The Geejam List: Must see destinations around Town
For problem-solvers or stone-cold chillers: Rio Grande Rafting
A gorgeous, game-changing activity. For nature nerds, lagoon lovers, romantics, Red Stripers, and problem-solvers alike, follow in the sea legs of early banana farmers who used this river to transport their crops. A two-and-a half hour sojourn down this gorgeous river is the perfect way to recharge. And you’ll also stop and have lunch riverside with Belinda, the tiny but mighty woman who will cook you a fantastic escovitch, curry, or chicken situation that could get you teary in a good way. Slip away to the glorious chill of this magical experience. You’ll be a better person for it.
For Hungry River Trippers: Belinda’s Riverside Restaurant
One of the best parts of taking a luxurious rafting ride down the Rio Grande is a stop-off for lunch at Belinda’s Riverside Restaurant. Belinda runs this small eatery under a rustic-looking palm frond roof with bamboo supports just as her mother Betty did for decades before. She continues the tradition of cooking some of the most delicious local dishes, including her signature Crayfish Coconut Rundown, which is made from the juice of grated coconut- simmered to create a thick sauce-curry powder, fresh herbs, and just a hint of Scotch bonnet pepper; the blend creates a burst of mouthwatering flavors. Also, highly recommended are her curried or fricassee chicken – the chickens are organically reared in Belinda’s backyard, the herbs and seasonings are all locally grown too – the result is one of the most flavorsome plates you can imagine. All meals come with an expansive array of sides from fried plantain to roast breadfruit, rice and peas, and even a couple of dumplings on every plate.
For Waterfall Chasers: Reach Falls
This exceptionally situated waterfall is located on Driver’s River and the virgin rainforest. Crystal clear rock pools and draping vines provide a perfect backdrop for soaking in the natural beauty of this epic spot and making like Tom Cruise in Cocktail (it was filmed here).
For Locavores: Errol Flynn Marina
Named in memory of the iconic film star who got shipwrecked in Port Antonio and never left, the Errol Flynn Marina is a testament to Port Antonio’s Hollywood heyday and a local favorite. Stroll the boardwalk with ice cream from Devon House and devour all that local lore. This spot is where cargo ships used to unload bananas during Port Antonio’s boomtown years. Check out Marybelle’s Pub for a rum cocktail with a view.
For Beachy Keens: The cool and nice waters of Frenchman’s Cove
Picture a pristine, cool green river meeting a crystal-clear warm blue ocean, surrounded by lush coves and island breezes. The stunning and legendary beach of Frenchman’s Cove is not to be missed and attract Jamaicans and tourists from around the orb. Take a selfie on a rope swing, have a Red Stripe, and, most of all calm down. If you can’t relax here, we may have to call you a doctor.
For Water Signs: Blue Lagoon
Make like your inner Cousteau and head to the Blue Lagoon. Situated in a private alcove, this romantic spot is the perfect place for an afternoon dip. With vendors selling crafts along the way, the turquoise blue waters of the Blue Lagoon are not to be missed. Don’t forget some goggles — you’ll want to fully appreciate the abundance of sea life that lives in these cool waters.
For Local Vibes: Winnifred Beach
If Frenchman’s Cove is an icon, Winnifred is its cooler sister. She’s the go-to beach for soaking up local flavors, vibes, and some of the best water afloat. This beach aka Rasta Beach is the right frequency for those who like a more kick back, low key situation, and is a popular spot for Rastas and in-the-know locals. Plus, the food at Cynthia’s beach spot is a spiritual experience. Favored by the likes of Anthony Bourdain when he visited Portie. Cynthia will cook you the freshest lunch in town with an unrivaled view. Have your chicken, fish, or lobster (when in season) prepared to your liking. The steamed fish is excellent, as are the brown stew, fried, and grilled fish offerings. Enjoy sides of roasted breadfruit, plantain, callaloo, steamed cabbage, chopped raw vegetables, or a simple salad. Whatever flavor you’re looking for, this kick back spot has that ‘round the way vibe you’ll want to visit again and again.
For Surfers and Jerk Lovers: Boston Beach
If you love checking out spots with a side of history, then look no further than surf-friendly Boston Beach, the birthplace of jerk. Chow down on some pork or chicken with a side of breadfruit to soak it all up. Then swim it all off in the turquoise waters of Boston beach and hang ten.
For Foodies: Soldier Camp
Located in Port Antonio (and favored by locals and tourists alike, this casual spot serves some of the best food around with zero attitude. Run by ex-US Army vet, Everold, sit back and relax and enjoy an amazing meal surrounded by military memorabilia. Seafood is a specialty, and you can enjoy it flavored with garlic, escovitch, or the life-changing curry. The curry goat or baked chicken also goes well with an ice-cold Ting or Red Stripe. A longtime local gem where every dish is served with a heaping helping of love and kindness.
For Crafty Types: The Craft Market
The craft market in downtown Portie is an excellent stop for locally made gifts for yourself and all your friends and family back home. From mesh bikini cover-ups to wooden sculptures and serving vessels, support local artists and take home something completely unique.
For must be the Music Types: Vinyl Sundays
Take one tattooed Italian expat with incredible taste in music and a mixed crowd of locals, dogs, and visitors down for a vibe, and you’ve got Vinyl Sundays, in the local community of Drapers. Drink up, spliff up, fix-up. Beats tend to be of the vintage varietal- from your favorite Trojan classics to a few American soul classics, this fun night out in downtown Port Antonio will sort you out.
For Swerve Seekers: Rum, Rum, and more Rum
It’s a vibe. And there are amazing spots all over Port Antonio to partake. Keep it classy with a ting a ling, get your groove on with a fruity cocktail, or be a purist and sip something dark and lovely on the rocks.