The enchanting natural beauty of the quiet parish of Portland on Jamaica’s East Coast is something that keeps visitors returning year after year to indulge in a host of attractions ranging from secluded beaches and tranquil coves to dazzling tropical rainforests, mystifying lagoons, romantic waterfalls and some of the island’s tastiest cuisine. Not no mention the unbridled warmth and energy of the Jamaicans who call the region home. With its reputation as one of the best vacation spots in the island cemented Portland is an increasingly popular setting for the transcendental “Wedding in Paradise”. It is here you will find the captivating Crystal Springs.
Located just a few kilometres from the Buff Bay town centre, his 150 acre eco-park is home to one of the largest orchid collections of the Caribbean boasting over 15,000 varieties of plants. This delightful property also includes a bird sanctuary that holds bird watching tours and a picnic park. Popular with Jamaicans for group events such as picnics and weddings on the rolling lawns, or amidst the acres of well-manicured gardens, Crystal Springs is also “kid-friendly”, with a fish pond, a small river and marked trails running through the forest. For the keen ornithologist as well as the amateur bird watcher, there are many species of exotic tropical birds in and around the area. Look out for Jamaican Doctor birds (hummingbirds) flitting in and out of flower beds! The entire site is open to the public, however, with prior reservations and for a small admission fee.
One of the more popular spots for Jamaicans on the lesser traveled South Coast the picturesque Fonthill Beach Park is known for its pristine golden sands, turquoise waters, great spearfishing and a lovely nearby reef which sees many locals and tourists alike donning their snorkeling gear to observe the colourful tropical fish and a wide variety of coral. Located just 15 minutes outside of Black River, close to the border of St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland this place is ideal for large family outings as well as private picnics.
Situated within a nature reserve on the Fonthill property owned by the Petroleum Company of Jamaica, the area is comprised of two golden-sand beaches (connected by a trail), fringed by a reef offering great snorkeling and bathing. Dolphins come into the cove, as do turtles for nesting season. Fonthill also operates a guest house and comes complete with a shower and changeroom facilities, a small cafe and bar, a grassed area with picnic tables under gazebos, lifeguards and horseback riding tours are also available near the property. The little beach at Fonthill is a delight and can be followed all the way to Luana Point where a lone mangrove tree defines the western edge of the morass that stretches eastward to Longacre Point.
You don’t really have to be married to be on your honeymoon, but for those lucky lovebirds who actually plan on making it official and are wondering just where to celebrate your first days together as husband and wife, look no further. Island Buzz brings you our 5 Best Kept Secret Beaches for the Honeymooner (or just for the beach enthusiasts looking for the most private places to worship the sun).
Silver Sands, Trelawny
Located approximately 40 minutes east of Montego Bay, the private swimming beach Silver Sands on the North Coast takes the number one spot and is considered (by those who know of its existence) to be Jamaica’s best beach. With spotlessly beautiful white sand and clear blue tranquil waters just sitting on the beach can be enchanting. Step into the warm waters and you’ll never want to leave.
With it’s sparkling white sand beaches, assortment of water sports activities and tours, pulsating nightlife and alluring cuisine Montego Bay is undoubtedly one of Jamaica’s most popular destinations. Some visitors choose Montego Bay as their destination, get there and simply let their feet tell them where to go, it’s easy to find a beach to dig your toes into or even a beach bar and grill to grab a drink and some food. Or simply kick back and enjoy the captivating beauty of the Caribbean Sea. However, if you’re looking for a little more and are wondering what other things there are to do in Montego Bay, Jamaica then this list is for you:
Dreamer Catamaran Cruises
The Dreamer Catamaran Cruise is considered by many “the ultimate sailing experience”. Their 3 hour adventure includes snorkeling in the enchanting tropical underwater world of the Montego Bay Marine Park, home to a wealth of sponges in a rainbow of colors, dozens of tropical fish and amazing coral reefs. Even first-time snorkelers can appreciate a look at colorful corals, graceful fans and fish that include friendly sergeant majors, butterfly fish and shy damselfish. If snorkeling isn’t really your thing then maybe the open bar on the catamaran might be to your liking. Not to mention there’s always great music playing onboard & the crew is always ready for a Dance Party. Let them show you the moves to the latest Reggae & Soca.
Portland is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Jamaica. With its stunning blue waters, romantic coves, remote white sand beaches, breathtaking panoramic views and some of the best food on the island Portland has long been a favourite getaway spot for everyone from celebrities to couples on their honeymoon and families on vacation. The best thing about Portland is it eden-like state, the environment is relatively untouched by the commercial spoils of the more popular resort areas. With it’s rustic charm, waterfalls, and river rafting it is perfect for any nature lover and this is what makes it so alluring.
Portland is noted for its fine beaches, such as Frenchman’s Cove, Boston Beach, Winifred’s Beach, San San Beach and Dragon Bay. The very famous Blue Mountains are also located in Portland as is the world famous Blue Lagoon, which is believed to be the crater of an extinct volcano. The lagoon is an almost landlocked cove with approximately 55m (180 ft) of absolutely invigorating water. Swimming, snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the Blue Lagoon are absolute must do’s, not to mention kayaking to Monkey Island, just a stones throw away.
Scattered on the cliffs overlooking Boston Bay (on the North east point of Jamaica), Great Huts is an oceanfront ecotourism resort described by many as “the perfect place to see the real Jamaica”. The uniquely built huts on the property create an African styled beach-jungle-cliff habitat village that presents a pleasant hideaway for the back-packing, barefooted ecotourist.
Accommodations boast Tree houses and Huts constructed of Bamboo, hand-crafted furnishings, exotic fabrics and tribal art. Nature lovers, romantics, artists and other travelers will find warmth, authenticity, and adventure here. The sounds of the waves are completely relaxing while the views are amazing. The huts on the property are spaced out nicely so you feel as if you have the place all to yourself.
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to swim with dolphins or sharks, then Dolphin Cove in Jamaica is the place to find out what a thrilling experience that is. With two locations (in Ocho Rios and in Lucea, Hanover) Dolphin Cove is Jamaica’s number one marine attraction. It has all the makings of a great family adventure; offering the excitement of interacting with not only bottlenose dolphins, but stingrays, snakes, iguanas and a host of colourful tropical birds as well!
Adjacent to the world famous Dunn’s River Falls, Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios is an idyllic 5 acre tropical retreat, set against the backdrop of Jamaica’s picturesque North Coast. Here, in addition to swimming with the dolphins, sharks and stingrays, guests can also captain their own mini-boat or go glass-bottom kayaking to explore the fascinating underwater world of the Caribbean Sea. The 20 acre property in Lucea is the largest natural dolphin lagoon in the world. Dolphin Cove is tailored to your tastes, offering various programs which feature different levels of interaction with the dolphins, from touching the dolphins as they swim pass your feet to being dragged through the lagoon, holding on to their fins. The dolphins really communicate with you, even allowing you to hug them and rub their bellies.
Known to be one of the most romantic getaways in the world Jamaica’s landscape is filled with stunning waterfalls, streams, rivers, forests, mountains and plains promising endless activities for couples to engage in. Whether you choose to visit Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, Portland or the South Coast the beauty of the island will take your breath away. If a picture perfect honeymoon is what you and your partner are looking for, Jamaica has it. Whether it’s romance, adventure, or both you desire on your honeymoon, you can find it here! To make it a little easier for you to find them here’s a list of 5 Top Jamaican Honeymoon Activities.
Rafting on The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon near Port Antonio is easily Jamaica’s most romantic spot. So exotic in fact, it was used as a location in the filming of the 1980 movie Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields. According to legend, the water, which reaches a depth of nearly 200 feet, has an aphrodisiac effect. Famed for its intense blue and green colors, which range from azure to intense emerald and change as the sun moves over it throughout the day, lucky couples can choose to raft, swim, scuba dive, kayak or snorkel in the lagoon’s enchanting warm waters.
Tropical coral reefs are among nature’s most diverse ecosystems, composed of thousands of species of fish, plants, corals, invertebrates, and microorganisms. Their natural beauty attracts thousands of tourists and divers each year. Snorkeling in the emerald waters off the coast of Jamaica to explore the beautiful living coral reefs and see the exotic fish that dwell therein is a popular activity in the Caribbean, let alone on the island itself and it’s something the entire family can enjoy together.
Though most coral reefs may require a boat to get to them all major tourist resorts in Jamaica, in areas such as Port Antonio, Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, and St. Elizabeth (to name a few) offer daily snorkeling trips. Usually all equipment, the boat experience and the crew and captain are included in the cost of a snorkelling trip. If you’re about to plan that next big vacation and you’re curious about the underwater aspect of Jamaica you’ll want to visit any (or all) of these 5 Hot Spots for Snorkeling in Jamaica!
It’s time for our weekly Fan Friday” feature! Each week we select five of the best fan posted wall posts and/or comments on videos and articles posted to our Visit Jamaica Facebook Fan Page and publish them right here on Island Buzz just to let you all know we’ve been listening and we appreciate all your great feedback.
Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s most celebrated national treasures. It is hands down the island’s most frequented waterfall and one of most popular attractions in the Caribbean. This 600-foot majestic waterfall, known as “the Niagara of Jamaica” sees thousands of visitors from around the world each year climbing the limestone rock formation as water cascades past them and splashes into the ocean below. A truly outstanding treasure for everyone from the adventurous tourist to the more cautious individuals and an experience the whole family can truly enjoy together. Here’s what some of our fans posted in response to Vacation Themes: Adventure: Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica:
“I have been there and loved it. I have been back to your beautiful island twice since. The only thing more beautiful than the island itself are the people of Jamaica.”
December 17, 2010 at 11:00 am | Fan Friday | No comment