Porti We Seh! Road trip to Port Antonio Jamaica

by Elena Lynch


Porti is a familiar word for the parish Portland, particularly the Capital Port Antonio. Port Antonio is quaint by nature but its hidden gems arent' just in the neatly tucked away boutique properties, the rafting adventures down the Rio Grande, not even by the famed Blue Hole, but in the culture that it exudes. 

Speaking to locals you get a sense of a quiet hum and buzz on certain

evenings that make this city come alive in its own way. From a street dance on Sundays and live music on Friday͛s at Gee Jam to Jazz at Mike's Supper Club, this tucked away little oasis has something for everyone

Day 1

Driving from Kingston through Junction road, the twists and turns might get the better of you but you won't be able to miss the lush greenery encapsulating you. Known to locals as a hidden paradise, Port Antonio offers visitors a Swiss Family Robinson type experience with rustic boutique hotels, kayaking around Monkey Island, snorkelling in the marine sanctuary at Alligator head. A four-day itinerary to Porti as its affectionately known could start with jumping into one of the Island Route's Mini routes Portland tours leaving from Ocho Rios. This would be an unforgettable full day of FUN. Mini routes Portland, boasts a sensory experience with their See, Touch, Taste and Drive. The Real Jamaican Experience which offers visitors a hands- on approach to exploring the island. With guided driver tours, you'll follow behind the driver ahead in your own Mini Cooper S from Ocho Rios and enjoy a full itinerary including visiting the famed James Bond beach, an immersion within a Maroon village, a historic plantation home dating back to the 1700's, and explore the hidden gem of Firefly House, once home to infamous pirate Sir Henry Morgan and later on the actor and playwright Sir Noel Coward.

The perfect road trip to Port Antonio Jamaica.

Day 2

 A day at the beach with scrumptious local delights at Winifred Beach. Miss Cynthia who does a great King Fish and Ackee and Saltfish, will take care of you properly.  Craving scotch bonnet and jerk chicken ...look no further than Long Bay Beach or better yet head straight to Jerk's historical beginnings at the famed Boston Bay. 

There you'll enjoy the quintessential Jerk experience. Watch as carefully marinated chicken and pork are barbecued to perfection. The succulent dishes are pre-chopped for easy street side indulging and served in foil packages normally accompanied with a slice of hardo bread (another local specialty) and spicy ketchup. Wash down with a Red Stripe beer or local soda of choice and you have a sensory overload experience off of your bucket list. Ending Day 2 in Port Antonio ideally on a Friday you can head over for drinks at Gee Jam for Live Music night. 

The music studio/ Restaurant/ Boutique hotel has hosted the likes of No Doubt, Cee Lo, India Irie, Amy Winehouse, Maroon 5 and Beyoncé. Kick back and soak into the vibe. It ͛s officially time to disconnect.

Day 3

Saturday morning could start with a hike up Reach falls and a refreshing dip at any one of the numerous fresh water pools. Stop by Woody's for a homemade burger en route back to town and if you feel for a little breeze out and sea bath as they say, Frenchman's Cove is the shot. Enjoy a refreshing lazy river swim in the cove. The tantalizing reggae beats will keep you Irie on the beach captivated by the surf . Wrap up your day with a captivating dinner at Mike's Super Club within the most breath-taking Trident hotel. Their live jazz band during dinner is a blast from the past with their Ferrari red baby grand.

Day 4

Sunday would start bright and early with a Rio Grande rafting adventure. Rafters Rest office can organize your rafting adventure and will have Belinda who cooks on the riverside to organize your lunch beforehand. The tranquil excursion lasts about three hours and feel free to bring music, snacks and drinks and don't forget a small tip for your raft captain. From there we would suggest hitting the Sunday evening street dance. A hit on the local social calendar you'll be sure to interface with a kaleidoscope of eclectic personalities. Savour the experience; it ͛s a one in a lifetime kind of vibe. Locals will be able to direct you and when in doubt just listen for the intoxicating beats of dancehall and reggae in the heart of town. Day 4 could also be a low key day, relaxing by Blue Hole, kayaking around Monkey Island and taking in some sun and underwater life in the Marine Sanctuary protected by the Alligator Head Foundation ͛s Marine Lab. Opening in March 2018, Non-Motorized watersports will be offered within their marine sanctuary headed up by Dr. Dayne Buddo. Among the options will be kayaking, paddle boarding, glass bottom boat rides of their beautiful coral reef restoration projects, and scuba diving will also be available. In need of some pampering head back to the Trident and indulge in any of their a la carte spa services. Their oriental sensation body treatment is particularly memorable with 

a full body exfoliation with a Moroccan pumice stone and guests are given a complimentary sample to take home and enjoy. 

If you want - buck your toe as we say in Jamaica (when you end up staying somewhere longer than intended), then head out to Boston Bay and hide away at the boutique property Great Huts. Paradise on the edge, this eco resort set in a jungle landscape is perched in the cliffs overlooking the Eastern Caribbean Sea. Romantics, independent travellers and executives all seem to find the same much needed disconnect from the outside world at their fingertips. They pride themselves on providing their guests with warmth, balance and most importantly in their estimation is that everyone finds inspiration.