you “blessed love” as you go about your journey. Artistic talent also seems to be written in the genetic code of all Jamaicans as somehow, everyone is either a musician, poet, singer, painter, sculptor and all the in-betweens. Art enthusiasts, eat your heart out!
1. Jamnesia Surf Camp: This is home for me and the first stop for you when planning anything surf related in Jamaica. The first and still only surf camp in Jamaica, this family-run business boasts of a 15+ year existence, catering to travelling professional and novice surfers alike. With quaint rooms for rent, board rentals, lessons and surf trips on offer, it’s pretty easy to understand why people keep coming back! And did I mention there’s a live music jam session here every other Saturday night? SCORE: YOU.
One-Piece: Jenny in Papaya
2. Cable Hut Beach and Copa Cabana: Two breaks for two different surf levels, both within walking distance of the surf camp. It’s so close you can hear the waves breaking! Cable Hut Beach is literally just beyond the backyard/beach gate and is perfect for beginners. It offers long, cruisy lefts over pebbles and cobble stone with a reef just beyond the break that’s fun for exploring on flat days. Copa Cabana on the other hand, is only a 5-minute walk west of Jamnesia. Copa, as it is affectionately called, is more suited for intermediate to advanced surfers. This wave is primarily a right but occasionally a few decent lefts may roll through. If you do go left though, just know that you’ll run the risk of ending up in dreaded urchin city.
Top: Adelina, Bottom: Low Rider | Both in Tangalooma
3. Cane River Falls: “Up a Cane River to wash my dreads / Upon a rock to rest my head…” The opening lyrics to Bob Marley’s Trench Town. Just one mile east of the camp, this hidden gem is situated in a narrow valley with standing trees atop of the cliffs, whose roots cascade the crevices of the rocks. While the path down through the cave is breath-taking, the hike back up may leave you breathless as you make your way up the steep, the one-hundred-plus stair way. The majestic waterfall is both beautiful and powerful and focusses into a pool surrounded by rocks that are perfect for jumping. Be sure to carry a bottle of eco-friendly shampoo to rinse the salt from your hair, then lay on the enormous boulders eating mangoes freshly picked from one of the trees that line the river bed at the base of the cliffs.
4. Port Royal: Once hailed as the “wickedest city in the world” due to its reputation for piracy in the 1600’s, Port Royal is now known for the wickedest seafood on the south-eastern coast. Gloria’s Rendezvous has no competition as their generous servings of honey jerk shrimp is second to none. It’s not uncommon to find surfers from Lighthouse rewarding themselves here after an epic session as Port Royal is a mere 5-minute drive from this surf spot, both of which are located at various points of the Palisadoes Strip.
Bottom: Delphina Shorts
5. The Kingston Craft Market: Fake dreadlocks, coconut-shell earrings, Rasta-coloured trinkets, this is the one stop shop for all things “JAMAICA.” Located on the Waterfront of Downtown Kingston, you’re guaranteed to find that special souvenir to let that person know you were thinking of them while you were in paradise.
6. Devon House: Built in 1881 by Jamaica’s first coloured millionaire, the mansion is now a museum and has been designated a National Heritage Site. The property now hosts several restaurants and gift shops but the most popular is the Devon House Ice Cream. With 27 flavours to choose from including local tropical fruit flavours like soursop, mango and guava, it’s no wonder National Geographic rates it as the 4th best ice cream in the world!
Kingston, so much to do in such little time! There are so many other activities that this little city offers but I guess you’ll just have to make a trip experience them yourself!
Follow Chrissana's adventures in Jamaica on Instagram (@sandycurlz).