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Move Over Montego Bay! This Unspoiled Beach Town Should Be Your Next Jamaica Vacation

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If you just pay attention to headlines, it may seem as if Jamaica has been through a whirlwind.

From being issued a ‘Level 3' travel advisory to breaking all-time visitor records, the Caribbean island nation has been on a wild roller coaster ride.

Of course, there are dozens of stunning beaches lining the coast of this beautiful country, but most vacationers set their sights on Montego Bay.

Female tourist swimming in Port Antonio

While upscale beach resorts are plentiful, if Montego Bay is your only perception of Jamaica then you are doing yourself a disservice.

Jamaica is one of the friendliest Caribbean getaways where locals are happy to share their secret escapes if you simply ask.

There's one unspoiled beach town that rivals Montego Bay with certain amenities, but even the iconic vacation hotspot can't compete with the unspoiled beauty and authentic experiences of Port Antonio.

Stunning Resorts With More Elbow Room

If Montego Bay is known for one thing – it's high-end resorts amongst gorgeous scenery.

Trident Castle Hotel in Port Antonio

As summer is just around the corner, this iconic beach city will not only be home to the Caribbean Sea, but an endless see of ‘Jamaican Me Crazy Mahn' t-shirts.

Exhibit A of why you should consider exploring other parts of the country.

Port Antonio is a pure paradise, but it has been under development to cater to a small crowd of tourists who know of its existence, and they would like to keep it that way.

Stays range from affordable hostels, which cost $30 per night, to luxury beachfront resorts, like the Trident Hotel.

Don't worry, you don't have to fork over nearly $500 per night for a beachfront stay, there are mid-tier seaside resorts as well, such as Frenchman's Cove Resort under $200.

Aerial view - Frenchman's Cove of Port Antonio

The only thing missing is all-inclusive amenities, but that just speaks to the allure of Port Antonio's authenticity and untapped potential as real Jamaica.

A Stunning Nature Destination

Not to say that Montego Bay isn't pretty, but there's a raw appeal to Port Antonio with untouched natural sites like the Blue Lagoon.

Tucked away for a private paradise, this natural wonder offers cozy white sand beaches and perfect, swimmable blue waters fed by ocean run-off and underwater springs.

Tourist on swing in Blue Lagoon

Although the most touristy site in the region, it's nowhere near what you'll find in mega-popular resort towns.

At most, you can wave to fellow tourists who hired a guide for a scenic boat tour, but you won't be cramped for space.

Port Antonio is set among a backdrop of lush rainforests. Tourists can safely explore the jungle by hiring a guide to discover this area's gorgeous waterfalls, also suited for swimming.

No Better Place For Jamaican Food

Cup of coffee in Blue Mountains of Jamaica

When you go to Starbucks, you're usually happy to get whatever overpriced sugar-filled concoction they serve.

But if you want real coffee, Jamaica is the place to be. Often overshadowed as a coffee destination, tourists may be surprised by how good it tastes and how fun of an experience you can have here.

Lying south of Port Antonio is the majestic Blue Mountains, rightly named for the bluish hue hovering over the peak.

Here, you are arguably in the Caribbean's top destination to indulge in your morning potion.

Tourists can visit multiple coffee farms in delightful towns amongst the mountains and savor the flavor of your new favorite cup o' joe.

Coconut stand in Port Antonio

Better yet, you can't visit Jamaica without having jerk chicken at least once.

While Montego Bay may serve Jamaica's most famous dish spruced up on a silver platter, the best way is to find a street stand.

Port Antonio is the O.G. of jerk chicken, just let your nose follow the smoke and you will thank me later.

Just 2 Hours Away

There is no airport for Port Antonio, but it is a cruise port. Those arriving by air, however, can easily reach Port Antonio in about 2 hours.

The most popular way to do so would be through Kingston.

Yes, this city doesn't have the best reputation, but there are legit, safe transit options from here.

Beach in Port Antonio

The next best option would be the resort town of Ocho Rios.

With a new direct flight from the U.S., travelers can also reach Port Antonio in just over 2 hours from here.

Montego Bay would be the longest trek at just under 4 hours.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Monday 13th of May 2024

Portland/Port Antonio has the tastiest local dishes in the island. Large servings for under $1000jmd. The food sells out fast but I was really impressed. In the town just ask for the local restaurants. Or ask any of the police who are always visible in the town they will direct you. Boston jerk was a little overrated. I had corned pork with fried dumplings. The variety of local dishes were also very good at the local restaurants.


Monday 13th of May 2024

They should exclusively not allow all inclusive resorts in the parish of Portland and encourage a more authentic Jamaica experience, develope Portland as that attraction wi h would fuel tge local economy. Now towns of restaurants will benefit


Sunday 12th of May 2024

This is a very nice article. Thank you for it!

Just wanted to clarify that Ocho Rios, which is located in the Parish of St. Ann, doesn't actually have an airport. The Ian Fleming International Airport, which started direct flights to Miami through American Airlines earlier this year, is located in Boscobel, St. Mary, which is approximately 30 minutes away from Ocho Rios.