So many people venture to Ocho Rios and Negril in Jamaica, both beautiful and well worth it, but after hunting on Google I came to find that the majority of my intriguing attractions were pulling me to the East Coast of Jamaica and no better place to stay then the humble and easily accessible town of Port Antonio. Most hotels in the area are just outside the town in the hills over looking the sea, including where I stayed at Hotel Mockingbird Hill and I’m so glad I did, since my number one attraction came with free guest pass access as a courtesy from the hotel. So what was it you ask?
1. Frenchman’s Cove
A beautiful turquoise lagoon that meets with the sea, creating a cold to warm swim ming experience with swings in the water, coves in the sea, friendly people to meet and as an added bonus, free wifi! I met such an amazing local who’s kids inticed me to jump from trees into the lagoon and gave me pointers on all the best things to do in the area and also HOW to do them. I also met other tourists who were coming back for the third time, so it’s number one for a reason! Easy to find, HARD to leave!
2. Rio Grande
There’s no way you can go to Port Antonio without rafting down the Rio! Bamboo rafting that is! A calm and peaceful ride down the river, stopping for coconuts and hearing the local rafters tales, for example, he put on a huge rafting party down the Rio Grande for Johnny Depp and sang with his band for him, he also told me about Nanny – Queen of the Maroons, the woman on the $500 note and explained some Jamaican history to me. he also entrusted me with having a go with steering the raft, as you can see from this pic, I was smugly heading for some bushes!
3. Reach Falls
This beauty is such a must-do and for sure I would recommend doing it with locals! My hotel (Hotel Mockingbird Hill) organized it for me with a local tour guide who instead of taking you to the falls and that’s about it, instead takes you to the bottom of the River and you do a river walk/climb/swim all the way up to the top of Reach Falls. For sure it’s worth it, these were some of the pics I got from having such a different experience and still got to have a glimpse of Reach Falls as well as enjoying it the local way! It’s about an hour drive from Port Antonio but you definitely stop through some nice places along the way and the drive itself is beautiful along the coastal route.
4. Winnifred Beach
If you want a beach where you can relax, eat great Jerk Chicken and also shop for your souvenirs and trinkets for family members back home, then this is the beach for you! It’s a bit of a hike down the stairs but makes up for a secluded beach area when you get there.
5. Boston Bay Beach
Boston Beach has a few more water sports activities to do, rope swings, locals offering to teach you how to surf and more actual surf to do so, more than Winnifred Beach. There’s a great restaurant and a lot of parking, easily accessible and beautiful rocks and cliffs on either sides secluding the beach for you. It definitely seems a lot more action-packed as far as beaches go on the East Coast and one to check out, if for nothing more than to swing over the beaches of Jamaica!
6. Blue Lagoon
Just incase you didn’t get enough of insanely blue waters, this lagoon is named sooooo well as I’ve never quite seen water SO blue and Fun Fact: this IS in fact where Blue Lagoon the movie was shot, of course! The water alone was incredible to see, even more incredible to jump in! The top of the water is warm from the sun and underneath feels like spring water, virtually your shoulders are warm and your tummy and down are refreshingly cold! It’s such a weird but incredible feeling! Again, I jumped from a tree into the water – Jamaican locals can be very convincing when it comes to tree jumping.
7. The Village Port Antonio
Talk about spoiled for choice! You can find everything and more for your loved ones back home with a trip to these souvenir and craft stores lined up one right after the other. I would recommend doing a lap of everything first and then going back for the things you want, also, bring cash as card isn’t accepted. There’s an ATM in town about a 15 minute walk away but you’ll want to be prepared as they really do have everything you could think of. I was able to pick up a few goodies, chat with some locals and also found myself some beautiful, carved earrings! Stoked!
8. Juici Beef Patties
You can’t leave without trying an authentic Jamaican beef patty, look no further than Juici Cafe, located also inside Port Antonio Shopping Village. Cheap, delicious and worth the rave about them!
I definitely want to go back and explore the Blue Mountains which I didn’t get to see as weather didn’t permit, but I had just as much fun enjoying a tropical rainstorm from the comfort of my treetop home at Hotel MockingBird Hill – who else can say they danced in the rain on their balcony above the sea in Jamaica? What a stay and I’m so thankful for Hotel Mockingbird Hill for the tips, all the locals I met tips and advice and just the general atmosphere of the East Coast of Jamaica’s darling – Port Antonio!