Whilst considering a new blog post, I realised that I hadn’t written about the one place that I have visited numerous times – Jamaica. Now, as I am of Jamaican descent, I try to visit my family that are based there as frequently as I can. Essentially, if I am seeking a break from the UK in search of sunshine, white sandy beaches and family time then this is my place to go (provided I can find a reasonably priced flight).
Now, Jamaica gets quite a mixed response from people, some who adore the difference in culture, the laidback attitude (remember the Malibu advert?) and others who find it a little difficult to adapt to. The service might be slower when you’re dining out, it can be a little tricky understanding the dialect of Jamaican Patois at times (a blend of English with African influences) and the public transport can take some getting used to – but it’s constantly developing. Like any other country that I have visited, Jamaica has good and bad points which are to be expected. It isn’t home, therefore expecting things to run as they do in countries such as the UK is unrealistic.
Having travelled to the country on several occasions, I decided that I would use this post to highlight my main base in Jamaica… Portland. Roughly a two-hour bus drive from the capital city Kingston, I spend a large portion of my time there but also make sure to visit other parishes if time allows. My personal favourite place is Port Antonio, a bustling area with lots of things to see, do, eat and enjoy.
Regardless of your reason for travelling there, make the time to come away with lasting memories; I hope that the following list is useful; this isn’t a comprehensive guide but are places that I personally have visited and enjoyed.
Fantastic scenery of tropical greenery and incredibly beautiful flowers all amidst the blissful waterfalls. With tropical birds and parrots, it is a nice alternative to some of the more well known attractions of Jamaica and a good chance to mix with local people. There is also the option to take a small boat ride which passes through part of the waterfall and into the caves.
Juicy Pattie (casual dining restaurant)
A Jamaican patty can only be described as a tasty and flavoursome snack that just leaves you wanting more. The patty consists of a pastry that is usually yellow (coloured with turmeric). The filling can vary and different places will sometimes offer their own take on a filling. My first stop in Jamaica is always at a Juicy Pattie outlet where they serve a filling of beef and cheese which is my ultimate choice. Opt for the corn bread and send your taste-buds into overdrive.
Errol Flynn Marina
“More beautiful than any woman I’ve seen” Errol Flynn
When in Portland, the marina is a must see. I absolutely love it here. The peaceful serenity of just relaxing by the water, admiring the boats and strolling along in the sunshine is unbeatable. I have yet to find a place like this that just seems to calm the soul. Take a picnic and make the most of a bit of time away from the neighbouring Port Antonio town (just a short walk away).
You’ve heard of Jerk chicken and perhaps Jerk pork? Well, this is the birthplace of jerked food that is attributed to the land of Jamaica. With the idyllic, white sandy beaches, clear turquoise-coloured water and warm sea breeze, you can just sit back and enjoy the vibrant and often music-filled atmosphere. Of course, you must make sure to stop off and buy some of the jerked food too – a trip to Boston without it is criminal! 🙂
Rio Grande Rafting
The Rio Grande was originally the form of transport used for transporting bananas from the island plantations to Port Antonio Bay. Nowadays, it serves as a relaxing and intriguing way to see the island and explore the naturally beautiful surroundings. Sailing along here is such a peaceful experience, I loved sitting back, enjoying the warmth and snapping a few photos along the route. If you get hungry along the way, there are plenty of stop off points, just ask the boatman to stop.
I also asked a couple of fellow bloggers to share their recommendations for Jamaica.
“Take the road less travelled. — When I want to get away from it all, I head to Portland, St. Thomas or the South Coast. Life is a little bit slower, less crowded and full of some of the best things in life — great food, beautiful people and well preserved natural attractions.”
“Frenchman’s Cove is where paradise meets your fingertips, invites you to hold on and you live out all your tropical fantasies. You have the option of wading in the cove or kicking in your adrenaline for some rough and sometimes overpowering waves.”
Have you visited Jamaica or specifically Portland? Are there any attractions that I’ve missed? Add them in the comments and I’d love to check them out on my next trip.