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Best Beaches In Portland | by Sheree-Anita Shearer, Associate Writer
Portland remains one of, if not, the most beautiful parishes in Jamaica. Whether you agree with that statement or not, you can’t dispute that it is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the country. The parish as a whole is big on ecotourism, the attractions occur naturally and visitors must enjoy them in this state. The beaches are absolutely stunning here. These are 8 of the best beaches in Portland.
Possibly the most popular beach in Portland, no trip to the eastern parish is complete until you visit Blue Lagoon, which is located in the capital town of Port Antonio. The area has become very popular for both locals and visitors for its stunning beauty and the surrounding flora and fauna, which includes exotic plants and indigenous birds. The lagoon has varying shades of blue during the day, depending on the direction the sun is pointing.
What is special about the Blue Lagoon is that it isn’t made up only of water from the sea. Multiple rivers around the area also flow into the Blue Lagoon. This is what makes it one of the best beaches in Portland, you'll have access to not only the sea but the river as well
What can you do on the Blue Lagoon? It is used for swimming, kayaking, boat rides (which can sometimes take you to Monkey Island), and rafting as well. Not to mention the countless opportunities for the best Instagram photo.
While it was rumoured to have been bottomless before, that has since been debunked, it is actually measured at 180ft. Also, you may have heard something about dangerous sea creatures and mythical animals being among the wildlife there, those are false as well.
The area is actually called Blue Hole by locals, but after the 1980 film, The Blue Lagoon which was shot there, it became more popularly known by that name.
When you’re heading out to Blue Lagoon don’t forget your towel, Insect repellent, spending money and a good camera.
Another hotspot in the parish! Boston Beach is located nine miles east of Port Antonio. If you are looking for leisurely time at the beach, then Boston Beach is for you.
Additionally, if you are a surfer in Jamaica, Boston Beach, also known as Boston Bay Beach is one of the very few places you’ll be able to catch a wave albeit a small one.
The word Boston in Jamaica is also very popular for a whole other reason, that is, Boston Jerk. The Boston Jerk centre is located just a few minutes away from Boston Beach so you can choose whether you’ll stop by before or after. But this is Portland Jamaica and delicious jerk is never too far out of reach. Right on the shores of Boston Beach, you will find little shacks where you can buy Jerk Chicken or Pork, as well as Jerk sauces and marinade to create your own at home.
There is a small fee to enter the beach and there isn’t much in terms of seating so bringing something to sit on might be a good idea.
Frenchman’s Cove beach is located on the Frenchman’s Cove property, while there is a beautiful rustic resort there, you don’t need to be a guest to visit the beach itself. The beautiful blues, a combination of the freshwater flowing from the hills of the Blue Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, is canopied by the lush vegetation surrounding the beach.
Again, Frenchman's cove is one of the few beaches in the country where surfing can be done. Being on the east coast, the weather is perfect for surfing, and boards can be rented right there on the beach. No need to walk with one from home. If you would prefer a more laid back day of lounging on a daybed, with an island drink and a good book, that is possible too. This makes it one of the best beaches in Portland.
You are not allowed to bring food on the property, however with the Le Pirates Cafe right there on the beach you wouldn’t need to anyway. There is a small fee to get onto the property but it is well worth it.
Not to be confused with Long Bay in Negril, Long Bay Portland is a crescent-shaped shore, filled with white sand, palm trees and beach bars, not far from Boston Beach. It is the longest beach in Portland. Long Bay Beach is also a spot where you can surf if the weather permits.
Visiting with your children will make for an exciting trip as there is always something to find whether it is seashells, horse eyes, sea coconuts or countless other treasures.
I won’t have time to list all the advantages of visiting San San Beach in Portland. Aside from its beauty, its location makes it less visited and essentially way quieter and secluded than other beaches in the area. And, depending on where you are vacationing in Portland it might be closer to you than you think. So if you are looking for a little peace and quiet this is your haven.
There are several reefs just off the coast which makes it perfect for snorkelling, be mindful of the legally enforceable fishing restrictions on the area though.
My favourite thing about San San Beach is the that there are many activities you can be apart of, I think it is one of the best beaches in Portland when it comes to water sporting activities.
The beach is just 200 metres out from the Pellew or Princess Island. If you are feeling up to it, take up the challenge and swim to the smaller island. Only experienced swimmers are encouraged to do this so if you would rather have a leisurely ride to the island, boatmen are always on hand to take you there, for a small fee of course.
Scuba diving and windsurfing adventures are also easy to book with the people who work there. If you would prefer to have a peaceful day on the sand, then rent a beach chair and relax with a good book, a cold beer and some barbecued chicken from the restaurant located on the beach.
There are parking and restroom facilities available to its patrons.
If you happen to be visiting Jamaica during one of our Public Holidays, then you might get to attend a beach party in San San.
This is a free beach only known by locals for the most part. This beach is perfect for children as it is shallow for a good way out. What is even more special are the caves and crannies you can explore if you so desire. You won’t need a beach umbrella, just find one of the many trees and set up your station there for the day. It is one of the bigger beaches in Portland, so it’s rather difficult to become crowded.
Getting to the beach might be a little difficult due to the condition of the road, but I can guarantee you it's worth it.
One ritual when going to the beach is to bring copious amounts of food in bags to the beach, however, if you would rather get something while you’re there, that is an option too. Locals have made it their business to provide food, drinks and craft items to those who visit.
I must say, if restrooms and changing facilities are important to you, this might not be the beach for you.
I must admit I only learnt of Turtle Bay recently. And it is quickly become a must see spot and one of the best beaches in Portland. This one is for those who are a little more adventurous as it will take a lot of hiking and climbing. But all the sweating will be worth it. This is a completely free attraction that not many, outside of locals, are familiar with. To get there, you will definitely need the help of a local, but they are always willing to give you directions.
This trip is usually in two parts, first to Turtle Bay Cove, then to Turtle Bay Beach (also known as Innes Beach). The cove is a turtle-shaped bay with a natural pool. Its pristine condition is no doubt because of the locals, particularly Pele, who maintains the area. There is a small fee to visit the cove where you can swim around with small fishes and turtles when they are around.
The next stop is Turtle Bay Beach which is just a five minutes drive away from Turtle Bay Cove. If you are using GPS, then it will direct you to Innes Beach. If you are familiar with Serendipity Villas in Portland it is close by. Again, ask a local for directions. To get to the beach, you’ll need to take a little walk down a rugged path, so carry as little as possible.
There are quite a few entrances to this beach so be sure to pin down what location you’ll be using beforehand. Getting a local to be your tour guide would be the best option. A backpack would be perfect, so your hands are free to climb down. You will definitely need water shoes or Crocs, sandals will not work well on this trip.
Right in the town of Port Antonio, you’ll find Bikini Beach. While it isn’t the prettiest beach in Portland, it is perfect for a nice day at the beach especially if you are staying in Port Antonio. Not to mention, it is free. It is open until 5 pm daily.
I hope you were able to find your next beach trip destination from this list. Remember to pack sunscreen, a towel, water shoes and a camera! There will be many moments you want to capture on your trip to the best beaches in Portland!
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