Five of the Easiest Caribbean Countries to Visit from Kingston
by Stephanie Koathes Oct 14, 2019
Travelling around the Caribbean is not as easy as it should be.
All too often visiting another island from Jamaica involves multiple connections or even overnight layovers. That’s slowly changing. We’ve rounded up five of the easiest Caribbean countries to visit from Kingston. These flights are either non-stop or only have one short connection.
There’s a lot more to Barbados than Crop Over. Beaches like Browne’s Beach, Pebble’s Beach and Batt’s Rock Beach are calling your name. Or head over to the east coast for some surfing and see the stunning boulders strewn about Bathsheba. Good food abounds, and a visit to the weekly fish fry on Fridays at Oistins is a must, as well as the Friday night lime at Pelican. You’ll find lots of restaurants and bars with world-class food and some with live music. If you’re into shopping, head over to Limegrove in St James, Bridgetown, Sheraton Mall, and Lantern’s Mall in Christ Church. You can also check out the last remaining drive-in theatre in the English-speaking Caribbean at Globe Drive-in. Caribbean Airlines operates a non-stop flight twice weekly from Kingston to Bridgetown.
While Panama isn’t a Caribbean country, it does have a Caribbean coast, and we’re including it on that technicality. Panama is a fantastic place to visit. Panama City is beautiful and impressive with glittering skyscrapers stretching towards the sky or reaching up in glass and steel spirals. The city’s Casco Viejo area is full of exclusive restaurants and colonial architecture. There are malls aplenty just as well outfitted as those in the US. Albrook Mall is a bus ride away from the city centre. If you’re not interested in shopping, venture out of the city and take in the rainforest bursting with life. Of course, a visit to the Panama Canal is a must. There are non-stop flights to Panama City from Kingston on Copa Airlines that will get you there in just about two hours. You can also find cheaper, but significantly longer connecting flights on Spirit Airlines.
If you follow what the locals say, there are 365 beaches on Antigua and Barbuda to enjoy. Some of the standout places to enjoy the sand and sea are Dickenson’s Bay, Long Bay and Ffryes Beach. Half Moon Bay and Darkwood Beach are also popular, but the waters can get rough, so they are best suited for snorkelling. Over on Barbuda, you’ll find pink-hued sands. Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua’s English Harbour is a completely restored 18th-century Georgian dockyard. Antigua and Barbuda is the place to go to enjoy nature and relax and recharge. There are two flights per week from Kingston to the Antiguan capital St John’s on Caribbean Airlines.
St Maarten/ St Martin
St Maarten/St Martin is a unique place to visit. The tiny island is split into a Dutch-speaking side (St Maarten) and a French-speaking side (St Martin). Shopaholics will love both sides of the island because of the duty-free status. Stroll through Front Street in Philipsburg (capital of St Maarten) and explore all the bargains. Visit the Guavaberry Emporium to try the island’s official liqueur made from rum, sugar and wild guavaberries. On the French side, the village of Grand Case is home to several world-class restaurants serving delicious French cuisine. If you’ve ever wanted to try baring it all on the beach, head to Orient Beach on the French side where clothing is optional. Take in the sunset at Cupecoy Beach on the Dutch side where there are beautiful views of Saba in the distance. If you have a valid US, British, Canadian or Schengen visa, then you do not need to apply for a visa to visit this island. Caribbean Airlines operates non-stop flights twice weekly between Kingston and St Maarten/St Martin.
Direct flight or one-stop connecting
From classic cars and cigars to an imposing wall separating the city from the sea, there’s a lot to see and experience in Havana, Cuba. As our closest neighbour, it should be easier to visit Cuba than it is, but it’s still one of the easiest regional trips you can make. Starting at the end of 2019 there will be direct flights from Kingston to Havana on Caribbean Airlines.
There are also connecting flights on Copa Airlines from Kingston making just one short stopover in Panama City before continuing to Havana.
In Havana, you can shop for famous Cuban cigars, and even take a day trip out to the area where tobacco is grown. Take a sunset stroll along the five-mile-long Malecón, an imposing stone wall that keeps the city safe from the sea. Enjoy a drink at the Floridita bar in Habana Vieja where author Ernest Hemingway used to relax. And of course, go for a ride in a classic car.
You can find flight times on Find Yello so that you’re always in the know when you’re travelling.
You might also be interested in our tips on packing light when you’re planning your Caribbean vacation!