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The Beautiful Haven of Port Antonio - A True Jamaican Getaway

Jamaica Attractions; Towns of Jamaica; Jamaican People; Jamaican History; Jamaican Heritage; Jamaican Culture

Introduction

Jamaica’s resort town of Port Antonio is described as a panorama of nature’s finest work. It is regarded as the cradle of the tourism industry, having been the first town in Jamaica to accommodate tourist visits because of the emergence of the Banana Industry. It was Hollywood superstar Errol Flynn’s great love, where he established a home and entertained friends. On any visit, travelers can explore the majestic Blue Mountains, swim in the Blue Lagoon, raft the Rio Grande, relax at Somerset Falls or discover Nonsuch Caves. A visit to Port Antonio would be incomplete without a sampling of its world-famous jerk chicken or pork in its original home.
The Picturesque Town of Port Antonio, Jamaica

Port Antonio is the capital of the parish of Portland. The town has the distinction of having two harbors and an island - Navy Island, situated on its western harbor. Port Antonio in recent years has been assuming increasing importance as an economic and cultural center. It is also the hideaway for some of Jamaica’s most exclusive tourist accommodations. The town's seclusion has attracted many movie stars, great musicians, well-known politicians, and other celebrities.

Geography

Portland is located on Jamaica’s northeast coast. It is situated to the north of St Thomas and the east of St. Mary. The parish is known for its natural beauty, stunning beaches, lush vegetation, many caves, and rivers as well as the peak of the Blue Mountain range. It lies in the direct path of the prevailing northeast trade winds ensuring almost daily rainfall.
Map of Jamaica showing the town of Port Antonio

Must Visit Places, Attractions & Tours in Port Antonio

Reach Falls. Reach Falls is an outdoor recreation facility with a tropical rainforest, hanging vines and bamboo canes. Reach Falls has been featured in Hollywood films including Tom Cruise's 'Cocktails,' and the remake of 'Lord of the Flies.’

Rio Grande Rafting: A world-renowned attraction. Peaceful, tranquil, and romantic. Originally used as a means of transporting banana crops from the local plantations to the bustling harbor; the rafting tours are now a popular leisure activity once championed by the likes of Hollywood idol Errol Flynn. Legend has it that Flynn enjoyed gathering his well-heeled guests for midnight rafting excursions under a canopy of stars.

The Blue Lagoon: A world-famous attraction. A popular travel destination for families and honeymooners. With glistening, turquoise blue waters surrounded by lush greenery, Blue Lagoon is a vision of beauty.

Somerset Falls: Located within a lush botanical garden, it is known as one of the most revered waterfalls and pools located within a rain forest paradise. Somerset Falls is a world class setting for guests to chill out, take a swim and refresh. Spanish settlers, who occupied the island over 400 years ago, built aqueducts and dams that are still visible today. The breathtaking waterfall is hidden in the rainforest, where the Daniels River cascades down a narrow gorge of lush ferns

Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour: A remarkable way to see the island that very few even knew existed. This riding tour takes sightseers down the mountainside and along rolling hills. Ideal for experiencing and photographing the world-famous Jamaican Blue Mountains with its lush, tropical countryside.
• Other notable attractions in the Port Antonio Area are: Navy Island, Errol Flynn Marina, and the Anglican Church.
Rafting on the Rio Grande, Port Antonio, Jamaica

Notable Landmarks in Port Antonio

Blue Lagoon (see previous section)

Folly Great House: A crumbling, old and unusual, Roman/Greek style structure, on a private peninsula at the mouth of the harbor of Port Antonio. Once the most opulent house in Jamaica, the decaying shell has attracted its share of legends. From wealthy American explorers to dancehall artists, the history of Folly Mansion is a Jamaican legend.

Fort George: A British fort built in 1729 to protect Jamaica from invasion of the Spanish. The fort is now situated in the grounds of the Titchfield High School, on the Titchfield Peninsula in the town of Port Antonio.

Titchfield Picturesque Neighborhood: Known for its Victorian gingerbread-style houses.

The Titchfield High school is also there. The Titchfield Peninsula, together with Navy Island, separates the East and West Harbors in the parish of Portland. Its colorful history dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, telling tales of forts, celebrities, grand hotels, and sweet bananas.
Folly Great House, Port Antonio, Jamaica

Best Restaurants & Eateries in Port Antonio

The Bush Bar (@ GeeJam Hotel, San San, 876-993-7000) A Top restaurant in Port Antonio! Romantic Caribbean Cuisine. Relatively pricey, but great food and great atmosphere. 993-7000

Woody Low Bridge Place (876-993-7888) Good Jamaican food, budget-friendly, & friendly too!

Restaurant Mille Fleurs (@Hotel Mockingbird, 876-993-4260) A Foodie’s delight Try the cheesecake!

Wi Yard Anna Banana (Folly Road, 876-883-7491) Great atmosphere!

Chill Out (Long Bay, 876-895-1609) Enjoy a game of dominoes or backgammon with Red Stripe! Truly Chill Out.

Dickie's Best Kept Secret (on Main Road, 876-809-6276) ‘The hut/shack over the cliff’ – Get the lobster! Good Atmosphere.

The Italian Job (Harbour Street, 876-573-8603) Refreshingly different. Good reviews.

Melinda’s (@ Rio Grande) Wood fire prepared. Try the spicy crayfish!

Dickie's Best Kept Secret Restaurant in Port Antonio

Best Beaches in Port Antonio

Frenchman’s Cove: Postcard beach, clean and well-kept too. You've always wanted to enjoy elaborate, fruit-flavored cocktails on a beautiful tropical beach, so here's your chance; this beach offers spectacular sand, surf, and service.
Boston Bay Beach: Off the beaten track and Jamaica’s premiere surfing beach! I had a memorable time there. Yes, world-famous Jamaican Boston Jerk is right there too!

Winnifred Beach (Fairy Hill): Nice and popular local beach. Good, refreshing place to mingle with locals.

Long Bay Beach: About 11 km from Port Antonio, this beautiful stretch of beach is natural, and unspoiled. Stop for a picnic, a dip, or at one of the charming seaside restaurants for a fresh fish lunch or soup
San San Beach: Beautiful beach with calm waters protected by a coral reef, perfect for swimming and scuba diving.

Quiet Nightlife

By its very nature, nightlife in Port Antonio is relaxed. Evenings in Port Antonio have an essence of tranquility where locals and visitors can connect and chat over a rum punch. Nightly entertainment involves sophisticated after-dinner drinks and live music at quaint local bars.

Where to Stay

Port Antonio thrives on its seclusion, intimacy, and luxury, offering visitors an array of inns, beachfront cottages, and villas. Here is a sample range:

· Great Huts, starting at US$89 per night including breakfast.

· Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, starting at US$236 per night including taxes.

· Goblin Hill Villas, which ranges from US$381 to $450 per night, for a 2-bedroom villa, including a housekeeper.

· Trident Hotel, which ranges from US$540 to $990 per night including breakfast, depending on the season.

· Pimento Lodge Resort, Long Bay - from US$380.

Getting There

Visitors can choose to fly into Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport. From Kingston, visitors can take a two-hour transfer to Port Antonio with an approved transportation provider such as Island Transfer & Tours ( (for 10% off private transportation - use coupon code: bustour10off when booking) or Jamaica Co-operative Automobile Limousine Tours (JACAL).

References

https://jis.gov.jm/information/parish-profiles/parish-profiles-portland/
http://www.jnht.com/site_fort_george.php
https://www.visitjamaica.com/blog/post/insiders-guide-to-port-antonio/
The Jamaica Insider Guide

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Jacqueline Cameron is an editor/writer with years of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.

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