Five Reasons to Go to Port Antonio, Jamaica

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I just announced the third dinner in Port Antonio, Jamaica. With each trip, I get so excited to show off this part of the island to new people. It really is one of the greatest places on Earth and yet most people that go to Jamaica never see it (I don't really mind this, because I think it would become ruined).

Port Antonio captured me the first time I went. I was in Jamaica for my grandmother's funeral and I had a week before a friend's wedding (sounds like a movie). I trekked to this side of the island that I'd only seen in pictures and that most of my Jamaican family had never ventured to. As soon as we drove through the parish, I was in awe of the lush green trees and the beautiful blue water. I've been back seven times now and each time I discover something new.

Here are five reasons to go:

  1. Beaches - This is what most people think of when they think of Jamaica. Seven Mile Beach in Negril is definitely worth seeing, but the beaches in Port Antonio are next level. They’re all stunning, unique and not full of tourists. My favorites are Frenchman’s Cove, Boston Bay and Winnifred.

  2. Sights - We took a boat to Monkey Island and as we pulled around the bend to head to the Blue Lagoon, one of the girls on the trip started crying. I felt her. It was that remarkable. It’s the bluest water you can ever imagine. No trip to Portland would be complete without going to Reach Falls. And I haven’t been rafting on the Rio Grande yet, but I’ve heard it’s remarkable and I believe it.

  3. Food - While there aren’t many restaurants here, it’s still a great place to get authentic Jamaican food. I think the best way to experience this is by staying in one of the villas. And while it’s definitely a tourist trap, the Boston Bay jerk center is worth a quick visit. I prefer the little restaurant on the beach for a good meal. For the best jerk in Portland, head into Port Antonio for Miss Piggy’s. Some of the best ice cream int he world can be found at Devon House I-Scream by the Harbor. Again, I’d never say that this area is a culinary capital, however when I’m looking for cheap, authentic and great Jamaican food, it hits all the marks.

  4. Relaxation - If you’re looking for nonstop partying, Negril, Kingston or Montego Bay will be more your speed. But if you want a place to relax, take in amazing views and eat well, then this is your place. There is the occasional late night lime and it’s very local and authentic (the biggest party is Road Block on Thursdays), but for the most part, Port Antonio is super chill. That’s just the way I like it.

  5. People - Every year I go back, I get excited to see the friends that we’ve made the year before. One of the biggest complains that a lot of people have when visiting other parts of Jamaica is the constant harassment that can come from people trying to get you to buy something. While that can still occasionally happen in Port Antonio, it’s nowhere near as frequent. Everything on this side of the island is much more laid back and captures the true spirit of Jamaica.

Whether you go to Jamaica for our dinner party or you venture out there on your own, I believe that you’ll love it the same way that we all do.