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10 Things To Know About
Hellshire Beach Jamaica

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Hellshire Beach Jamaica
by Deon Clarke, Associate Writer

Unlike many of the beaches in Jamaica, is not just a beach, it is an entire attraction! In fact, more persons visit Hellshire Beach today for other reasons that its beach.


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Renowned for its fried fish and fairly safe swimming areas, this beach is a perfect get-a-way for local residents, those nearby and those who don’t mind taking a trip for the day.

Hellshire Beach JamaicaHellshire Beach Jamaica

But despite its convenient location and all the niceties that it has to offer, you might just forget the harsh realities of the challenges that this “hot spot” is faced with. 

What do YOU really know about Hellshire Beach? 

Let’s take a look at what I believe are the top 10 things you should know about this popular Jamaican heritage.

10 Things To know About Hellshire Beach Jamaica

hellshire_beach_jamaica_ig_vintage_jamaicaJamaican Food at Hellshire Beach Jamaica | PhotoCredit: @vintage_jamaica
  1. Mouth Watering Jamaican Food – Fried Fish and Lobster

    Oh yes, the best part of Hellshire Beach has to be the food!

    The fried fish at Hellshire beach is to die for!  Some will argue that it is the best in the island!

    You get to choose fresh fish weighed by the pound and reasonably priced. Within 20 minutes your cook will return with a large platter of sumptuous fried fish served up with, escovietch sauce, bammy and festival. 

    Coconut water and jelly vendors are just a step away to ease the burning escovietch sauce, which is a great trade off for the incredible taste of the fish which will have you begging and going back for more. Other beverages are readily available from the many other stalls. 


  2. Convenient Location

    Hellshire Beach is located in Portmore, just 20 minutes away from bustling Kingston city and just about 1 ½ hour from Ocho Rios

    It’s mostly a hangout area for locals and nearby visitors but tourists also take the time to visit and experience this awesome chill spot!


  3. Rich History (What With The Name?)

    What could be 'hellish' about Hellshire beach?

    No, not hellish, but "heath-ish". It was actually called “Healthshire”, a popular health retreat.

    By the way, historical records revealed that scores of run-away slaves escaped to Healthshire and thrived there for many years before they were captured by the Maroons! 

    Over the decades, the name seemed to evolve to Hellshire as we now know it.

  4. Beach Access

    So, you may ask, how do I access this beach?  There are actually two sections for beach access:

    >> Paid Entry Section:  This section of the beach is where you obviously pay for entry, and faces Kingston and the Blue Mountains. All the basic amenities, including life guards, safety buoys, changing facilities, benches and tables are here.

    >> Free Section: This is on the western side. Here is where you will find numerous fried fish vendors.

  5. Events at Hellshire Beach

    There is certainly no dull moment at Hellshire. Outside of the swimming, donkey rides, beach football, there are also occasional reggae concerts - and even beauty contests!|

  6. Lots of Vendors, Lots of wares!

    Outside of the regular shop owners that prepare and sell fried fish and other seafood, you will find snack vendors with various snacks and drinks, jewelry vendors plying their wares and just about anyone who has something to sell.

  7. The Best Time To Visit

    The best time to visit Hellshire Beach will certainly depend on you. If you prefer lighter and smaller crowds you may want to visit during week days.

    Weekends and holidays are a buzz with large crowds and more activities. 

  8. Hotels & B&B Nearby Hellshire Beach Jamaica

    If for some reason you want to overnight or spend the weekend near Hellshire!  Here are some some of the best accommodation options.

        • Hideaway Guesthouse Cumberland (Portmore) - 5.8 miles
        • The Jamaica Pegasus (Kingston)- 10.0 miles
        • Courtyard by Marriott (Kingston)- 10.0 miles
        • Hotel Four Seasons  (Kingston)- 10.1 miles
        • The Knutsford Court Hotel (Kingston)- 10.1 miles
        • The Courtleigh Hotel (Kingston)- 10.1 miles
        • Altamont Court Hotel (Kingston)- 10.2 miles

  9. Beach Erosion and the Challenges

    Amidst all the fun and delectable meals at Hellshire Beach, all 'hell' is breaking loose with the receding shorelines. 

    And with each day, this problem gets worse. The business owners will tell you that they have had to move their shops back many times to avoid being swept away by the emerging sea water.

    In 2011, LIME (now FLOW) provided funding to conduct a study to find solutions to the erosion problem. 

    The study found that it would cost at least US $ 1.5 million to stop the erosion by building a breakfront to reduce the impact of the waves initially and to implement other measures such as nourishing the beach by bringing in sand from other areas, albeit  a temporary measure as indicated by some experts.


  10. The Future of Hellshire Beach

  11. Oh for the day that it could be called “Healthshire” Beach again!  The shoreline is eroding faster each day, and if nothing is done, we might be looking to call it Water’s Edge at Hellshire!

    The Jamaica Gleaner dated Sunday August 5, 2018, stated that almost $14 million JMD is needed to start restoration, an effort that experts say, will take decades to bring it back!

    Meanwhile, the livelihood of many business owners and residents hangs in the balance. 

    We hope whatever is been contemplated, action will start soon, Jamaica needs Hellshire.
hellshire_beach_jamaica_rules

References:

  • http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20150719/beach-blues-hellshire-operators-hunting-millions-shoreline-inches
  • http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20160223/hell-hellshire
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellshire_Beach
  • https://jamaicans.com/hellshire-beach-disappearing/
  • www.jamaicamyway.com/jamaica-recreation/hellshire-beach-portmore-jamaica/
  • http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20180805/gleaner-editors-forum-almost-14m-needed-start-restoring-hellshire

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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

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