If you’ve been following my Instagram and Snapchat, you know I spent a nice chunk of June in Port Antonio, Jamaica. I celebrated my three year anniversary with my husband on June 9th. To commemorate the fact that our honeymoon took place in Fiji (a place called Taveuni Palms) we pick out a beach destination that reminds us of our first year of marriage.
This was my husband’s first time to Jamaica and my second visit to the beautiful country. My first visit was to the more touristy North-western side of the island (Montego Bay/Ocho Rios). This time, we arrived in Kingston with plans to drive up to the Northeastern portion: Port Antonio.
I know I’ve been all about professional goals and dreams, but this is all about personal goals. I’ve always enjoyed travel, so I’m tackling my “travel the world” dream one country at a time.
We booked a villa at the Trident Hotel, and while it has a helicopter landing pad, we wanted to experience some of the country by driving through its towns and villages.
Our chosen route spanned along the coast. If you’re flying into Kingston with a plan to drive to Portland Parish or Port Antonio, I’m going to advise you to take the route north and then east instead of driving out of Kingston to the east (toward St. Thomas) and then north.
We took both roads (east coastal road going to Port Antonio, and the road through mountains on our way back to Kingston). The road through the mountains is a bit rough and very winding, but it is in MUCH better shape than the coastal road.
It took us 3.5 hours (and we lost our passenger side mirror) along the coastal road, while on the way back it took us 2 hours. Both roads are the same distance. The coastal road also features fun road obstacles, like goats, cows, and potholes the size of the Grand Canyon.
The driving is dangerous, especially if you don’t know the roads, so your best bet would be to get an airport transfer or a taxi. A local who’s used to the routes will have a much better handle on things.
Trident is beautiful. Each villa opens up to a view of the ocean. Our suite had a very sizable infinity pool and a great outdoor deck. The bathroom opens up to an outdoor bathtub with a porthole to the sea.
I didn’t use the bathtub since a family of crabs decided to make themselves home there. I decided I would let them hang out in their rich habitat while I lounged on the deck instead.
The food was excellent, despite being EXTREMELY pricey. We enjoyed two of our dinners inside the private theater, which was a great touch to the experience.
Port Antonio is one of the safest destinations in Jamaica, so we made a habit of going out and exploring the town on a daily basis. My husband forgot his swimming trunks (this happens way too often). We strolled through the local clothing store which featured a healthy mix of locally made clothes with imports (like Supreme shorts with Balmain tags). He got himself a pair of locally made trunks for $5.
There are plenty of jerk shops along the roads, but if you’re in the area, make your way to Boston Bay where the jerk spice originated.
Since we drove through so many destinations and walked around the area fairly often, we kept more touristy activities to a minimum.
We made a pit stop at the Blue Lagoon (obligatory, I mean, it’s the Blue Lagoon). It’s a beautiful spot with plenty of photo opportunities. The water is COLD. But Jamaica is plenty hot, so it’s nice to cool off. It’s a pretty ironic switch-around from the other Blue Lagoon I visited last year in Iceland, where the water was warm, and the weather was brutally cold.
Frenchman’s Cove was a must on my list. The admission was $10 per person, and it was very well worth it. We spent half a day on the beach, and it never got crowded. At one point, there were only four other people around, not including the small restaurant staff and the lifeguards. The cold river water meets the warm ocean at the cove opening. So as you swim through, you get two very different temperatures swirling around you.
Don’t bother with heels. If you’re staying at a place like Trident, you’ll get plenty of privacy, so feel free to bring your best photo-op dresses and bathing suits for your photos by the pool and on the beach. I packed a pair of flats and embellished sandals. Most of the time, I wore the sneakers (Adidas Superstar) I arrived in from the airport.
When going outside your private residence, dress summery without any frills and bling. There’s no need to be flashy. Despite the super expensive resorts and hotels, the country’s economy is still developing, so there’s no need to pretend like you just arrived in Montecarlo.
I took one carry on bag and one large “personal item” bag with my camera, tripod, and two different lenses. I also packed my slave flash with a softbox but didn’t end up using it.
My skincare products mostly consisted of plenty of SPF lotions and great moisturizers. I opted for a Colleen Rothschild morning & evening moisturizer since it’s multipurpose and comes in a travel-friendly container. A little bit of the product is ULTRA moisturizing, so this was perfect and allowed me to keep things to a minimum.
Most of my photos were taken with the 24-105mm Canon lens (it’s my best friend). I processed everything in Lightroom, with a personal color preset that slightly reduces vibrancy and saturation. Most of the photos were taken by me or with a tripod. Some were lovingly done by my husband. 🙂
This was my first time trying to take a photo of the night sky. I’m fairly pleased with the results, though the noise level still bothers me. This particular photo’s ISO settings were actually fairly low (1600) and all the other photos were at a much higher ISO setting. The specific settings for the nighttime shot: ISO 1600, Focal length 24mm, 30sec at F4.