With its stunning blue waters, romantic coves, remote white sand beaches, breathtaking panoramic views and some of the best food on the island the parish of Portland on Jamaica’s east coast is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean. Portland’s bigger beaches – Frenchman’s Cove, Winnifred Beach and Boston Bay – are well-travelled, stunning locales. But tracking down the off-the-beaten-path beaches, can be gratifying, providing you with serenity and exposure to the authentic Jamaica and its rustic charms.
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A particularly unusual spot, located near Manchioneal and about an hour outside of Buff Bay, named for it’s view of a turtle shell shaped rock that sits just offshore is the visually stunning Turtle Bay. This spot is more famous for its towering rock formations than its sands. Coastal erosion has worked it’s magic to create this idyllic setting and the majestic variegated rocks are quite a wonder to behold. It’s so far off the beaten path you can be sure there’ll be no crowds here, it’s a local secret which can be disclosed only by them. To find it, go a little pass Manchioneal to Hectors River and turn on Long Road, ask for directions from a friendly local there.
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Located no more than a half-an-hour-drive east from Port Antonio, Long Bay Beach stretches several miles along the longest natural white-sand beach on Jamaica. Unlike Negril or Ocho Rios, Long Bay remains untouched by all-inclusive hotels, you will be able to meet real Jamaicans as they live their lives and enjoy the beach in all it’s pearly white sanded, turquoise watered, coconut tree sheltered splendour.This setting is fitting for the adventurous traveler, kite boarding and even surfing is welcome, since the waves can get a little high. Travelers have a wide spectrum of choices when it comes to accommodation as the beach is dotted with Tiki Hut bars, restaurants and cabins.
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Complete with local charm, friendly country atmosphere tyre swings for the kids and a bar & restaurant Innis Bay is located on Long Road, near Flat Grass in Portland. Here local fishermen gather to play dominoes and drink a cold beer or two at the end of a long day with the salty sea breeze against their faces. The beach, like many public beaches in Jamaica is admittedly a tad grubby but quite scenic nevertheless.
Shan Shy Beach
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This hidden gem lies to the west of Portland’s capital Port Antonio, just outside of the entrance to the town. It is a popular spot among Port Antonio residents, and is sometimes used for local concerts and other events. The beach rests a few feet below the main road, but is hardly visible from above. Colourful concrete buildings line the back of the beach, including a bar, restaurant, changing area and bathrooms. Outside of the buildings, overgrown train tracks run through a grassy patch bordering the sand.
Beyond the old tracks, a few almond trees watch the white sand wrap around the cove. A fence divides the beach into two areas. The small patch to the west of the fence belongs to fishermen, whose little huts rest on the land while their brightly painted canoes float in the water. On the other side, clean white sand extends toward Port Antonio. The water off the beach is excellent for swimming, with a shallow and clear area that leads to a deep, dark blue bay.
Tags: beaches, best beaches, boston bay, frenchman's cove, hidden beaches, hidden gems, innis bay, Jamaica, long bay, Navy Island, off the beaten path, port antonio, portland, Shan Shy Beach, shanshy beach, the caribbean, travel, turtle bay, winnifred beach