Banks -- The best and most convenient bank is Scotiabank, at Duke and Royal streets (tel. 876/922-1000), open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm. Another convenient choice is Citibank, 63-67 Knutsford Blvd. (tel. 876/926-3270), open Monday to Thursday 9am to 2pm and Friday 9am to 3pm.

Internet Access -- In Kingston you can generally use your hotel phone line to get online with a laptop. Otherwise, you can go to Hilton Kingston Jamaica Cyber, 77 Knutsford Blvd. (tel. 876/926-5430), open daily 7am to 10pm, charging US$13 per hour. Six computers are available.

Mail -- The main Kingston Post Office is at South Camp Road (tel. 876/922-9431), open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm. Keeping the same hours is another branch at 115 Hope Rd. (tel. 876/927-7258). Many savvy visitors skip the inefficient postal systems in Jamaica and deal directly with FedEx at 40 Half Way Tree Rd. (tel. 876/952-0411), open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to noon. Another option for fast service is DHL, 60 Knutsford Blvd. (tel. 888/CALL-DHL), open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. Include "Jamaica, W.I." in all island addresses. The island has no zip codes.

Medical Services -- Most of the medical facilities of Jamaica are found in Kingston. A private facility that's best for visitors is Medical Associates Hospital, 18 Tangerine Place (tel. 876/926-1400), with an emergency ambulance service as well. Another well-regarded medical facility in Kingston is Saint Joseph's Hospital, 22 Deanery Rd. (tel. 876/928-4955). St. John's Ambulance, 2E Camp Rd. (tel. 876/926-7656), offers ambulance service in Kingston. The Deluxe Ambulance Service, 54 Molynes Rd. (tel. 876/923-7415), is on 24-hour call.

Pharmacies -- The most convenient in New Kingston (where virtually everybody stays) is Moodies Pharmacy in the New Kingston Shopping Centre at 30 Dominica Dr. (tel. 876/926-4174), open Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 7pm.

Safety -- Kingston is the most dangerous city in the Caribbean. Take more precautions here than you would elsewhere. The major problem facing most foreigners is mugging: Robbery is commonplace.

New Kingston is the safest place to be. The downtown area is far more dangerous -- in fact, some Jamaican taxi drivers have refused to take us there on business. Two readers from Kansas City wrote that their car broke down in downtown Kingston. They locked it and went to get help -- and by the time they returned, their luggage and all their possessions had been stolen. The car was also completely stripped, from the radio down to the tires.

The downtown is not without its attractions, but should be visited carefully, and almost never at night. Some of the most dangerous districts, Six Miles and Riverton City, should be avoided at all times. Finally, if you hear Kingstonians talking about what parts of their city they won't go to, take heed.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.