With the Caribbean Sea at its front porch, and the Blue Mountains as its backdrop, Port Antonio enjoys a mix of mountains, lush
flora, water falls , white sandy beaches, and spectacular cliffs, that drop
into an azure ocean. It is truly one of the most beautiful areas in Jamaica
where one can enjoy the pleasures of the mountains and the sea in close proximity.
Several waterfalls, including Reach Falls, Somerset Falls and Nanny Falls will simply
takes breath away with their awe-inspiring beauty.
1. Nonsuch Caves and Atenry Gardens
Believed to be 1.5 million years old, older than the island itself, Nonsuch
caves is located in the Village of Nonsuch, where the original Arawak civilization
still remains a part of the community. Athenry Gardens, home of the caves
is a three-acre park of fertile vegetation and tropical surroundings. Small
walkways, stairs and adequate lighting help you through this underworld of
stalagmites and stalactites. Knowledgeable guides are available. On the surface,
you can roam through gardens filled with coconut trees and exotic flowers,
and stop for some breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.
2. Reach Falls
Secluded and undeveloped, Reach Falls for years was unofficially managed by Frank Clarke who farms the land beside the
river. He built the steps that lead down to the river, and employed local boys
as guides and lifeguards. Now it is managed by the Jamica Urban Development corporation. The main falls cascade into a pool
deep enough for diving, there are "pools upon pools" for half a mile above
them and the "Mandingo Cave" which is reported to be a quarter of a mile
long with a whirlpool in the middle. The river can be followed down to the sea, though that may no longer be an option now that it is managed by the UDC. More details on Reachfalls and Contact information
3. Blue Mountain Bike Tours
An exhilarating all-inclusive, all-day adventure. Experience breathtaking
vistas in the misty Jamaican Blue Mountains, the Caribbean's highest mountain
range. The scenic descent takes you through lush mountain flora, over bridges
and vestal waterfalls, through the region which is home to the renowned
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
Shop 15, Santa Maria Plaza,
121 Main St.
Ocho Rios, St. Ann. Jamaica
876-974-7075 / 7492 / 7493 (local)
4. San San
The San San Area was the playground of the very
rich and famous in the 60's and 70's and several movie were filmed there
including Cocktails with Tom Cruise, Club Paradise, with Robin Williams,
The Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington, just to name a few.
San San Beach is a private beach near Frenchman's Cove and Blue Hole. It has a narrow
but lengthy white sandy beach.
A variety of small reefs are just off shore for
good snorkeling. Its easy to book a fishing, scuba diving, or windsurfing
adventure with the people who work there. If privacy and spending a relaxing
day in the sun are extremely important San San Beach may be right on target
for you. Monkey Island, pictured right, is within swimming distance.
5. Frenchman's Cove
Frenchman's Cove is considered by many to be the prettiest beach on the
island. A gentle curve of sand edged by steep jungle-covered hills, with
its own sparkling freshwater river running along one side into the sea.
Situated on the site of the Frenchman's Cove Hotel, built
in the 1960's by Billionaire Garfield Weston (whose empire included Fortnum
and Mason in London) where royalty and Hollywood stars rubbed elbows and
once reputed to be the most expensive hotel in the world. The hotel comprised
a number of luxurious houses shrouded by discreet shrubbery and scattered
over the headlands on both sides of the river, beach, and bay. Prince Philip,
the Duke of Edinburgh and rince Sadruddin Khan headed the celebrity clientele.
6. The Blue Lagoon (aka Blue Hole)
Surrounded by steep hillsides and dense green vegetation, the Blue Lagoon
or Blue Hole as its known locally is claimed to be "bottomless". Experts
however, proclaim it to be about 200feet at its deepest point and is a
popular haunt for divers and skiers.
The crater of an extinct volcano, it periodically bubbles gently with
an accompanying temperature rise. In 1951 Blue Hole ( the local name) and
the surrounding lands were put under the Jamaica National Trust Law.
7. Boston (home of the Jerk Pork)
Jerk pork is a famous authentic Maroon cuisine native to Port Antonio.
The Maroons were runaway slaves who baffled the English for centuries.
The Jerk center is the place to sample spicy jerk pork, chicken
or lobster with "festival" (a fried cornmeal bread).
8. Long Bay
The aptly named bay is a 1-mile-wide crescent with rose-colored sand, deep
turquoise waters, and breezes pushing the waves forcefully ashore. Canoes
are drawn up on the beach with fishing nets drying beside them. You may be able to hire a fisherman to take you out. There's
a dangerous undertow. A good place to admire the views is from the headland
at the east end of the bay.
Long Bay appeals to budget travelers seeking to ease into a life of leisure
in a fishing village that's a total escape from touristy resorts. A few
surfers are also drawn, and the sunrises are spectacular. Several budget
accommodations can be found.
9. Rafting on the Rio Grande
Rafting on the Rio Grande dates as far back as
1911, when banana farmers in the Rio Grande Valley developed the practise
as a means of transporting their bananas to the town of St. Margaret's
Bay where the river ends, and from there it could be easily taken to the
Boundbrook Wharf in Port Antonio for export.
The success of Rio Grande rafting has stimulated
the creation of other river rafting attractions on the north coast as visitors'
demand for the product pushed the need for alternative locations to satisfy
guests in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, who were unable to travel the distance
The raft ride is approximately 7 miles downstream to Rafter's
Rest in St. Margaret's Bay at the mouth of the Rio Grande River. For patrons
with motor vehicles, drivers are provided to return the vehicles to Rafters
Rest. A total of 120 raftsmen are contracted to operate the rafts.
10. Winnifred Beach
Winnifred beach is a secluded golden-sand crescent catering mostly to
Jamaicans who flock here on weekends. A coral reef offshore provides for
good snorkelling. Parties are held here on some weekends. Winnifred Beach
is one of Jamaica's last remaining, authentic public beaches loved by both
Jamaicans and visitors. Help preserve this beach by joining the Winnifred
Beach Petition at the following link:
11. Navy Island and Errol Flynn Marina
The Marina, recently renamed in honor Errol Flynn, was built in 2002.
It 32 fixed dockage berths (European) and in excellent facilities in one
of the world's most beautiful and protected harbours.
Navy Island, once owned by Errol Flynn (who won it gambling), is located
across the inlet from the Marina (left of photo). Named for its long-ago
use by the British Navy, the island welcomes day and overnight guests arriving
12. Somerset Falls
Nine miles to the west of Port Antonio, these falls are easily
on the main coastal road. They are on a former indigo and spice plantation
and the Daniel's River cascades through a lush tropical garden. A short
boat ride leads to a hidden waterfall that plunges 33 feet into a small
gorge which forms a pool where one can swim in the cool water.