Located between the Blue Lagoon and Boston Bay just a mile on from the closed beach where Tom Cruise once juggled his bottles in Cocktail, Winnifred Beach is one of the most appealing beaches in all of Jamaica. Found in the Fairy Hill community in Portland on the island’s lesser traveled east coast this beach is home to a delightful reef just offshore that’s not only perfect for snorkelling, but for its clear, calm, bright-blue water justly popular with locals.
A long, unpaved road leads to the wide, white-sand beach that stretches along a sheltered bay. Thick groups of trees and vines act as a backdrop to the aquamarine water filling the foreground. At the base of the hill, large trees shade a flat strip of land, where several food and drink vendors prepare fresh fish dishes and Jamaican jerk delights – a specialty of Portland. There’s also a mini-field, perfect for a game of football. And on weekends, there are horseback riding tours down the beach and boat trips to nearby Monkey Island.
The picturesque beach is cradled by peninsulas framing its sparkling clean sand and turquoise blue waters. To the south are pools fed by underground springs which display every color of green and tan. Visit on the weekend to join Jamaicans swimming, playing cricket or just relaxing on the beach. Weekdays are quieter and you may even have the whole beach to yourself. The sea is excellent for swimming and there are also many opportunities to explore fascinating lagoons. Another plus for visitors to Winnifred Beach is the availability of fresh water from a spring to wash away the salt after swimming in the sea. There is also a public changing room and toilet.
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While less crowded than many other Jamaican beaches (because the steep road leading to it deters many travelers) Winnifred Beach offers a good mix of tourists and locals and is still close to many of the island’s attractions and activities. One of the neighboring landmarks is the Goblin Hill Villas at San San, just 1.6 miles away on the east coast and many hotels will pack a picnic for their guests to enjoy right on the sand.
Winnifred Beach is also close to several natural and historical island attractions to round out a visit. Athenry Gardens, located 2.5 miles to the southwest of the beach, can be a great part of your vacation. For those interested in the history of Jamaica, a visit to the Lighthouse in Port Antonio, located 4.3 miles to the west, is a good option. Other interesting natural attractions closeby include Rio Grande Rafting, Somerset Falls, and Blue Mountain-John Crow National Park.
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