Travel Tips & Features

Top 10 Attractions in Port Antonio

Written by Bill Evans

The PORT ANTONIO AREA is perhaps the most beautiful and scenic part of Jamaica. Navigatable rivers, twin harbors, waterfalls, freshwater Blue Holes and so much more. Puerto Anton was the name the Spanish gave the town in honor of the Governor’s son but they made no real effort to settle the area.

In 1723, the English laid out a rudimentary town on the peninsula between the twin harbors and named it Titchfield after an estate owned by the then governor. The swampy coastlands and the marauding Maroons kept all but a few settlers from calling this beautiful area home. In 1739, peace was established with the Maroons and the population slowly started to grow.

In 1871, the banana industry began to flourish and later Port Antonio became the “Banana Capital” of the world and a mainstay of the economy until 1946 and the arrival of Errol Flynn, when his yacht Zacca washed ashore in bad weather. Flynn and his Hollywood entourage began to call Port Antonio their vacation playground and another boom had begun. Times have been slow since the Hollywood elite stopped visiting and the area has been in a sort of limbo just sleeping and waiting for the next boom.

Here are my "10 Favorite Destinations" around the PORT ANTONIO AREA. I will divide them into two categories (five in each). You will see some overlapping each other but I assure you, each is somehow significantly different in experience. Remember, things can change quite frequently in Jamaica. Places change names and owners and sometimes go out of business entirely so it is best to check out the current situation first.

TOURIST FAVORITES:

BONNIE VIEW PLANTATION HOTEL—Perched on a ridge some 600 feet above Port Antonio, this moderately priced hotel offers the most spectacular view of the entire area. A must for the photographers among us!

RAFTING THE RIO GRANDE—Supposedly started by Errol Flynn to entertain his guests, this 3-hour, 6-mile journey through rural Jamaica on bamboo rafts is now a top attraction. Be sure to give your lover a kiss when passing through Lover’s Lane! This is a personal favorite too!

BOSTON’S BEACH—Also known as the Center of Jerk in Jamaica, is more than just a great place to eat. You can rent a surfboard and enjoy the high surf when it rolls into the beautiful beach area. Watch out! You could drive right by without even noticing!

REACH FALLS—Sometimes spelled “Reich”, is a highly photographed waterfall that has only recently become popular with tourists and locals alike. If you time it right and there is no crowd, it will be a highlight of your trip!

BLUE LAGOON—Around 200 feet deep, the variations of Emerald and Jade colors will amaze you. Although the lagoon is open to the sea, the water springs from about 150 feet below the surface of the lagoon. Warm and cold water exist side by side so you can find your perfect temperature. The water is extremely buoyant from the upwelling and said to be an aphrodisiac!

PERSONAL FAVORITES:

BATH FOUNTAIN HOTEL—A little bit out of the way but worth it. Bath Fountain is a therapeutic mineral spa owned by the government of Jamaica. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy the ceramic-tiled pool or a massage. I personally like to spend a night here whenever in the area.

SCATTER FALLS & FOX CAVES—You begin your journey by crossing the Rio Grande on a bamboo raft at Berridale and finish with a short hike to the Falls. The Thaxters, owners, have developed the area with restrooms and a bar. A short but steep hike from there you will find Fox Caves. Get Rufus Thaxter to guide you if you can. This is a real gem in the rough!

ATHENRY GARDENS & NONSUCH CAVES—A lush botanical gardens with many native species provides a gateway to the 14 separate chambers of Nonsuch Caves. A bit of a drive over some rough roads but worth the effort!

SOMERSET FALLS—A deep gorge on the Daniels River just east of Hope Bay provides the beautiful setting on the former indigo and spice plantation. Lush vegetation and colorful flowers highlight the experience. Dive into Hidden Falls from the rocky ledge! Nice!

MOORETOWN & BUMP GRAVE—Mooretown is a Maroon Village founded in 1739 after the signing of the Peace Treaty with the English. The Wildcane River flows through the village eventually to become part of the Rio Grande. A beautiful setting. Bump Grave is the final resting place of “Nanny of the Maroons” a Jamaican National Hero and Chieftainess of the Winward Maroons. For the history buffs among us!

The PORT ANTONIO AREA of Jamaica has something for everyone. I hope this list will help you decide to make this area your next travel destination!

Bill Evans

Need help in planning your adventure travel while in Jamaica. Feel free to email me at the following addresses : accompong9[email protected]

About the author

Bill Evans