A beach-and-jungle paradise full of incredible natural beauty, Port Antonio sits on Jamaica’s wild northeastern coast and is considered one of the island’s best-kept secrets. From picture-perfect beaches to plunging waterfalls and turquoise-blue swimming holes, this region of Jamaica boasts a secluded locale that was favored by movie stars in the 50’s and 60s. It’s luring in travelers once more, offering you a chance to discover unspoiled natural attractions, boutique hotels and local jerk-chicken shacks famous for birthing Jamaica’s “jerk” chicken craze.
You won’t find five-star resorts or Margaritaville here, but what you will find is an authentic slice of Jamaica with seaside fish joints, a string of picture-perfect beaches and a serene atmosphere away from the tourist crowds. With this, we’ve highlighted important travel information for exploring Port Antonio, including the best things to do, where to eat and where to stay.
Things to Do in Port Antonio, Jamaica:
Visit a White-Sand Beach
Kick back on the soft sand surrounded by swaying palm trees at Long Bay Beach or don your mask and flippers and go snorkeling at San-San Beach. Head to Frenchman’s Cove to explore a tiny crescent where freshwater lagoon mixes with warm seawater or Boston Beach to try your hand at surfing some of Jamaica’s best waves, then come hungry to Winnifred Beach to discover local fishermen hauling in fresh snapper and lobster.
Swim in the Blue Lagoon
A dream destination for both nature enthusiasts and photographers alike, the Blue Lagoon is a must-see marvel near Port Antonio that was featured in the movie “The Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Sheilds. The lagoon’s bright-blue color and lush-green vegetation surrounding it will have you in awe, as its mixture of freshwater and saltwater but fed by freshwater springs. The real highlight, however, is the chance to take a boat or raft out and bask in warm Caribbean water.
Admire a Cascading Waterfall
The region has enough waterfalls to suite a variety of travelers, where you can immerse yourself in Jamaica’s most unspoiled natural landscapes. Take a dip in the cool, natural pools that surround Reach Falls or trek to MacKenzie Falls to discover a secluded area where you can often enjoy a private swim. If you’re traveling with family, head to Somerset Falls to hop on a scenic boat ride underneath a hidden waterfall.
Adventure Through a National Park
The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica and offer endless opportunities for adventure. Home to world-famous coffee beans and the towering Blue Mountain Peak, you can spend an entire day exploring coffee plantations, hiking through the lush, tropical countryside or cycling jungle trails.
Go River Rafting
For a relaxing encounter, go on an eco-tour on the Rio Grande River and float along the lush tropical forest on an authentic bamboo raft, the same rafts that hauled bananas to the harbor 100 years ago. See one of the country’s largest rivers as you take a two-hour cruise, where you’ll learn about the river and its ecosystem, spot local wildlife, go swimming and admire the great Blue Mountains in the distance.
Visit Errol Flynn Marina
Make your way to Errol Flynn Marina to see one of the most beautiful and protected harbors in the world. It’s named after one of Portland’s most famous residents, Australian-born movie star Errol Flynn, who fell in love with the parish back in the 1950’s and discovered Port Antonio while sailing his yacht. Come to marvel at the million-dollar yachts and stroll along the harbor, then dine on Caribbean cuisine at Norma’s at the Marina or pick up a sweet treat at Devon House Ice Cream.
Where to Eat in Port Antonio, Jamaica:
Dickie’s Best-Kept Secret
Dickie’s Best Kept Secret is one of Port Antonio’s most iconic eateries. This small, seaside hut offers generous portions in its five-course meals, which have been described as “Bob Marley meets Alice in Wonderland.” Reservations are essential, as Dickie himself needs enough time to purchase, catch and cook in time for dinner.
Boston Jerk Centre
Eating Jamaican “jerk” is a must on any visit to Port Antonio, and one of the best places to sample this spicy, flavorful cuisine is at Boston Jerk Center. Sitting on a stretch of coastline that’s been called the birthplace of jerk cuisine, come with an empty stomach so you can indulge. Watch as the meat is cooked on open pits with uncured pimento logs over a bed of hot coals, then place your order by the quarter, half or full pound. Last but not least, don’t forget to add jerk sauce!
If you’re looking for the perfect spot to celebrate with the one you love, Mille Fleurs fits the bill. Sit on the verandah to soak up the stunning views the Blue Mountains and Caribbean Sea and indulge in the restaurant’s array of culinary delights by candlelight. The restaurant is known for its authentic Jamaican food with a daily menu using high-quality, seasonal produce.
Woody’s Low Bridge Place
Serving generous portions of smoked meats, Woody’s Low Bridge Place is a small snack shop beloved for its easy-going vibes. Dig into one of their juicy burgers made with a Jamaican twist with plantains and spicy sauce. Wash your meal down with one of their fruity cocktails or a classic Red Stripe beer.
Where to Stay:
Frenchman’s Cove Resort
Frenchman’s Cove Resort boasts luxury villas just steps from the Caribbean Sea and a famous white-sand beach, offering the ideal atmosphere for a romantic getaway. The hotel’s beach is nestled between two verdant-green headlands, making its calm waters ideal for swimming.
A blend of luxury amenities and serene natural surroundings, Geejam Hotel is home to private villas, cabins and suites with undulating ocean views, spacious private terraces, steam rooms, Jacuzzi’s and hammocks. There’s also a state-of-the-art recording studio, healing spa, swimming pool, gym and on-site restaurant with forest-to-ocean views.
Great Huts Resort
Great Huts Resort is a beachfront, treehouse resort set in the jungle overlooking the Eastern Caribbean. Don’t miss the open-air dining experience at Safari Deck Restaurant, where you’ll find Afro-themed decor and live entertainment.
Trident Hotel has 13 oceanfront villas that blend modernist design with a residential feel, offering hand-selected furnishings, original artwork, plunge pools and private terraces. Unwind with a pampering body treatment at The Trident Spa, which uses holistic techniques from around the globe for its deep-cleanse facials, coffee scrubs and coconut cream body wraps.
How to Get to Port Antonio, Jamaica
Port Antonio sits northeast of Kingston and east of Ocho Rios. You can fly into Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport from cities across the globe, with connections to London, Toronto, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale. From Kingston, make the two-hour journey to Port Antonio by hotel shuttle. Upon arrival, get around by foot, bicycle or local taxis.