Jamaica: Between Kingston and Port Antonio
Sun, sand beaches and palmtrees… we are expecting a relaxing week of farniente. Looking back at our Jamaican experience…
This post is also available in: Français (French)
Arriving in Kingston by night, we are looking forward to discovering this beautiful country as we are going straight, or trying to go straight to our hotel after getting our rental car. Apart from the main road, the streets of the capital are very quiet, not so well-lit and a lot of them don’t even have a name. We end up driving for several hours looking for the hotel, supposedly 10 minutes away from the airport, through creepy streets and even on a motorway for a while. We eventually find someone who knows our hotel and finally leads us to it, for a tip of course, that’s how it works here.
Day 1 – Priority, GPS! And we’re ready to hit the road to Port Antonio, a small town on the other side of the island, on the north coast. Simon is slowly getting used to driving on the left side of the road but not so much to the locals’ way of driving, who pass us at 50mph on narrow and bad mountain roads. We’re not missing a bit of the beautiful tropical landscapes and greenery that surround us all along the way.
In Port Antonio, even the GPS is of little help to find the guesthouse. There are very few tourists in this small town and locals quickly notice us. One of them eventually takes us to the Finjam, held by a Finnish woman known as “the white lady”.
We just have the time to take a short walk through the city before the sun goes down, and we quickly understand that our relationship with the locals will be purely commercial.
Day 2 – To start the day off, the owner offers to cook a typical breakfast: toast, sweet potato, onions and cabbage mix with the traditional saltfish and acke, a fruit that can be toxic if it’s not properly prepared.
We take some time to enjoy the city a bit before heading to the Reach Falls. The entrance is 10 USD per person plus a tip for the guide who shows us the place and all its secrets. He explains that we won’t be able to go swim in the rivers that leads to the falls because of the current due to the heavy rain of the past few days, which doesn’t keep us from making the most of the natural pool down the falls.
Day 3 – We decide to visit the local market (where we are the only tourists!) to get some souvenirs and famous coffee from the Blue Mountain.
Then we go discover the private Frenchman’s Cove beach (10 USD), a nice beach surrounded by tropical greenery and where we’re finally not the only tourists.
Day 4 – After waking up with the rooster crow like every morning here, we enjoy a walk in the completely deserted streets of Port Antonio, usually crowded. There is apparently not much going on in the center on a Sunday.
We spend the rest of the guesthouse because of the endless tropical rain that even surprises the locals at the time of the year.
Day 5 – We’re finally able to go outside again despite a few rain showers. We drive to the nice restaurant of the Mocking Bird Hill hotel outside the city center and surprisingly completely empty. We enjoy the most beautiful nature and sea views.
Even if we are the only clients, we stay there for a good while. Jamaicans take their time as usual, relaxed in all situations, “Yeah man”.
A few showers discourage us to go much farther as we planned so we decide to go back to the Frenchman’s Cove beach nearby where we spend the afternoon. We even have the beach to ourselves.
Day 6 – We drive back to Kingston before flying back to Texas the next morning. The capital was spared by the rain and we really feel like in summer. Following the recommendations of the hostel’s staff, we walk to the Grog Shoppe Restaurant at the Devon House, a beautiful property that also has a bakery and a great ice cream shop among others.