6 Unique Things to do in Portland Jamaica


A Travel Guide for Portland, Jamaica


If you’re looking for an alternative to Montego Bay and prefer a relaxed, unplugged getaway, head to Portland on Jamaica’s northeast coast. This parish offers simplicity, sandy beaches and lots of fun!

We spent 1 week in Portland exploring a bit of downtown Kingston and Port Antonio and made plenty of time to explore Jamaica’s wonderful waterfalls and beaches – from rafting down the Rio Grande to swinging around Frenchman’s Cove.

Read on for the absolute must do activities and beautiful places in Portland, Jamaica!


Read more: Yah Man: These are the Best Hotels in Jamaica




6 Incredibly Relaxing Things to Do in Portland Jamaica



1. Raft Down the Rio Grande (Jamaica)


This isn’t your typical rafting experience! For one, the rafts are made out of actual bamboo which was a unique surprise. Each long raft sits 2 plus the raft captain and the ride down Jamaica’s rio grande is quite smooth and relaxing.

I was expecting grand rapids and it’s definitely not that – instead, go with a friend, grab a beer from the floating raft bar and enjoy the afternoon! You can dip your toes in the refreshingly cold waters or stop for a swim if you like.

P.S. If you do want a turbo charged rafting experience, you’ll want to head to Jamaica’s Rio Bueno. Learn more here.

Sher’s Tip: The entire raft ride down the rio grande is about 2 hours long and there’s little shade so make sure to put on sunscreen beforehand! This one is my all time favorite – non tacky, high spf protection and travel size friendly.



2. Explore the Blue Lagoon


Equally beautiful is Jamaica’s Blue Lagoon where you can hire a local to sail you around the bay. The waters are even more stunning than on the Rio Grande and the ride is relaxing although maybe a little more standard. We just stopped here for a photo opp as we were a bit tired after the rafting ride.

You can book a combo Blue Lagoon and Rio Grande Jamaica tour here.



3. Swim and Swing in Frenchman’s Cove


This is probably my number 1 must do when in Port Antonio! Frenchman’s Cove is one of the most stunning sheltered beaches I’ve ever been to. The mouth of the cove has strong waves so kids will love it and parents can take shelter in the quiet bay. The water is a stunning blue green and refreshingly cold for a dip. If you just want to relax, swing on one of the (many!) swings in the cove and have a relaxing beach day.


Sher’s Tip: Get here early to avoid the crowds. The water is generally calm in the inner section but certain areas can be deep with a strong current near some of the swings. Grab a Red Stripe, kick back and relax!



4. Have Drinks at Jamaica’s Trident Hotel


The Trident Hotel is a luxurious, 5 star property in Portland, Jamaica with modern suites, ocean front views and its own private movie theater. You might have seen on my Snapchat that I was seriously swooning over the decor in this place! We got drinks here, explored the property and then headed over to nearby Trident Castle for an amazing dinner.

Check room rates on Booking.com | Read reviews on TripAdvisor


5. Have Dinner at the Mocking Bird Hill Hotel


The Mockingbird prides itself on fresh ingredients and serves a daily changing dinner menu. Everything we ate here was absolutely outstanding and if you are looking for a true eco-resort experience, the Hotel Mocking Bird Hill has a unique ambiance all it’s own.

Check room rates on Booking.com | Read reviews on TripAdvisor



6. Head to the Blue Mountains


If you’re a fellow coffee addict (you can find all my go-to NYC coffee shops here) then heading up to the Blue Mountains is a must do while in Kingston! The drive takes at least 1 hour as the path upwards is windy but the cool, refreshing mountain air makes for a great change in scenery.

We were fortunate to be invited into the home of a couple who produces coffee beans for Blue Mountain and got to learn about the roasting and growing process. You can also book a day trip tour here.

Sher’s Tip: A great hotel to stay in in downtown Kingston is the Spanish Court hotel. Comfy beds, spacious rooms and a great on site restaurant. You can check rates here or read further reviews on TripAdvisor.


And that’s it! How we spent a blissful week in Jamaica.


 You might also like: 


What to Pack for Jamaica

6 Incredible Things to do in Samana, the Dominican Republic

5 Unbelievable Samana Hotels in the Dominican Republic



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This post is written in partnership with the Jamaica Tourism Board. All opinions from the trip are my own. Curious about what it’s like to cruise in the Bahamas?

AubrieJanuary 7, 2017 - 1:41 pm

This place looks so beautiful!

SherJanuary 7, 2017 - 3:40 pm

Thanks for stopping by Aubrie!

[…] I just returned from Jamaica last month and it was hot, hot, hot! I visited Kingston and Port Antonio in 5 days, 4 nights on a relaxing getaway focused on beautiful natural sights like Frenchman’s Cove, the Blue Lagoon and the coffee-heavy Blue Mountains. You can read more about my trip itinerary and the top sights I recommend in this post, Rafting on the Rio Grande and Other Must Do Things in Portland, Jamaica. […]

Heather @ Country Life, City WifeJanuary 17, 2017 - 12:31 pm

I have spent a lot of time in Jamaica! I’m from Miami originally and my mom used to work for the airlines, so my friends and I would go on buddy passes then pool our money together in college to get nice suites! Back then Jamaica was really cheap, too LOL. A great list you have here. Thanks for bringing me back to some good memories.

HeatherJanuary 17, 2017 - 12:44 pm

Lots of beautiful sites to see. I have never been to Jamaica. People say it’s dangerous so I never put it on my list.. Rarely have I heard about this side of the story. My first stop would be to enjoy the delicious fare.

kristi@ishouldbemoppingthefloorJanuary 17, 2017 - 2:29 pm

My teenage son was just saying how he wanted to see Jamaica one day soon! I can’t wait to show him your travel guide. This may be the start of our summer vacation planning. Loving the Swim & Swing…looks like a piece of heaven right there! Thanks for sharing.

Kathy MyersJanuary 17, 2017 - 3:59 pm

You are so lucky, this place looks amazing. I can’t imagine ever wanted to leave. Those pics are to die for! It looks like somewhere I would want to travel.

Stephanie JeannotJanuary 17, 2017 - 7:19 pm

Your photos make Portland, Jamaica seem like such a luxurious place. I have been to a few places in the Caribbean but have yet to explore Jamaica and would really like to. Especially the Lagoon. Your photo of it looks so nice and comforting. I can tell that you had a great time.

KristyJanuary 18, 2017 - 10:29 am

I have always wanted to take a trip to Jamaica, the views and beaches are amazing. How neat to be able to float down the river on a bamboo raft. I’ll defintely keep your travel guide in mind when we plan our trip!

EchoJanuary 18, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Can I do all 6 of these please?! Wow, what a gorgeous and amazing place. I definitely would mind spending some time in the blue lagoon or swinging in the cove or anywhere in Portland, Jamaica really! Wow!

AdrienneJanuary 21, 2017 - 6:08 pm

That place looks beautiful and your photos are great! I’m always looking for new places to travel to in the Caribbean. Jamaica is definitely on my travel list. Thanks for sharing!

[…] 6 Amazing Things to Do in Port Antonio | What to Pack for Jamaica […]

[…] I’ve spent virtually all of December down south in the Caribbean (first on a work trip to Jamaica, then for some relaxation in Tulum, followed by my cousin’s wedding in Cancun) so my skin is […]

Danielle WilsonFebruary 12, 2017 - 10:25 pm

I wish I could be teleported right there, right now especially after all of this snow. My husband’s family is from Jamaica but we’ve never gone as a family. I love Blue Mountain coffee and would relish in enjoying a cup while taking in those stunning views.

MechealMarch 4, 2017 - 4:07 pm

My country is not a dangerous place, just like anywhere else we have our problems. But we are a friendly people, we entertain and welcome our visitors. Come you will fall in love, but best of all you will see for yourself a wonderful place and loving people.

DelaineMarch 25, 2017 - 8:11 pm

I am from Jamaica and I haven’t done half of these as yet. It is however, beautiful to see my country being enjoyed all over.

Jhunelle J ♦ www.simplylocal.lifeNovember 2, 2017 - 10:16 am

All great suggestions for 1 of our most beautiful parishes! The renowned Boston Jerk Centre, Reach Falls, Somerset Falls are other few popular Portland spots.

[…] worthwhile coffee shops if you need a break! Try Alto Grande, a premium bean ranking up there with Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee and Hawaii’s Kona beans. If you don’t want to carry it home, no worries you can buy it here on […]

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