Every Jamaican, if she/he is honest, will tell you that Portland is the most beautiful parish in Jamaica. Its appeal lies in the breathtaking coastal and mountainous landscape, lush vegetation, unique culinary offerings and a laid-back culture found in most sea-side towns.
Watch the Sunrise over Longbay Beach:
You have no idea what you are missing, until you make the effort and get up at 5:30 in the morning to watch the sun rise. It truly is a miraculous experience. Photos don't adequately depict the beauty.
Visit Boston Beach
There is so much to do, see and enjoy in this little community. Boston is about 12 miles east of Port Antonio and is home of the world famous Boston jerk fare. You can go to the beach to swim, surf or even for horse-back riding.
A 20-mile drive from Port Antonio will bring you to the Village of Nonsuch, where a legendary Arawak civilization remains a part of the community. This is where you will find Athenry Gardens, a three-acre park of fertile vegetation and tropical surroundings. Below, you can explore stalagmites and stalactites in caves made for discovery. Small walkways, stairs and adequate lighting help you through this underworld that is believed to be 1.5 million years old; 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.
Farther from the beaten trail is Somerset Falls, which lies deep in the gorge of the Daniels River above Hope Bay, 10 mi/16 km west of Port Antonio. You have to take a short boat ride to the hidden series of gentle falls and caves, which are surrounded by dense tropical rain forest. You can climb a slippery concrete staircase to the top of the 400-ft/120-m falls.
Just a mile on from the closed beach where Tom Cruise once juggled his bottles in Cocktail, Winnifred Beach is one of the most appealing beaches in all of Jamaica. Located in the Fairy Hill community, Winnifred Beach is home to a delightful reef just offshore that’s not only perfect for snorkelling, but for its clear, calm, bright-blue water justly popular with locals.
Stop Description: Alfred Mitchell, an American millionaire, visited Port Antonio and fell under the town’s spell. In 1901, he bought a 90-acre estate and began constructing a grand two-storey mansion with 60 rooms, Doric columns, inner-courtyards and impressive stairways. Mitchell reportedly built the mansion as a home for his family. Some years after its construction, the mansion began to crumble and many fantastic stories now surround the house. Some Jamaicans will tell you that Mitchell’s wife, for whom he built the house, broke his heart and so the symbol of their love – the mansion –fell to pieces. Others may say that in his haste to build the house, Mitchell allowed saltwater (or sea-sand) to be used in the cement mixture, which compromised its strength. The most logical theory is, however, that the use of an ill-proportioned mixture of marl and cement, as well as the position of the house, facing the full brunt of the ocean breeze, caused it to fall into ruin. Today, what remains of the Folly Mansion offers a great tale of wealth, love and loss. Directions: Beside the mansion stands the Folly Point Lighthouse. To get to the lighthouse, retrace your steps along the dirt road. At the fork, continue north to the point or you may cut across the fields to the northwest of the mansion.
Folly Point Lighthouse
Stop Description: This Port Antonio landmark has lit the shoreline of the East Harbour since 1885. About 40 feet high, the red and white striped lighthouse stands proudly atop honeycombed limestone, overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Sea. Coconut trees, their bases uniformly painted white, adorn the immaculately manicured grounds, surrounding the lighthouse. Check in with the lighthouse keeper, and spend sometime exploring the limestone rocks and lawn around the tower. From these vantage points, you’ll see picturesque views of Port Antonio, Navy Island and Folly Mansion
Carriacou Gallery at Hotel Mocking Bird
Should your experiences and impressions animate your creative vein, you will find inspiration at the hotel’s own Gallery Carriacou where works of local artists are displayed. The gallery plays host to all forms of art and craft. Exhibition openings are complemented with musical, dance or literary performances. Children in rural areas often do not have the opportunity to experience and contemplate Art. They are also welcomed to the gallery where they can become more aware of their rich cultural heritage and potential. Innkeeper Barbara Walker has informal talks with the children about the work they are viewing and about their own creative aspirations. She can also help make your creative dream a reality through art classes she offers in her studio.
Restaurants in Port Antonio
San San Tropez
Located just opposite Frenchman's cove Beach in San San, Port Antonio. San San Tropez offers fine dining in a tropical setting, serving local ingredients cooked with Italian and other international recipes. All menu items are made in house, such as pastas, pizzas, and ice-cream
Restaurant Mille Fleurs at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill offers culinary delights in a romantic setting. Acclaimed by Gourmet magazine, the restaurant offers terrace dining with spectacular views overlooking the harbour of Port Antonio and the sweep of tropically forested hills with the Caribbean Sea in the background. Sample some of the best food in Jamaica after taking in the spectacular sunsets.
Norma's at the Marina
Port Antonio Port Antonio (876) 993 0510