Few travelers—particularly Americans—take the time to visit Kingston, although organized day trips make the city accessible from Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. That's understandable, as Kingston can be a tough city to love. It's big and has a bad reputation, with gang-controlled neighborhoods that erupt into violence. However, New Kingston is a vibrant and exciting business district with many places to enjoy. If you yearn to know more about the heart and soul of Jamaica, Kingston is worth a visit. This government and business center is also a cultural capital, home to numerous dance troupes, theaters, and museums. It's also home to the University of the West Indies, one of the Caribbean's largest universities. In many ways, Kingston reflects the true Jamaica—a wonderful cultural mix—more than the sunny havens of the North Coast. As one Jamaican put it, "You don't really know Jamaica until you know Kingston."
The Blue Mountains are a magnificent backdrop for the city, with fabulous homes in the foothills. Views get grander as roads wind up into one of the island's least developed yet most beautiful regions.