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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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?