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Port Antonio

Port Antonio
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About Location

Port Antonio is the capital of the parish of Portland on the northeastern coast of Jamaica, about 60 miles (100 km) from Kingston.It had a population of 12,285 in 1982 and 13,246 in 1991.It is the island's third largest port, famous as a shipping point for bananas and coconuts, as well as one of its most important tourist attractions, tourism being a major contributor to the town’s economy.The Wesleyan preacher James Vowles arrived in Port Antonio as a Christian missionary and died from a fever a few months later.Many members of royal families, movie stars, great musicians, and well-known politicians have visited Port Antonio.

Port Antonio was a sleepy coastal town until the 1880s, when Lorenzo Dow Baker started the banana trade in Jamaica and successfully promoted Port Antonio as a destination for wealthy American travellers."Portie" became a "boom town".The banana trade, and the tourists who came in the banana boats, was once so large that at one time, weekly sailing from Port Antonio was greater than weekly sailing from the great English port of Liverpool.

The island was glamorized by Hollywood movies such as Club Paradise and Cocktail.The movie star Errol Flynn Zaca washed ashore in Jamaica after a tropical storm.He subsequently bought nearby Navy Island, part of British historic Fort George in Port Antonio as well as hundreds of acres of farmland along the Portland coast.One popular sight in this area is the Blue Lagoon, Jamaica, which owes its colour to its depth of 200 feet, other sights include the secluded Frenchman's Cove Beach, the ruins of Folly Mansion and the historic DeMontevin Lodge.The Rio Grande River, Boston Bay and Reach Falls are also close by.

How to Reach

By Air

Port Antonio is northeast of Kingston and east of Ocho Rios.From Kingston to Port Antonio, you would have to fly into Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and from there possibly take a cab or take the cheaper route and rent a car from Island Car Rental Ltd Company located in Kingston.If you’re coming from Ocho Rios you can either take a cab, drive east on Highway A4/A3 or take a flight from Ocho Rios private airport.

By Train

Port Antonio was the terminus of the now abandoned railway from Kingston via Spanish Town and Bog Walk, which was primarily built to serve the banana export trade.

By Bus

Port Antonio is a hub for bus transport in the north east of the island.

Key places to visit
Blue Lagoon, Frenchman's Cove Resort, Blue Mountain


Places to Visit

Blue Lagoon

The blue lagoon is described to be a land-lock cove where different shades of blue, color the lagoon. At this spot tourists are welcome to swim in the lagoon if they wish. This spot is also known for its romantic feel, so it’s great for couples. Another hotspot is the Navy Island. This is located off the island, but a short boat ride away. Here one can enjoy its beautiful golden-sand beaches and its own tropical rainforest. Other sights to behold are classic buildings that are still much intact, such as Portland Parish Church and Portland Parish court house.

Frenchman's Cove Resort

Previously known as Frenchman's Cove Hotel, is a hotel located on a 42-acre property near Port Antonio on Jamaica's northeastern shore.It is considered to be the world's first all-inclusive hotel with a history indicating its role in Jamaica's tourism industry.The hotel was popular with guests including Queen Elizabeth in the 1960s and considered to be one of the most expensive hotels at the time at $1000 per week.It is currently underused.Nevertheless and although very small in size the Frenchman's Cove beach is one of the best in the island even when compared with the beautiful Seven Mile's beach in Negril.The small cliffs on both sides of the sea entrance along with the clear sands, the small blue lagoon and the dense vegetation that surrounds all the area makes of this beach a place with an atmosphere absolutely unique.

Blue Mountain

The traditional Blue Mountain trek is the 7 mile hike to the peak with an increase in altitude of 3000 ft. Jamaicans prefer to reach the peak at sunrise so the 3-4 hour hike is usually undertaken in darkness.The unfolding dawn is very beautiful and on clear mornings, expansive views capture both the north and south coasts. It is well worth the effort although the garbage and graffiti on the little cabins at the top are a disappointment.On leaving the cleared mountaintop, the return trip reveals the botanical richness of the mountain.The trail passes through an elfin forest of stunted soapwood and rodwood trees, their low canopy resulting from extreme climatic conditions.Gradually, the cloud forest takes over with its dense, shaded undergrowth of mosses, lichens, ferns, lianas and lesser trees and gives way to primeval tree ferns, bamboos and shrubs that peter out at the forest line above Whitfield Hall.

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