Blue Lagoon & Monkey Island Tour, Portland

Blue Lagoon is located in Port Antonio, a quaint picturesque town in Portland which hasn’t been hit with mass-tourism like our other resort towns. Portland is my favourite parish in Jamaica because literally around every curve is a beautiful beach, cay, river or waterfall waiting to be discovered. Does Blue Lagoon look or sound familiar? Well, there may be a reason for that. Brook Shields’ movie by the same name Blue Lagoon (1980) was filmed in Jamaica, and it’s also a popular spot used in filming numerous Jamaican music videos. This coastal lagoon shrouded by thick lush greenery is rumoured to be bottomless in Jamaican folklore but is actually 65m (210ft.) deep at its deepest point, and its colour ranges from a deep mesmerizing royal blue to shimmering turquoise depending on the way the light hits its surface throughout the day.

Related: 22 photos which show why Portland is Jamaica’s most beautiful parish

An Aside: Off-the-beaten-path adventures are my favourites and giving directions to find those gems are the reason I started this blog. Every place has a story and I’m always happy to tell it. However, it’s my personal mission to explore every nook and cranny of my island home worth seeing and there are so many popular touristy spots I haven’t seen before. Thus, my adventures take me to touristy spots too. Here’s one I know you’re going to love reading about since dozens of you voted for this spot as the next blog post I should write. Travel articles are near and dear to my heart as they stay true to the original purpose of my blog Adventures from Elle.

Getting There

Coming from Kingston, Blue Lagoon is best approached from the Junction main road which links the Saint Andrew and Saint Mary parishes. This scenic road winds through the beautiful Wag Water River valley, and if time permits, stop by the Castleton Botanical Garden for a quick river dip and refreshment. Junction is currently undergoing major road work so expect some delays but think about how much faster travelling to our favourite parish will be with a wider road and better-paved surface after completion. A two hour and a half drive is really too long considering we’re located in the same county, so I’m excited to think that my favourite parish may soon become more accessible.

Castleton Gardens’ Entrance along the Junction main road

Take the second exit at the roundabout which marks the end of the Junction roadway, and it’s a straight road from there until Port Antonio. If you didn’t already stop for refreshments, consider stopping by the Portland Jerk Centre on Harbour Street. They have a wide variety of meal options and their jerk is great, maybe not as good as Boston Jerk Centre which is 30 minutes’ away, but is still very delicious. Portland is home to Jamaica’s best jerk!

After leaving the Port Antonio town centre, look out for the sign and left turn to the Blue Lagoon after passing San San Beach. Google Maps may make you miss this left turn if you rely solely on it for directions. Like many Jamaican tourist hotspots, you’ll likely meet someone by the top of the road trying to persuade you to choose their tour over the next guy’s once you didn’t visit as part of an organized tour group, but don’t be alarmed. They’re usually quite harmless, and if their price seems too much at first, you can bargain or choose someone else. My boat tour costed $3,000JMD per person. Send me a DM/e-mail if you’d like my boat captain or guide’s contact numbers.

The Lagoon Tour

The lagoon can be explored by boat or raft and there are pros and cons of each.

Boat

  • Pro: You get to sail further out as the boat is easier to navigate over the waves, faster, cheaper, can hold more people.
  • Con: Not as ‘IG-worthy’ (lol, sorry. That is a valid con for many. *sheepish grin*).

Raft

  • Pro: Romantic, great for taking pictures
  • Con: Slower means of travel, can’t sail as far out, more expensive (averages $4,000jmd per person), can only carry 1-2 persons.

My boyfriend and I had actually planned to take the raft– well I planned to take the raft.. he found it a waste of money, but ended up getting his wish as the rafts were all booked out and we decided to go ahead with a boat tour rather than wait an hour for a raft to become free. Thus, if taking the raft is very important to you, I’d suggest you call and book it in advance. Nonetheless, you can still pose on the raft afterwards for free, ha!

Anyhow, the boat tour was amazing! My captain Mr. Benton was very knowledgeable of the Port Antonio coastline, pointing out its luxury villas and the millionaires and mega-companies which own them. There’s a large one currently under construction. He could also name several international celebrities who have rented the villas for vacation over the years.

Related: Frenchman’s Cove, Portland

Monkey Island

After admiring the places where the world’s rich and famous come to relax, Mr. Benton carried us to Monkey Island. Monkey Island, also known as Pellew Island, gets its name from a colony of monkeys that were released there by Alfred Mitchell’s son-in-law Hiram Bingham several decades ago. Mitchell owned a mansion with several exotic pets at nearby Folly Point.

Did You Know: Jamaica has over 20 smaller islands, making it an archipelago!

The United Islands of Jamaica: the ones you probably never heard of

This thickly wooded island is next to impenetrable, but offers a beach with a sliver of fine white sand and the warmest clearest sea water I can ever recall swimming in. As in, you can see every colourful shell, every tiny fish which scurries past, every bit of seaweed and seagrass, everything. There are two delightful rope swings where you can pretend you’re a monkey too since the real ones aren’t there anymore. It’s best you take your captain’s number, let him leave and pick you up after you’ve had your fill of the tiny island hideaway. We were joined by a few other dry land tourists (locals) while there, most of whom only came for pictures then left.

Completing Our Tour

We called our captain after 45 minutes or so, and he returned then took us around the actual lagoon. There isn’t much to see here but the deep cobalt blue which changes to turquoise in the blink of an eye isn’t a colour I’ll forget any time soon. It’s truly a spectacle. The water in the Lagoon is a mix of fresh water and salt water (brackish water), as the lagoon is open to the sea and fed by freshwater springs.

Related: Reach Falls, Portland

We chilled at another little sandy strip for a few more minutes then called Blue Lagoon a wrap.

Wrap Up

I had an absolute blast at the Blue Lagoon. I definitely see why it’s a place for the rich and famous! It’s worth checking out if you haven’t been before when next you’re in the parish of Portland and if you’re a visitor to Jamaica, I’d recommend adding this place to your itinerary. I rate Blue Lagoon five stars, ☆☆☆☆☆. Check out my Portland archives for other places worth seeing on your trip to Portland.

Read next: Boston Beach, Portland.

‘Til next time, safe & happy travels. ✌🏽


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Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. Also a budget travel blog, Adventures from Elle is written by Rochelle Knight, a junior doctor who began this blog as a student & wants to see the world, starting with her own country. She frequents off-the-beaten-path waterfalls, beaches and places with interesting history. Join her in Jamaica!

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