Port Antonio and the East Coast

Entertainment

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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Chill Out Beach Bar & Restaurant

Chill Out Beach Bar & Restaurant (10 a.m.10 p.m daily, US$530) is a popular spot on Long Bay Beach for a bite or a drink. Chill Out hosts dances on special occasions. Local dishes and excellent seafood are served.

In: Bars, Food

Marybelle's Pub on the Pier

Marybelle’s Pub on the Pier  (noon-11 p.m daily) serves drinks and finger food like burgers, pizza, salads, and fruit by the pool. The bar offers customers complimentary Wi-Fi.

In: Bars

Cristal Night Club

Cristal Night Club (open 5 p.mclose Wed. and Sat.) is Port Antonio’s newest club, reopening in March 2009 after years of dormancy. The club features Ladies’ Night 11 p.m2 a.m.Wednesday with free drinks all night for the ladies, and the Portland Day Rave starting at 5 p.m on Saturday, morphing into the club sessions that go through the night.

In: Nightclubs

Roof Club

Roof Club (10 p.m until the last person leaves, US$5) is open for Ladies’ Night on Thursdays, Crazy Saturdays, and occasional special events on Fridays. It’s the longest-standing nightclub in Port Antonio, open for the past 33 years. It generally plays dancehall, reggae, and R&B--in other words the perfect mix for bumping and grinding, or "wining," in local parlance. It’s an earthy, at times seedy, place with old wooden floors, a DJ booth on one side, and the bar opposite with neon lights and a disco ball hanging from the ceiling.

In: Nightclubs

Eye Candy

Eye Candy (Royal Mall, no phone, noon11 p.m weekdays, noon1 a.m.weekends) has a pool table and dominos.

In: Bars