Ahh.. finally I got around to visiting Jamaica’s most western parish. Bluefields Beach in Bluefields, Westmoreland is an easy-to-find stop along the main road which links the St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland parishes. A decent sized beach, Bluefields is a victim of the beach erosion which seems to be plaguing many of our public beaches. There are also no watersports available at this one either, but it’s worth a quick pick-me-upper for someone craving some waves and salty air in this side of the island, or in transit to other south or west coast destinations.
Driving to the Westmoreland parish takes you through the beautiful Holland Bamboo Avenue, a 4km-long stretch joining Lacovia and Middle Quarters in St. Elizabeth. Here, giant bamboo plants tower above the road and cross in the middle to form a shady green tunnel. The avenue was established in the 17th century by the owners of the Holland Estate to provide shade for travelers and to protect the road from erosion. Other bamboo avenues exist in Jamaica, but this one is by far the longest and the only one which covers a major road. How instagrammable!
The slip road for Bluefields is on the left about 20 minutes after entering the Westmoreland parish, and marked by a sign visible from the main road. Ample parking is available, as are bathrooms, changing rooms and showers at a cost of JM$100 and $50 (adult and child prices respectively), albeit rundown and unlit. If you choose not to use their facilities at all, the beach is completely free of charge. Adjacent to the public beach are the Bluefields Villas. There’s a sign marked “Private property. Reserved for guests” attempting to deter patrons from crossing over to the coastline in front of the resort, but there’s no physical barrier nor anyone telling you not to cross the invisible border.
The beach is very narrow and about 1 km long. It’s beautiful with powdery soft white sand but is covered by quite a few stones (thankfully smooth!). Flanking the beach are big shady trees offering respite to the scorching hot 34°C Jamaican summer sunshine and in the background are the lovely omnipresent rolling Jamaican mountains.
There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.
Bluefields is one of the oldest settled areas in Jamaica, established by the Spanish in the 1600s. After the British captured Jamaica, the town’s population dwindled but the bay was still used mainly by pirates. Nowadays, the community is still used by avid seafarers to launch legitimate (albeit not as exciting) fishing expeditions. In spite of its intriguing history, most Jamaicans only associate Bluefields with this beach as it’s a popular destination for locals on weekends and public holidays.
I’ll admit I’m a bit of a beach snob. I’ve visited enough local beaches to know we have way better ones than Bluefields Beach, so I’ll rate it a humble three stars, ☆☆☆. After wading and splashing around a bit, there really isn’t anything to do but it’s a decent stretch of free coastline in this side of the island.
Check out some other free Jamaican beaches. 🇯🇲
- Cardiff Hall (or Flavour’s) Beach in Runaway Bay, St. Ann
- Dead End Beach in Montego Bay, St. James
- Salem Beach, also in Runaway Bay, St. Ann.
‘Til next time, ✌🏽.