Famous for its distinct natural beauty, Port Antonio features majestic waterfalls, sheltered coves and winding rivers, nestled amid lush jungle at the foot of the Blue Mountains. The town is fringed by dramatic cliffs and gorgeous white sand beaches lapped by the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
An off-the-beaten path ecotourism destination, the tropical town is quaint and undeveloped, without being too remote. And this is part of the charm of the place – that although it’s a tourist destination, it’s still quite removed from tourism. Read on for the ultimate guide to Port Antonio.
Things to Do in Port Antonio
Port Antonio offers visitors a variety of attractions and activities to enjoy. These include:
- Sunbathing at Frenchman’s Cove: Often referred to as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Frenchman’s Cove is a white sandy inlet surrounded by tropical jungle and cliffs. The cove is fitted with a rope swing used by swimmers to jump into the waters below.
- Bamboo Rafting on the Rio Grande: Bamboo Rafting along the Rio Grande River is a very popular activity in Port Antonio. This iconic rafting tour lasts around 2.5 – 3 hours, and takes place in a raft built to accommodate 2 adults and 1 child.
- Dining at the Boston Jerk Center: The world-famous jerk cuisine traces its roots to Jamaica, and in particular to the Boston area of Port Antonio. As such, the Boston Jerk Center is one of the best places in Jamaica – and the world – to taste jerked meats.
- Surfing at Boston Beach: Boasting a very picturesque coastline and high waves, Boston Beach is the best surfing destination in Port Antonio. But it’s also a gorgeous place to just sunbathe and relax, for those who don’t wish to go surfing.
- Shopping at Musgrave Market: Musgrave Market truly is the heart of Port Antonio. Here visitors can spend the day browsing the small shops scattered around town. The market is a great spot to shop for Jamaican souvenirs such as unique local handicrafts.
- Deep Sea Fishing: Port Antonio is home to some of Jamaica’s best deep sea-fishing. Anglers can set out on a boat and discover an abundance of tuna, marlin and kingfish in the waters just off the coast. Every October, Port Antonio hosts the International Marlin Tournament.
- Snorkeling at the Blue Lagoon: In addition to being dazzlingly beautiful, with its azure waters fringed by tropical greenery, the Blue Lagoon is a must for snorkelers and scuba divers. The lagoon sources its water from freshwater springs and is a habitat for colorful marine life.
- Sailing up Daniels River to Somerset Falls: Take a boat ride up Daniels River to Somerset Falls, where you can enjoy swimming inside deep rock pools. Along the way, you will pass by a historic plantation for indigo and spice, and soak up views of the lush rainforest landscape.
- Kayaking to Pellew Island: Commonly known as Monkey Island, Pellew Island is an uninhabited island off the coast of Port Antonio with dazzling scenery. Visitors can rent a kayak and snorkeling gear from San San Beach and explore its pristine environs just offshore.
- Mountain Biking in the Blue Mountains: There’s no better place to go mountain biking in Jamaica than in the Blue Mountains. Guided cycling tours are available. For less active travelers, there are nature walks and hiking trips in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Beaches in Port Antonio
Port Antonio offers visitors an array of beaches to enjoy.
Frenchman’s Cover is a private beach that is popular among the rich and famous, including Queen Elizabeth II, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Ian Fleming and The Beatles. A spectacular beach with lush vegetation, it has also been used as a setting for films such as “Knight and Day” and “Lord of the Flies.” A well-stocked bar and restaurant are available, as well as beach chair rentals and accommodation.
San San Beach
San San Beach is a private getaway that provides a quiet escape from the noise. Famed for its privacy and tranquility, the beach offers stunning views of Monkey Island and Alligator Head. From its sandy shores, visitors can go kayaking or snorkeling to both Monkey Island and the Blue Lagoon. The bar and restaurant offer an authentic taste of Port Antonio with their jerk chicken and pork dishes.
Boston Bay Beach
Jamaica is famous for its gorgeous beaches and delicious jerk cuisine – both of which you can enjoy in one location at the Boston Bay Beach. Because jerk cuisine originated in this area, you are guaranteed an authentic taste when you dine at their restaurant. There is also a well-stocked bar with music and irie vibes. The beach is one of Jamaica’s best surfing spots, with great waves, lessons and board rentals.
Is Port Antonio Safe?
Port Antonio boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Jamaica. Moreover, crime against tourists in Port Antonio is rare, except for some opportunistic crimes such as pickpocketing. As long as you use your common sense, you shouldn’t experience any safety concerns here in Jamaica during your vacation in Port Antonio.
Where in Jamaica is Port Antonio?
Port Antonio is located in the parish of Portland, on the northeastern coast of Jamaica.
How to Get to Port Antonio
To get to Port Antonio, you will need to travel by land.
Travelers can get to Port Antonio via:
- Hotel Transport: Many all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica provide guests with free transportation to their hotel as part of the package.
- Private Transfer: Private transfer is ideal for travelers who wish to make stops along the way, for example at shops.
- Shuttle Bus: Buses and shuttles run daily along this route, offering the cheapest mode of transportation.
- Route Taxi: Route taxis in Jamaica are not recommended for tourists unless you know exactly where you’re going.
- Car Rental: Although it is possible to rent a car, driving in Jamaica is not recommended for first-time visitors.
How Far is Port Antonio from Kingston?
The distance from Kingston to Port Antonio is 88.6km.
How to Get to Port Antonio from Kingston?
To get to Port Antonio from Kingston, you will need to travel by land, using a shuttle bus or private transfer.
How long is the Drive from Kingston to Port Antonio?
It takes about 2 hours to drive from Kingston to Port Antonio via the A4 and A3 roads.
How Far is Port Antonio from Montego Bay?
The distance from Montego Bay to Port Antonio is 202.1km.
How to Get to Port Antonio from Montego Bay?
To get to Port Antonio from Montego Bay, you will need to travel by land, using a shuttle bus or private transfer.
How long is the Drive from Montego Bay to Port Antonio?
It takes about 3.5 hours to drive from Montego Bay to Port Antonio via the A1 highway.
How Far is Port Antonio from Ocho Rios?
The distance from Ocho Rios to Port Antonio is 101.8km.
How to Get to Port Antonio from Ocho Rios?
To get to Port Antonio from Ocho Rios, you will need to travel by land, using a shuttle bus or private transfer.
How long is the Drive from Ocho Rios to Port Antonio?
It takes about 2 hours to drive from Ocho Rios to Port Antonio via the A4 and A3 roads.
How Far is Port Antonio from Negril?
The distance from Negril to Port Antonio is 278.9km.
How to Get to Port Antonio from Negril?
To get to Port Antonio from Negril, you will need to travel by land, using a shuttle bus or private transfer.
How long is the Drive from Negril to Port Antonio?
It takes about 4.5 hours to drive from Negril to Port Antonio via the A1 road.
How Far is Port Antonio from Treasure Beach?
The distance from Treasure Beach to Port Antonio is 224.9km.
How to Get to Port Antonio from Treasure Beach?
To get to Port Antonio from Treasure Beach, you will need to travel by land, using a shuttle bus or private transfer.
How long is the Drive from Treasure Beach to Port Antonio?
It takes about 4.5 hours to drive from Treasure Beach to Port Antonio via the A2 road.
Port Antonio vs. Negril
Here are the pros and cons of Port Antonio and Negril:
- Negril has the best beaches in Jamaica, including the world-famous Seven Mile Beach. Port Antonio’s beaches are also beautiful and often virtually deserted.
- Negril has many big all-inclusive resorts, restaurants, bars and shops. Port Antonio has no resorts but rather small hotels, villas and guest houses, with smaller restaurants, bars and shops.
- For a laid-back, quiet and relaxed atmosphere, go to Port Antonio. However, if you want lots of fun and entertainment, go to Negril which has a more vibrant nightlife with live music.
Port Antonio vs. Montego Bay
Here are the pros and cons of Port Antonio and Montego Bay:
- Montego Bay is closer to the airport, with most hotels being a mere 15 minutes’ drive away. To get to Port Antonio you will have to drive 2 hours from the closest airport in Kingston.
- Port Antonio is a better choice for a more relaxed holiday. On the other hand, Montego Bay offers plenty of activities for active vacationers, including 4 championship golf courses.
- Montego Bay has a city-like vibe, with everything fast and busy. On the other hand, Port Antonio feels more rustic and untouched, which makes for a more tranquil vacation option.
Port Antonio vs. Ocho Rios
Here are the pros and cons of Port Antonio and Ocho Rios:
- Ocho Rios is the closest city to Jamaica’s biggest attractions, with most hotels being just 15 minutes away from popular sites such as Dunn’s River Falls, Mystic Mountain and Dolphin Cove.
- Ocho Rios is normally full of tourists when cruise ships have docked in the port. On the other hand, Port Antonio is typically less crowded with tourists.
- Ocho Rios has a city-like vibe, with everything fast and busy. On the other hand, Port Antonio has a more casual and laid-back vibe that’s perfect for a relaxing vacation.
Port Antonio vs. Treasure Beach
Here are the pros and cons of Port Antonio and Treasure Beach:
- While Port Antonio boasts areas of lush jungle with white sand beaches, Treasure Beach is a dry area, with lots of cactus, grassy plains and golden sand beaches.
- If you’re looking for natural beauty, Port Antonio is your best bet, as it is located in Portland, the most beautiful area of Jamaica.
- If you’re looking to immerse yourself into the local culture, Treasure Beach is your best bet. This is the place to go to experience the vibrant culture of Jamaica at its most authentic.