Fun facts about Kingston
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
Though most visitors fly into Jamaica’s “second city” of Montego Bay, the capital, Kingston, is a vibrant and energetic metropolis well worth a visit. With a new highway that has dramatically cut drive time from the resort areas of Ocho Rios, Mo’Bay and Negril (now just 3.5 hours away), it’s easier than ever to see the city on a day trip or overnight. No doubt you’ll want to tour the Bob Marley Museum, the National Gallery and Devon House, the historic home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire. And we highly recommend a jaunt out to the beach at Hellshire for the best fried fish and bammy this side of heaven. There’s no time like the present to plan your itinerary, but in the meantime, we’ll leave you with these five facts you likely don’t know about Kingston.
1. Kingston is actually Jamaica’s third capital. Spanish Town was the first, established in 1534, and then Port Royal, established by the British around 1655. When Port Royal was devastated by an earthquake in 1692, nearby Kingston, then an exclusively agricultural town, became a refuge for the survivors, and was designated the island’s capital later the same year.
2. Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean, and its capital is also the largest English-speaking Caribbean city south of the United States. (Still, is it a good idea to brush up on your patois before you go? Yeah, man!)
3. Despite Jamaica’s size, Kingston is the seventh largest natural harbor in the world. The two-mile-long, 10-mile-wide deep harbor is bordered by the Palisadoes spit, now home of the Norman Manley International Airport. The first commercial flight into Kingston, however, was a Pan Am seaplane, which landed in the harbor’s waters in December 1930. Who knew?!
4. Kingston is twinned with several cities around the world, including Coventry in England; Shenzen, China; and Miami, Florida (which comes as no surprise since there are roughly 50,000 Jamaicans resident in South Florida.)
5. The capital is the birthplace of Jamaica’s iconic fast food, the patty. Tastee, creators of the original (and best!), began baking the beef turnovers commercially in Cross Roads, Kingston back in the ‘60s, and celebrates a half-century of piping-hot, golden-flaked goodness this year.