Port Antonio, Jamaica – Lush greenery and amazing beaches
Port Antonio, Jamaica – Lush greenery and amazing beaches
Heading to Port Antonio
From Ochi we moved on to Port Antonio with the Knutsford. It’s about an 2,5 hour drive and costs 35USD for 2 persons. During the ride they played a Jurassic Parc movie with the sound sky limit high, like everyone in the bus was deaf or something. Who does care about the movie anyway.. for us Jurassic Parc was outside, just right there.
We were dropped off the bus and already the expensive charter taxi’s were waiting. We say ‘no thanks’ and take the cheaper route taxi. The driver brings us to the bus station and we get in an overcrowded minibus. These public buses depart when it’s full loaded. Let’s say; the number of seats does not say anything. In a normal situation a bus has place for let’s say 8 people, in Jamaica they think 12 people is possible, no problem of course.
After about 20 minutes the bus drives towards our destination. We are sitting in the back with our backpacks somewhere behind and the driver doesn’t know yet where he must stop for us, but there is only one direction it appears. We chit-chat with some locals and a young guy tells us about his job. He explains us he is a wood carver and he makes furniture. In Jamaica you will see artists on the street making and selling wood carvings.
Portland; lots of green
During our ride we notice we are in the countryside. Lots of green and more mountainous than the northwest coast. Port Antonio is so different than Negril and Montego Bay. Just a few tourists, small accommodations ant the nature is more untouched. We already know we will like it here.
After a 10-minute ride we ask the driver if he knows Polish Princess Guesthouse, the place we will sleep for three nights. It turns out he already had driven too far. We step out, we walk back and search for our guesthouse. We hardly see any people on the street, but luckily it was easy to find. Barbara, the owner is a Polish woman who once fell in love with a Jamaican guy and build up this beautiful place. She welcomes us very friendly and shows us our room where we will sleep. It’s all very clean and the guesthouse has a great patio with view on the green lush green hills. We will enjoy our breakfasts here for sure!
It’s already late in the afternoon when we arrive, but we are heading to explore the area. After 30 minutes walking in the beautiful jungle surroundings we feel like we are alone on this planet. That’s a wonderful feeling, like nobody has been there and we are the first explorers. We find a steep path that leads us to Winnifred Beach. It’s a small public beach with a few bars and food stands. Popular by locals, not crowded and the atmosphere is easy going. We buy two Red Stripes which costs us together 600JMD.
Polish Princess Guesthouse
Our first morning we start our day with a delicious breakfast on the patio. Every day they serve a different breakfast, it’s like a surprise and we really like that! Today they serve pancakes with fruit, very delicious! This was the first time our stay includes breakfast and we were very happy not to worry about finding good food. You probably think; don’t be so ridiculous, but yeah, sometimes it was difficult to find good (healthy) food especially in the country side. You need to go to the city and you don’t always feel like traveling. Besides the pancakes we tried for the first time the famous Blue Mountain coffee. You MUST taste this coffee if you are in Jamaica for sure. It has a very soft taste, very delicious!
Blue Lagoon, Port Antonio
After breakfast we are heading to the famous Blue Lagoon. We can easily walk from here, about 20 minutes. It’s a breathtaking place and you MUST explore this area. We were the only ones there and saw literally no tourists. We were finding out where to go and how to walk. But immediately some Jamaicans offered us a boat ride to Monkey Island. For USD20 per person he will bring us to the island and pick us up when we want him to do that. Monkey Island is a beautiful place and we enjoyed it, but we do not strongly recommend it actually.
After he picked us up from Monkey Island and dropped us of again at the mainland we want to take a jump in the lagoon. But you have to know the way. First, we could not find a place to lay down there and we didn’t saw a path to walk around the lagoon. But a Jamaican showed us the way. You have to go through the water (till knee high), then climb on a plateau and from there you can walk further around the lagoon. Jump in the lagoon and relax in the mineral spring waters. It’s such an awesome place and so incredible photogenic. Glistening, turquoise blue waters surrounded by lush greenery.
Locals believe the lagoon was bottomless, but it has since been discovered that the depth is somewhere around 180 feet. The water is a mix of fresh and salt water, as the lagoon is open to the sea and meets freshwater springs. Warm water meets cold water and that’s what you feel when you swim here. The lagoon was also the filmset for the film Cocktail starring Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise and the place was very popular by celebrities in the 1960’s.
Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio
In the afternoon we are walking towards Frenchman’s Cove, but we realize it is too far to walk from the Blue Lagoon and take the route taxi (about a 10-minute drive). The entrance fee is USD20 for the two of us. Frenchman’s Cove is an amazing place and feels like paradise! White sand and turquoise waters, the river flows right into the ocean. Perfect to spend the rest of the day here. Despite the fact this is a stunning place, we liked the atmosphere on Winnifred Beach much more. Frenchman’s Cove attracts more jetset people and Winnifred is more for the local people who just want to relax with a cold Red Stripe.
Spend a day at Winnifred Beach
After another delicious breakfast with toast and scrambled eggs with fresh fruit we decide to spend our second day at Winnifred Beach because it’s the perfect place to stay a whole day at! You can go snorkeling, hiking around the beach, drink some rum and try some local food. There are a few food stands and you really have to try some fresh fish.
At the end of the day we pick a stand and a friendly Jamaican shows us two fishes and askes if he should prepare these for us. He points out they catched the fish today. We looked at each other and while we were smiling, we say to him we definitely want to try it! He steamed the fish and used lots of herbs and the fish was very juicy. He served the fish with plantain and veggies. So tasty and well prepared! We paid for 2 Red Stripes, 2 Rum cokes and two meals 1800JMD, quite cheap.
Go to Port Antonio!
We find Portland the most beautiful area of Jamaica. The nature is amazing, not touristy and nice vibes. The area feels more laid back and welcoming than the rest of the island. The Jamaican people are friendlier than in Negril and less aggressive when selling stuff. Off course there are tourists in Portland, but you don’t see them.
- Blue Lagoon. When you arrive at the Lagoon, step right and walk through the water. There you can lay down
- Winnifred beach. No entrance fee and good food
- Frenchman’s Cove Beach. Entrance fee USD10 per person
- Rafting the Rio Grande
- Go see the Reach falls. We would recommend doing it with locals. About one-hour drive from Port Antonio
- Polish Princess Guesthouse. Clean rooms, beautiful surroundings, delicious breakfasts and Barbara is a great host!
- Enjoy local food on Winnifred beach
- Woody’s Low Bridge Place
- Eat a Pattie in the city of Port Antonio