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Robert Curley

Travel Warning on Kingston, Jamaica

By May 24, 2010

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Gangs loyal to a local drug lord blockaded streets in Kingston, Jamaica and attacked police stations with Molotov cocktails, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency in the city. The violence centered mostly on West Kingston, CNN reported.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert advising Americans to "consider the risks" of travel to Kingston. The gang violence was sparked by a U.S. attempt to extradite Christopher "Dudas" Coke on drug charges.

"The possibility exists for violence and/or civil unrest in the greater Kingston metropolitan area," according to the alert. "There are unconfirmed reports of criminal gang members amassing in the Kingston area, as well as mobilization of Jamaican defense forces.  If the situation ignites, there is a possibility of severe disruptions of movement within Kingston, including blocking of access roads to the Norman Manley International Airport.  The possibility exists that unrest could spread beyond the general Kingston area."

May 24, 2010 at 8:50 am
(1) anonymous says:

What about travel to other parts of Jamaica (e.g. Montego Bay)?

May 24, 2010 at 9:28 am
(2) kerisha says:

Travel to other parts of the island is not affected.

May 24, 2010 at 10:08 am
(3) joe says:

I am traveling to the ritz this weekend, should I be concerned??

May 24, 2010 at 10:37 am
(4) gocaribbean says:

Unless you are traveling to Kingston/Port Royal or perhaps Port Antonio, it’s unlikely that you are flying into Kingston. Most tourists fly into MoBay/Sangster International Airport, which is on the other side of the country and far from the trouble in downtown Kingston.

Highly unlikely that any of this will affect leisure travelers unless you are heading to downtown Kingston (business travelers, for example). No worries at all if you are staying at the Ritz.

May 24, 2010 at 11:18 am
(5) MIke says:

Should I be concerned about Sandals Montego Bay July 9th?

May 24, 2010 at 11:32 am
(6) travellady says:

how about Negril the latter part of this week? Flying to Montego Bay – is the road from the airport to Negril safe?

May 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm
(7) traveller says:

I am leaving for Montego Bay in the morning. Should i be concerned. I looked everywhere on the internet and even called hotels. They say no, but they are not Americans with concerns.

May 24, 2010 at 12:15 pm
(8) Lauren says:

Hey. I am traveling into Kingston on Wednesday and driving to Negril. I am planning to drive straight out of the city and it is during the day. Renting a car. Should I be concerned?

May 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm
(9) Andrew says:

Lauren, YOU should be concerned since this violence is still fresh. I would confirm pick up times from the airport and plan your route. Don’t listen to anyone else, I am Jamaican, and you should be concerned or see if you can change your flight to Mo Bay.

May 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm
(10) gocaribbean says:

Thanks Andrew. Definitely extra caution is required if you are flying into Kingston. I have calls in to the Jamaica Tourist Board and will post their advice as soon as I have it available.

May 24, 2010 at 2:01 pm
(11) gocaribbean says:

FYI, here’s an update in the situation in Jamaica:


May 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm
(12) Sharon says:

Lauren – do not drive from Kingston to nigril. Delay your trip until after ( if ever) the situation settles down. I lived in Jamaica for a year and just came back to the USA April 1, 2010. The USA travel alert is not something you should take lightly. Kingston is not safe right Now. Kingston by car is certainly not safe right now.

May 24, 2010 at 5:51 pm
(13) Christina says:

I am supposed to connect in Kingston on Saturday morning on my way to montego bay, we couldnt get a direct flight. anyone think there will be a problem with that? is it safe?

May 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm
(14) Jessica says:

i am heading to the new secrets resort in montego bay june 13. should we make alternate plans? flying from miami to montego bay airport and the straight to the resort. any thoughts?

May 24, 2010 at 8:35 pm
(15) gocaribbean says:

@Christina: As long as you don’t leave the airport you should be fine. Flights are departing and arriving normally.

May 24, 2010 at 8:37 pm
(16) gocaribbean says:

@Jessica: Kingston is 130 miles from Montego Bay. You will be far from any trouble spots. So, I would not change your plans unless something changes radically on the ground in Jamaica.

May 24, 2010 at 9:22 pm
(17) erikj says:

connecting to montego bay from kingston and then on to couples in negril by personal driver 5/27-5/31. is it safe?

May 25, 2010 at 12:15 am
(18) Kristen says:

We’re flying into Montego Bay then being transported by and to a resort in Ocho Rios on Thursday. Is Ocho Rios or the roads to it safe?

May 25, 2010 at 7:26 am
(19) gocaribbean says:

@Kristen: No indications of any problems in Ocho Rios or the Montego Bay area.

May 25, 2010 at 11:28 am
(20) Maryann says:

I am currently in Negril vacationing, all is well. Nothing is happening this far away from Kingston. We are going closer to Kingstoon on Wednesday for a YS waterfall and zip lining tour…

May 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm
(21) Julie says:

We are leaving for Ocho Rios tomorrow. Should we be concerned with the drive from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios?

May 25, 2010 at 7:08 pm
(22) Kobi says:

My husband and I, along with another couple, are scheduled to fly into Montego Bay airport on Tues., June 1st and take a shuttle to the Iberostar Rose Hall in MBJ. We are very concerned about the travel to and from the airport and if there is a possibility that the MBJ airport would cancel flights, leaving us stranded in MBJ. Should we be concerned and at what point should we cancel travel?

May 28, 2010 at 6:45 am
(23) Deb says:

My husband and I are flying into Montego Bay on June 5, then going to Couples. Are there any concerns regarding the transfer from air port to resort?

June 2, 2010 at 11:08 pm
(24) Dawn says:

Another family of 5 plus my own family is flying into Montego Bay and then traveling to Ochos Rios to Beaches on June 30th. SHould we be concerned for our safety. We are particularly concerned about the ride from the airport to the resort. Can you recommend a chartered plane which will fly from MB to OR? Thank you.

June 3, 2010 at 9:17 am
(25) Christine says:

We are flying into Kingston next week and the shuttle for Beaches Boscobel (Ocho Rios) is picking us up and transporting us to the resort. Should we be concerned with flying into Kingston and taking this shuttle to the resort?

June 3, 2010 at 9:51 am
(26) Go Caribbean says:

@Dawn, et al: If you are flying into Montego Bay no added security steps seem necessary at this point. @Christine: The violence around Kingston seems to have died down, but the state of emergency is still in effect. You should check in with Beaches about this question, and I will post any additional information as it becomes available.

June 4, 2010 at 5:53 am
(27) Jenny says:

Hi lm traveling to Jamaica on the 15th June, and staying at Runaway Bay, could you tell me if its safe for us to be going.

June 14, 2010 at 5:51 pm
(28) glo says:

planning a trip to negril, dec 1 2010, should we be concerned about the weather (hurricanes etc.)

June 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm
(29) Go Caribbean says:

@glo: Dec. 1 is well after the end of hurricane season, so you should not have any significant weather problems to deal with. Enjoy your trip!

July 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm
(30) Laura says:

We are heading to Ochos Rios in late August. The flights to Kingston are $150 less each ticket x 4 = $584 savings (over MB). Family traveling with two kids. Being picked up by resort for transfers. Am I crazy to choose Kingston over Montego Bay? Has anything happened on the roads out/to the airport?

July 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm
(31) Terri says:

I am planning to go on a cruise in October. We have a 1 day stop in ocho rios for a wedding, should we be worried?

July 20, 2010 at 10:10 am
(32) gocaribbean says:

I wouldn’t be worried about security in Ocho Rios regarding the gang violence in Kingston. Just take the usual personal-security precautions that you would whenever traveling:


August 15, 2010 at 4:11 am
(33) R says:

you know, a friend i used to have that was obsessed with bob marley….I think he had jamaican blood in him, used to tell me kingston was a dangerous place and i never wanted to go there. And one time my mother said a cab driver in jamaica (ochos rios) asked her to go to kingston, at the time she didn’t know what kingston was…but luckily she didn’t go. I’m curious how often that happens in ochos rios , etc (the places that are supposedly safer). I’ve been to jamaica too, and i had fun…no problems. Just curious if anyone wants to answer that is from Jamaica…how often you have to watch out for cab drivers with bad intentions.

August 15, 2010 at 4:17 am
(34) R says:

anyway i would never step foot in kingston…no offense…not to fly and get right out of there, not for anything…i have a very scary view of it….and i don’t think any americans should consider going there…going by the water i would consider, but beware of the cab drivers…most of the people are nice though…

August 15, 2010 at 4:19 am
(35) R says:

I would never set foot in Kingston, whether it’s extra dangerous or it’s day to day reg dangerous. I would always stay near the water. And i would always take someone with me to take a cab…seriously. At least as an american, i wouldn’t go anywhere near kingston..

August 15, 2010 at 4:20 am
(36) R says:

sorry i thought my comment didn’t post

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