Port Antonio is located at the north east corner of the island of Jamaica. It is an extraordinary harbor located in an incredible country. Cruising boats have avoided Jamaica due to its reputation for violence, but the truth is that most of the violence that takes place in Jamaica, happens in the capital of Kingston in the ghettos. And it happens between Jamaicans. Thousands of tourists arrive daily by cruise ship and also by airplane to stay in the many hotels without any difficulty.
If you choose Jamaica as a cruising destination, in most cases your point of entry will be Port Antonio. As you make landfall you will see first the John Crow and Blue Mountains of Jamaica in all of their majesty. And you will see the Folly Lighthouse welcoming you. Port Antonio, is a secure harbor with wonderful protected anchoring as well as the new Errol Flynn marina and boatyard. The facilities are owned and managed by the Jamaica Port Authority and supervised under the capable hands of Dale Westin. Clearing in at the marina is straightforward and there is no fee. You will find the marina very welcoming and everyone anxious to please. Port Antonio allows one to access extraordinary beaches or to go river rafting. There is an open market where you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are so varied and so colorful as to have you believe they are artificial. The same market also has a crafts fair which you will find interesting and worthwhile. And the best thing you will find in the marketplace is Jamaican smiles.
Jamaica is one of the larger islands in the Caribbean and has one of the highest mountain ranges. At night, no matter how hot the day has been, cool air slides down the mountains and will provide you with free air conditioning.
Jamaican culture is distinct and made up of many different cultures that have been integrated into the island. But make no mistake: Jamaica is the center of Afro Culture in the Caribbean. The art, the colorful clothing, and the music quickly make you aware that you are in a very foreign and exotic place. Reggae may not be your favorite but it is the pulse of the island and before long you will come to understand its beat and tempo. Were it not for Bob Marley, it would have remained a ‘Jamaican Thing’, but he launched it onto the world stage.
One of the most interesting things you can do is visit the Bob Marley museum in Kingston and come to understand better what its message is. Bob Marley was a Rastafarian and you will come to understand what that means, too. Lest it be overlooked, if you like food, Jamaica will not let you down. There is a wide diversity to sample, but Jerk Pork and Jerk Chicken as well as the national dish of Salt Fish and Ackee should not be missed. And if you like beer, Red Stripe is something out of the ordinary.
If you come to Jamaica from the east, you will have the current and the wind with you. Once you are in Port Antonio you can decide which coast you want to cruise. However, if you plan both coasts, it is usually best to go counter clockwise. There are so many harbors and anchorages to choose from, each distinct. Montego Bay at the northwest corner of the island is exceptional, as is Negril Bay on the west side of the island. Black River on the south west side of the island is Jamaica’s longest river. What makes it remarkable is it is home to birds of all types and crocodiles aplenty as well. Put your boat at the dock at the mouth of the river, and take one of the many river tours that are offered. If you like nature then you will be pleased beyond description.