6 Fun Things To Do in Portland, Jamaica

Considered by many to be the prettiest of the island’s 14 parishes, Portland, Jamaica is certainly the greenest due to above average rainfall compared to the other parts of the island. What really makes this area stand out though is the laid-back vibe and beautiful beaches.

Fun Things to Do in Portland, Jamaica

1 – The Blue Lagoon

This is a place of outstanding natural beauty, and if it looks familiar to you that’s because it was featured in the film of the same name starring Brooke Shields. It actually used to be called Blue Hole but the name was changed to match the movie. The colour of the water varies from a lush green to turquoise and deep blue depending on the light and the time of day. Another thing that makes this place so special is the mix of freshwater from streams and salt water from the sea. It means that there are pockets of hot water from the Caribbean sea and cold water from the springs, making it a fun experience to swim in.

The Blue Lagoon is a stunning place to swim in Portland, Jamaica
2 – Dragon Bay

Another famous movie was shot here – Cocktail with Tom Cruise. The place where he learned how to mix drinks in the film is called Dragon Bay Resort and was once a luxurious hotel. It was damaged in a hurricane and remained closed for several years but is going to reopen as a new concept hotel in 2019. You can get a good look at Dragon Bay on a boat tour of the Blue Lagoon.

The bar from the film Cocktail starring Com Cruise in Portland Jamaica
3 – Frenchman’s Cove

This another must-see if you’re visiting Portland. This famous beach became popular in the 1960s when Garfield Weston, the creator of Fortnum and Mason and Selfridges in London, built a hotel with 18 villas. These are still a hit with stars today, such as a famous local runner ;-). Mango trees are dotted around the edges of the beach and there are changing rooms as well as a restaurant.

Frenchman's Cove, one of the most beautiful places in Jamaica
The rope swings are a lot of fun too! There’s an entry fee of $10 per day which seems pretty reasonable, given the setting and amenities.

The rope swing at Frenchman's Cove, one of the best places in Portland, Jamaica
If you’re cheeky like me, ask the lifeguard if you can borrow his chair for a minute…

Colourful lifeguard's chair at Frenchman's Cove, Portland, Jamaica
4 – Errol Flynn Marina, Port Antonio

The capital of Portland is Port Antonio, and it’s the island’s third largest port from which bananas and coconuts are shipped. Errol Flynn Marina is a charming harbour that’s the perfect place for a stroll. The famous actor was also known for his eye for the ladies, yet he described this place as “more beautiful than any woman I have ever seen”. Erroll Flynn was passionate about sailing throughout his life, and he first visited Jamaica in 1942. He and his third wife Patrice moved to Jamaica in 1950, where he owned Navy Island and popularized rafting on the Rio Grande.

Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Jamaica
5 – Boston, the home of Jamaica jerk

The small village of Boston, Portland is the birthplace of Jamaica jerk. It’s thought that the jerk pits used to cook this spicy dish were originally a way for escaped slaves to cook without smoke being detected by potential captors. These days, Boston is a good spot to find authentic jerk chicken, pork, beef, goat and fish. So why is it so spicy? It’s basically down to the Scotch Bonnet Pepper used in the cooking, which is 40 times hotter than a jalapeno!

Try the jerk chicken in Boston, Portland, Jamaica
It’s one of the most iconic Jamaican food dishes and popular worldwide. The annual Boston Jerkfest is held in June and features a cook-off, rum and beer tastings as well as live music.

Jamaica jerk chicken - nice and spicy!
6 – I-Scream

After all that spice, you might want something a bit cooling ;-). Head to I-Scream, in a quaint building on Portland Marina – the ice cream is made using the finest quality ingredients and there are some delicious flavours.

iScream from Port Antonio Jamaica
Weather in Portland, Jamaica

It’s always quite warm in Portland, with temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius throughout the year, although it can be quite rainy. The driest month is generally March, whereas October is the wettest with May and June having frequent downpours.

Hotels in Portland, Jamaica

Kanopi House is an intimate collection of treehouses nestled in six acres of land, just outside Port Antonio. It overlooks a quiet bay with direct access to the Blue Lagoon. This means that guests can enter the lagoon in peace rather than via the crowded general access section. The treehouses themselves are surprisingly large and have an en-suite bathroom. I have to admit this was my first question when I found out we were staying here! Some of the treehouses, like Upper Deck where we stayed, also have a separate kitchenette. They’re all equipped with air-con although you could just choose to use the atmospheric ceiling fans instead. Upper Deck is the highest treehouse on the property and the largest at 423 square feet.

Tropical decor at Kanopi House in Jamaica
I’m sure some of you are wondering about creepy crawlies as I got asked this question a lot on Instagram. As luck would have it, there aren’t many in Jamaica and you won’t see spiders or snakes. The most you might see is a few small bugs if you don’t close your shutters at night and leave the light on. The service at Kanopi House is second to none and while you’re dining in the main treehouse, someone will come and light an anti-mosquito coil. They also cleaned our treehouse whilst we were at breakfast which was impressive.

The main treehouse is a lovely spot for lounging on the daybeds and dining, and is a great example of tropical decor done tastefully. Kanopi House is definitely one of the best Port Antonio hotels and staying here is great fun. Geejam hotel is also popular for its rock star vibe and The Trident Hotel is another popular choice for its oceanfront location.

Tropical interior at Kanopi House, a treehouse hotel in Port Antonio, Jamaica
We hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Portland attractions, and for a closer look at the island’s many attractions, check out our vlog:

We’ll leave you with another quote from Errol Flynn:

“My dream of happiness: A quiet spot by the Jamaican seashore looking out at the activity in the ocean, hearing the wind sob with the beauty and the tragedy of everything. Looking out over nine miles of ocean, hearing some happy laughter near-by. Sitting under an almond tree, with the leaf spread over me like an umbrella.”

6 Fun Things to Do in Portland, Jamaica

  • Would be amazing to go there for a honeymoon the beaches looks so inviting

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

    • Suze

      You’re right, Candice, it would make the perfect honeymoon destination

  • I really want to visit Jamaica now! Kanopi House looks so cute!

    • Suze

      It was my favourite hotel, really intimate and relaxed!

  • Portland looks like paradise! I can’t believe those beaches (and I so want to go to the Blue Lagoon, what a movie!) Bet those ice creams were sorely needed in those warm climes. x

    Tamsin | A Certain Adventure

    • Suze

      Ha ha, it was quite a movie wasn’t it! The ice cream was delicious, really cooled us down

  • You have me totally wanderlusting now Suze! I LOVE Cocktail!! I haven’t seen it in a while but I really do love that film and I had no idea it was filmed in Dragon Bay – even more of a reason to visit Jamaica to reminisce and swoon after the 1980s Tom Cruise!

    • Suze

      I know, makes me want to watch Cocktail all over again, whilst drinking a cocktail or two!

  • Oh my goodness, I am getting serious honeymoon inspiration right now! I think we’re set on Peru but maybe I can persuade Michele to swing by Jamaica for a few nights “on the way home”?? xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • Suze

      Ooh you really should, Lucy! There’s something very special about the beaches and the food is great too

  • You look like you had so much fun in a place that looks like paradise! Gorgeous photos as usual!

  • Swimming at the Blue Lagoon sounds like something utterly dreamy from a film (perhaps it is and that’s where I’ve got the idea from? haha). Beautifully inspiring post, Suze!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

  • Awestruck! There are so many wonderful places I’m yet to see. Portland is one of them!

  • The Blue Lagoon was one of the first films I remember watching! Still looks amazing and clear!
    And I do love a good jerk chicken and would love to try the authentic ones in Boston!

  • Evie Jones

    I have pure holiday envy right now. Some of these places are just gorgeous. I’ve been looking around for some help on a question I have regarding luxury travel. I hope you don’t mind me asking but I’ve actually been looking for some places to visit on our honeymoon as I’m getting married next year. Jamaica is actually one of them. I’ve been looking at this Luxury Brand website, especially the Caribbean page berkeleytravel.co.uk/location/caribbean/ and they specialise in luxury hotels and exotic retreats. I’d love to know if anyone has worked with them before or booked their holiday through them. I’ve heard amazing things 🙂 Thanks for sharing this blog post, I’m definitely telling the hubby we have to try all of these at some point 😉

  • Amy-Anne Williams

    If I ever visit I’ll be sure to check out these places! It looks like such a wonderful place, and those photos are so gorgeous. I’m definitely feeling super jealous right now!

    Little Moon Elephant

  • Jamaica looks like a gorgeous place to visit! How funny that they changed the name from Blue Hole to Blue Lagoon after the movie 🙂

    Miriam x

  • Hayley Rubery

    Oh Suze, this post has killed me with wanderlust – I’m dying to visit Jamaica and have been for quite some time now, I’ve heard such amazing things! That Blue Lagoon looks STUNNING!

    Hayley xo


  • Portland looks so beautiful, I’m not sure all the spicy food would suit my digestion. The picture of you on the swing is lovely Lucy x