a VirtualTourist member from Garland asked on Oct 17, 2016
Hello Travelers and Jamaica locals. I'll be visiting Kingston for a music conferance November 11-14. I wanted to stay in Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, buy then I saw how far they are from where the conferance is in Kingston. I'm scared to stay in Kingston lol, so I'm looking for other options. Any hotel or area suggestions? Somthing not to far from kingston,but safe and nice? Tips on places to visit and to avoid would also be greatly appreciated ♡
Welcome to VT
I have not been to Jamaica so I can't help you …but if you try to look into the Jamaica pages you might find good info their.
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Hmm, I am not happy with the constant "Kingston is dangerous blah blah..." I know 26 people who have been to Jamaica, but none of them has ever been to Kingston. As far as I am concerned, if you have not been to Kingston, you have not been to Jamaica.
However, I know that changing folks mind is not easy, so I will respond as requested. Perhaps a stay in Morant Bay, about a half hour ride from Kingston is what you need.
Since you are still going to Kingston anyway, perhaps a visit to the Bob Marley Museum, or a visit to the Marley studios called Tuff Gong.
If you think about it, you will be safe at a decent hotel in Kingston, and only have to worry about your time on the street while in Kingston, so staying away from Kingston does not really solve your perceived problem.
I will say this though, you will get some cat calls from guys on the street, but I expect you have had those happen before.........d:o)
Just in case here are some good Kingston hotels.
Dazzit gyal, One love! Iree!.......d:o)
I tend to agree with Eric that Kingston is over-rated as a "dangerous" city. There are parts not so safe, but your driver will help with this. Main problem is trying to get a taxi at a place like the Bob Marley Museum, where driver's try to jack up the rate. If you want stay in quaint Port Antonio which is a lot closer than the Montego Bay area. There is a raft trip on the Rio Grande that is really great.
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Port Antonio still more than 2 hours away. It appears to be less on a map, but it is anything but a straight line. The road goes around the Blue Mountains Nat'l Park. Once you hit the north shore, you are still only half way to Port Antonio. If Kingston is still scary then Morant Bay is within easy reach of Kingston.
Good point about the taxi price jackup. Always agree on a price before getting in a taxi.
One problem with the south coast west of Kingston is the mixture of industry and not so great tourism towns. The Gold Coast to the southwest is very interesting dry climate that's opposite from tropical climate of Port Antonio, with some good homestay possibilities and great seafood restaurants. As for the taxi price jack up, I'm talking about negotiated rates BEFORE you climb into the cab. Generally, even if the cars look sort of irregular and beat up, taxi service throughout the island is very good and cheap. But, you have a problem of price and unreliability if the driver has to far to deadhead back home. So, the best strategy is to hire a driver to take you one way, say from Port Antonio to Kingston, and then get another taxi driver to do the next leg of the trip. However, in KIngston, if you have the driver simply drop you off without plan as to who the next driver hired will be, you can run into price problems, especially at touristy places like the Bob Marley museum which has a parking lot of drivers waiting to charge big bucks. Kingston is not a big city, but it is like any capital, the taxi driver's are more jaded than elsewhere. Also, one huge disavantage of staying at an all inclusive fancy resort, expecially on the east side of Negril, is the problem of being price hammered if you step outside and hail a taxi. If you stay at smaller locally run hotels, the front desk will often help find a driver for you for transportation. As Eric notes, be sensible about negotiation. Jamaica is not a ripoff scheming place at all, but driver's make mistakes or get lazy. When we arrived the on-line reserved rental car wasn't available because they ran out of stock for rental cars :-) But, no money down, so no money lost. We hired a taxi for trip to hotel, then discovered taxi would be cheaper than rental car. Jamaica's narrow curvy roads with left side driving are not particularly safe for tourist drivers. Later, we made the mistake of giving a driver we had used and liked an advance to get him to return the next day for the subsequent leg of the trip. Unfortunately, his home was too far away, he woke up late, and he tried to run another fare from airport before coming to pick us up. He was supposed to arrive at 8:30am, but by 9:30 I called him to see what the delay was about. He said that he was still at his home and would arrive at 12noon. We didn't have time for that, so we hired another driver. I tried to get the hotel to that made the recommendation to make him refund the advance, but no such luck, so we lost a bit of money. In the grand scheme of things it really was not a big deal. We would have lost much more if we had rented the car, or worse if we had paid an American travel agent to book a bus tour package. Don't worry be happy.
Alan is pretty much on the money in his response.
Personally I would have no problem in a Kingston hotel, I know the city pretty well, and I would venture to say that you should not have any problem. However, a pretty lady on her own will cause some wolf tickets when walking out by herself. I would recommend a taxi to and from wherever you go.
Have your hotel get you a driver/guide for these occasions. A hotel recommended taxidriver will take you to the Marley museum and wait for you, eliminating the need for a taxi choice at the museum.