Ahh beautiful Jamaica. One of the most visited countries in the caribbean. Better known for it’s music, athletes, people and of course natural beauty. Ok so I might be a little biased being Jamaican. However, I’m not lying to you. And the nation’s capital Kingston Jamaica is no different.
But I’m guilty of one thing, I’ve not fully experienced the beauty of this island and that’s one thing I intend to change. The appreciation that I have found for Jamaica’s beautiful landscape is life changing and hope you come experience it too.
The city of Kingston (where I’m from) is the capital and largest city, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It’s a bustling cosmopolitan filled with a variety of things to do and places to see. But for outdoor enthusiast such as myself, sometimes you just wanna escape the city and be out in nature.
That’s why I’ve compiled a list of beautiful places to visit in or near Kingston for those who want to get out and spend a day outside surrounded by Jamaica’s natural beauty.
- Blue Mountains: The blue mountains is Jamaica’s highest mountain range, including the island’s highest point, Blue Mountain Peak, at 2256 m. Both the north and south coasts of the island can be seen from the summit and on a clear day, the outline of the island of Cuba, 210 km (130 mi) away.
The blue mountains is a great place to hike. There’s a path to the top is well laid out and does not require special equipment. Visit Holywell Park (pronounced Hollywell) which is a National Park consisting of four nature trails, picnic areas with six gazebos, two of which are hidden along the trail as well as barbecue pits and benches throughout the area.
Bathrooms are available near to all the gazebos. There’s a variety of guided tours that can be booked through the office as well as 3 furnished log cabins available for those on an extended trip. Wanna be closer to nature? No problem. Holywell also offers camp site rental. So bring your camping tent or rent one there.
2. Lime Cay Beach: Lime Cay is the main islet of the Port Royal Cays off Port Royal, Jamaica, located in the northeast of the reef. It’s a 15 minutes boat ride to a small beach that’s famous for sunbathing and recreation. During the holiday season weekends (summer and christmas) the island is a hotspot for party goers, often swarmed with boats, music and socialites. About half of the area is sand and coral and the other is wooden. It has no other infrastructure except for a small open building used for the preparation and selling of food. While you’re there, be on the look out for the “oyster man” who, as the name suggests, sells oysters on the weekends. He’s famous for his “backshot” sauce which is both delicious and spicy.
3. Fort Clarence Beach: Fort Clarence is located in Hellshire St Catherine. The beach is well maintained and perfect for visitors looking for a way to escape the urban area in search of nature. The Park is ideal spot for relaxation, family fun and picnics for residents and has no vendors to harass you while you relax unlike Hellshire. Used as a venue for outdoor dancehall parties, so party goers be aware!There are many hotels for tourist to stay close by and Fort Clarence’s facilities includes two fish restaurants, changing areas, showers, towel lifeguards and parking. There is a small entrance fee for both adults and children. But you’ll find that it’s a small price to pay for a day at this gorgeous beach.
4. Hellshire beach: Known for its white sand beach, fried fish and safe swimming.If you live or have visited Kingston before then you must of heard of Hellshire beach (you haven’t? well you know now). Unlike Fort Clarence, there is a free section of the beach, with many vendors around. There is a paid entry section of the beach with lifeguards. A buoyed off swimming area, changing/showering facilities and a fish restaurant and bar. There’s a number of tables and benches in the shade of grape nut trees.
5. Hope (/Royal)Botanical Gardens: The very name evokes childhood memories of school trips. Having picnics under large trees, seeing the animals and going on the rides that were available. As teenagers, the quiet serene setting was perfect for our weekend study groups and picnics on a warm sunny day.
One of my most favourite cherished places in Kingston to be out in nature and have some peace and quiet. It occupies 200 acres of land in the Ligunaea Plains of urban St Andrew. Established in 1873, today Hope Gardens is a green space in the Kingston metropolitan area. It is famous for its’ rare and beautiful species of tropical plants and trees. This includes the Hibiscus elatus (blue mahoe), the national tree of Jamaica. Visit Hope zoo, home to 900 animals across 60 species. Including indigenous, endangered, and endemic animals from Jamaica, Africa, and the Americas. There are many main attractions, a great place to visit for families and I think the kids would enjoy it.