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by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
If I only had a few days to see all Jamaica has to offer I would be bewildered, so I commend all the travellers who make this hard decision ever so often. The decision usually boils down to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril or Portland, for obvious reasons. But, when compared to these four places, very few tourists seem to venture to our capital city.
As of late, however, the need to see more of the country outside of just the walls of the resort has risen to an all-time high and visitors and even locals are keener on learning about the history and culture of Jamaica. A quest that often leads you away from the poolside bars and grills and to the hills and valleys, cookshops and corner stops of the real Jamaica, which we locals traverse every day.
So the decision between Kingston and Montego Bay ultimately boils down to what vacation you would like to experience. Don’t worry, I will try to walk you through both options as best as possible and then you can make an educated choice.
For those of us who are still unsure, and are apprehensive about choosing, I’ve come up with an idea to help decide which Jamaican city would be perfect for you.
Kingston, Jamaica is the commercial and cultural hub of the island, the heart of Jamaica. Most companies, whether private or government-owned, are usually headquartered in Kingston. While it has been the business centre of the country for decades and still continues to be, there is something to be said about the importance of Kingston in the creation of cultural staples, namely Reggae and Dancehall music.
Some of the most legendary studios are Kingston-based and as such, some of the greatest names in music and culture started their respective careers in Kingston. If you love busy cities, filled with people hustling to and from their respective jobs then this is the perfect place for you.
Is Kingston Bigger than Montego Bay?
Yes and considerably so. Kingston is the largest English speaking city in the Caribbean.
Is Kingston Jamaica worth visiting?
It definitely is! There is so much that Kingston has to offer.
Can you drive from Kingston to Montego Bay?
Yes, you can. That is the most common way to travel between the two cities. Although there is the option of an aeroplane ride down, it almost seems inconvenient and highly unnecessary unless you have pressing engagements in either city that you would miss if you drive.
There are many public buses that travel directly from one city to the next, stopping occasionally in other major towns such as Ocho Rios or Spanish Town for pick up or drop off. In the event you are unable to get a bus straight from one area to the next, then the next best thing to do is travel to another town such as Ocho Rios then on to your final destination Kingston or Montego Bay.
How far is Montego Bay From Kingston?
A trip from one city to the next will take approximately 3 hours, without consideration of traffic and public transportation.
The next best option is to use the services of Knutsford Express or drive yourself.
Though it is known for being the business epicentre of Jamaica, Kingston is also known as the birthplace of Reggae music, the past home of Bob Marley and other prolific figures in Jamaica.
Kingston is also known for its breathtaking array of food and restaurant options, its wide variety of niche attractions and the ease of access to every and anything, whether good or bad.
Does Kingston have beaches?
Most people would not think this is true as they think of everywhere but Kingston when they think of beaches. But there are actually some good options for beaches in Kingston and its environs. None rival those in Montego Bay though.
Montego Bay is the tourist hub of the country. When you think of vacations to Jamaica filled with bottomless drinks, delicious food and beautiful beaches, then Montego Bay is where you’ll have to go to find that.
Built for “touristy” experiences, Montego Bay is filled with all-inclusive resorts, beaches, adventures, bars and clubs for entertainment right through the day and night. The majority of jobs in Montego Bay are centred around tourism, Business Processing Outsourcing and Financial Services.
What is the Hip Strip?
The Hip Strip is the centre of things touristy in Montego Bay. There are all-inclusive resorts, ranging in luxuriousness and size, many restaurants and of course many options to party. There is also a beach and a gaming lounge on the strip as well. Many duty-free shops line the streets where you can buy clothes, jewellery and arts and crafts.
It all depends on the kind of vacation you are hoping for, if you want a relaxing vacation, where you can avoid the noise and unwind for a while, then you will get that in Montego Bay. If you are seeking a more culturally driven experience then you will be in Kingston where you will have access to more museums, art galleries and parks.
Which Airport is better?
That generally depends on where you which to go, both major airports are located in Kingston and Montego Bay. The Norman Manley International in Kingston has more flights and goes directly to more countries though.
In terms of safety, Montego Bay is better. Montego Bay does have its fair share of unsavoury areas, however, they are clear indications as to where you should and shouldn’t go. Kingston is also a larger city and it is best to have a friend from the area in your group to help you navigate the areas you should and shouldn’t go.
So which is better Kingston vs Montego Bay? That is dependent on you, and the type of vacation you wish to have. Both cities are not too far apart where you can’t at least try to visit the two if you have the time. The great thing is, you are in Jamaica, that fact is the start of any good trip.
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