Caribbean: Jamaica - Port Antonio

This lesser known Jamaican town is home to gorgeous vistas and movie sets.
by Lori Seto

This beautiful port nestled between two harbors on the northeast coast of the island has played many roles: banana shipping port, Errol Flynn's playpen, backdrop for the film The Blue Lagoon, and inspiration for Robin Moore's The French Connection.

In a Word: Scenery

Picturesque harbors; Victorian architecture; and abundant orchids, banana, and bamboo trees draped with butterflies make this secluded, less commercial Jamaican enclave a true treat.

Why We'd Go: Four Features You'll Never Forget

  • Lagoon life: Go swimming, scuba diving, or snorkeling in the "bottomless" Blue Hole lagoon (where "The Blue Lagoon" was filmed), or float in the gentle mineral pool nearby (loincloths required). Other splashy options include a dip in the pool at the base of Somerset Falls or a languid raft trip down the Rio Grande River.
  • Outdoor fun: Explore the subterranean beauty of the 1.5 million-year-old Nonsuch Caves and stroll through nearby Athenry Gardens. Call Valley Hikes, (876) 993-3881, an acclaimed eco-tour company, to hike or horseback ride through Rio Grande Valley or tag along for a nature or history excursion.
  • Jerk pork: Sample the island's best jerk meats and fish on Boston Beach, where "jerk" seasoning was born. This fiery combination is made of scotch bonnet peppers, pimento seeds, scallion, thyme, and nutmeg (citrus fruit can help soothe a burning mouth).
  • Errol "In Like" Flynn: Stir up romantic impulses with a picnic on Navy Island, once owned by Port Antonio's most famous playboy and the scene of wild Tinseltown parties, or at Flynn's still-working plantation.

When to Go: Port Antonio at its Best

  • Best weather: December to April. Rain (called "liquid sunshine") is common, especially in October.
  • Best prices: Mid-April to mid-December; exact dates vary by hotel. Hurricane season swirls from June to November (September is trickiest).

Photo: The Jamaica Tourist Board

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