Port Antonio: The Other Jamaica

Earlier this year my sister, a dancehall DJ, was able to negotiate three weeks of consecutive paid time off to visit the homeland of her favorite music.

After multiple late night parties, endless ackee and saltfish dishes, and a few days living in a treehouse deep in the luscious Blue Mountains, she lamented over the one area she wished she had been able to visit—Port Antonio.

For those of you unfamiliar with Jamaica's geography, Port Antonio is located in Portland Parish on the Northeastern coast of the island. Less developed and commercial than the all-inclusive and cruise ship tourist infested Montego Bay and Negril, Port Antonio has been described by many as “the other Jamaica.”

When my Ian Fleming obsessed boyfriend convinced me to squeeze in one last trip before losing my Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, I was intrigued by the allure of Port Antonio's seemingly untouched jungle wrapped beaches.

Knowing that I could snag two flights (Nashville > Montego Bay > Boston > Nashville) for just the cost of travel taxes (approximately $100) and having accumulated nearly $500 of travel credit via a rewards credit card, I anticipated our six day vacation in Jamaica to be relatively inexpensive. Traveling the week before Christmas is a less popular time, right?

Lodging

One of the first things I noticed when I began searching for lodging was the massive disparity in options. It ranged from the high-end places like the Trident Port Antonio to Great Huts eco-friendly resort. Accommodations varied from five-star luxury to outdoor dwellings (many without hot water or reliable protection from mosquitoes).

Admittedly, we had procrastinated a bit on our search, but we struggled to find a place to stay that was affordable and wasn't littered with massive amounts of negative Trip Advisor reviews.

Eventually, we spotted an online deal for the Tropical Lagoon Resort, a hillside retreat with private access to the infamous Blue Lagoon.

Getting There

One of the reasons that Port Antonio has remained relatively untouched is the town's accessibility. Without a major airport (yet), the sleepy town is located about three hours from Montego Bay or two hours from Kingston.

Although renting a car is not advised for a variety of reasons (condition of the vehicles, unpaved and unexpected obstacles in the roads, aggressive local drivers, driving on the left side of the road, etc), hiring a driver is expensive and limits the freedom to explore.

Things To Do

Tropical Lagoon Resort is within a five to ten minutes drive of Winnifred Beach, Boston Beach, and Frenchman's Cove Beach. In addition to several nearby beaches, the property isn't far from waterways including Reach Falls, Sommerset Falls, and the Rio Grande. Lastly, the location is close enough to hike in the Blue Mountains, see a coffee farm, and procure some tasty local eats from a market in Port Antonio.

I'm looking forward to reporting from and being inspired by the Carribean next week, friends. Stay tuned!

Readers: Have you visited the other Jamaica? Do you have any recommendations?

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Discussions — 5 Responses

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 12, 2014 on 7:44 am

    This sounds like SO much fun Kate and since it snowed here this week, a beach trip sounds even more fun right about now! I have never traveled to Jamaica because I always heard about the over commercialization from friends of mine who had been there. Instead I have been to Antigua and Nevis, which are both beautiful islands. I can’t wait to hear about your experience!

    Reply
  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 12, 2014 on 9:14 am

    The picture is beautiful and I’m totally jealous! 🙂 Ive never been to Jamaica…hope you have a great time!

    Reply
  • Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver December 13, 2014 on 11:50 am

    I have never been to Jamaica, but it looks beautiful! I can’t wait to hear about your trip. I may have to put it on my travel list! 🙂

    Reply
  • Mrs. Frugalwoods December 14, 2014 on 8:37 pm

    Oh wow–that looks gorgeous! I’ve never been to Jamaica, but it sounds wonderful. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

    Reply
  • Melanie @ Dear Debt December 15, 2014 on 7:07 pm

    Looks like a blast. That’s so cool that your sister is a dancehall DJ. Have fun in the sun — I can’t wait for your recap post, hopefully full of pics 🙂

    Reply

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