A former banana-port town on Jamaica’s northwest coast, sleepy Port Antonio is an off-the-beaten-path destination. Away from the busier Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Port Antonio is marked by craggy shorelines and hilly jungle rife with rivers and lagoons. It’s clear why Errol Flynn, aka Tarzan, built a Hollywood escape here in the 1940s.
There are many ways to experience Port Antonio, the capital of Portland Parish, either independently or during half-day or full-day tours from Ocho Rios, Negril, or Kingston. The laid-back town center holds its own interest, with lovely Georgian-era buildings leading to a stretch of shore immortalized in the 1980s film The Blue Lagoon. Nature adventures abound, with options including floating on a bamboo raft down the jungle-fringed Rio Grande to Monkey Island; lunching at a rustic riverside restaurant famous for its award-winning Jamaican dishes; sunbathing at secluded Bikini Beach; driving along the coast past Firefly, Noël Coward’s estate; and of course, swimming in the magical waters of the Blue Lagoon.
Typically tours include hotel pickup and drop-off, local guides, entrance fees, and lunch. Alcoholic beverages, gratuities, and additional activities may be extra; check each tour for specific details.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Port Antonio is ideal for outdoor adventurers and those seeking a day trip from the more popular tourist centers of Jamaica.
- Remember to bring a camera, sun protection, towel, swimwear, water shoes, and cash in small denominations. A change of clothes and a spare bag for wet clothing might come in handy too.
- Rafting activities are not recommended for travelers with back, motion sickness, or mobility issues.
How to Get There
Port Antonio is a 2-hour drive from Kingston Norman Manley International Airport. Private charter flights are available from Kingston to Port Antonio.
When to Get There
Port Antonio and the nearby attractions are year-round destinations, with most visitors coming during the high-season winter months.
For Lovers of Nightlife
If you’re looking for some Jamaican groove along with nature encounters and adventure, you’ve come to the right place. From Ochos Rios, tours include a stop at the Blue Lagoon for a guided boat ride around the waterfront and a swim at Frenchman’s Cove, a natural ocean inlet protected by rugged cliffs. All this activity prepares you for a proper island jam at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville to feast on jerk chicken, margaritas, and reggae music records spun by local DJs.