Port Antonio and the East Coast

Tours

The parishes of Portland and St. Thomas form Jamaica’s easternmost region and contain the island’s least exploited natural treasures. A quiet town in the center of Portland’s coast affectionately known as "Portie," Port Antonio boasts some of Jamaica’s most secluded beaches among a handful of other stunning natural wonders.

The world-famous Blue Hole, or Blue Lagoon, where ice-cold spring water mixes with the warm waves lapping in from the sea, is surreal beyond measure and reason in itself to visit the region.

Navy Island, an abandoned little paradise in the middle of Port Antonio's twin harbors, is surrounded by coral reefs and sand bars. Steep, lush hills rise from a coastline dotted with beaches, inlets, and mangroves. Reach Falls is a nature lover's paradise, where local guides take visitors by the hand along trails that only they can see through the middle of the river. In Bath, natural hot springs have a mineral composition that is said to cure almost any ailment. When one of these destinations occupies top priority on your daily agenda, life just seems to flow at the right speed. Perhaps the languid pace of this side of the island is just meant to be, and as a visitor you won't be sorry for the lack of crowds.

Located about 65 kilometers from Morant Bay around the eastern flank of the John Crow Mountains and about 95 kilometers east of Port Maria, Port Antonio is the largest town in Portland, and the parish capital. The fact that the area attracts only a minute fraction of the three million or so visitors Jamaica gets each year is either the way it should be, or a crying shame, depending on whom you ask. Those who depend on the tourist trade complain the area is not marketed to its potential, while it is said those who own the area's most extravagant private homes prefer it just the way it is.

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Barrett Adventures

Many travelers find letting a tour operator take care of the driving is the easiest, most hassle-free way to get around the island. One of the most dependable and versatile tour companies on the island is Barrett Adventures. Barrett can pick you up from any point on the island, getting off the beaten path more often than any other tour company in Jamaica. Barrett also books many of the best budget accommodation options across the island, including a few spots in the Blue Mountains.

 

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Rio Grande Rafting

Rio Grande Rafting (9 a.m.4 p.m daily, US$72/raft) is a much-touted attraction controlled by the Tourism Product Development Corporation, operating along the banks of the wide and gentle Rio Grande River. Eighty-three raft captains compete fiercely for clients, who enjoy the sedate relaxation of a 2.5-hour ride down the river on long bamboo rafts. To reach the start of the ride, take Breastworks Road from Port Antonio, keep right on Wayne Road in Breastworks past Fellowship, and keep right following the signs to Berridale. The raft ride ends in St.

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