Winnifred Beach in Portland, Jamaica is a success story of what can happen when a community works together and fights for a worthy cause. Majority of Jamaica’s best coastline is in the hands of private owners, auctioned off and sold by the Jamaican government to large hotels and investors who rather keep the beaches of their beachfront hotels and resorts exclusive for paying guests. This practice prevents citizens from enjoying most of the country’s best beaches. It’s a prevailing notion in Jamaica that only tourists get to see and enjoy Jamaica’s finest attractions since the prices charged for us to visit these places, even with cheaper rates for locals, still make them inaccessible to many. This wasn’t something I thought much of until visiting another Caribbean island last December and realizing that not a single one of their beaches had an admission fee, and for the other attractions which did, both locals and tourists were charged the same. In fact, many Jamaican businesses which cater for tourists often ignore locals when we enter their establishments so it’s an interesting turn of events that many of these places are now trying to attract and capture support from locals since tourist arrivals are at an all-time low for obvious reason.
Anyhow, Winnifred Beach is different. Located in Fairy Hill, Portland, the government has made several attempts through the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to privatize this stretch of coastline and displace local vendors and food establishments which have operated there for many years. However, the residents put up a strong fight and enlisted the pro bono services of attorneys from the parish to represent them in court, and they won. For that reason, Winnifred Beach is free to all and still accessible by ordinary citizens.
Related: Boston Beach
From Kingston, Portland is best approached from the Junction roadway which links the St. Andrew and St. Mary parishes. The drive is long and the roads are winding, but the views are absolutely spectacular and worth it. Google Maps can direct you quite well to the Fairy Hill community and the beach. Also, the road to the beach itself is now paved! I’ve heard that that was an issue for years but the donations which have been raised from visitor contributions covered that cost some years ago. There are a few shops on the beach which sell food, so your girl was quick to get a coconut to “wash off the heart” as we say.
Aside: Coconut water is rich in potassium which is good for lowering blood pressure and protecting heart health, so there’s some truth to the Jamaican adage that “coconut wata good fi wash off yuh heart!”
Entrance to this lovely beach is free, but there’ll be someone by the car-park entrance requesting a donation. Leave a tip! The beach is community-run, so every dollar will go a far way in maintaining the beach’s cleanliness and infrastructure. Using the showers and restrooms come at a cost though. ( I didn’t use either on this trip).
Related: Blue Lagoon & Monkey Island
White sand, cool breeze, shady trees. Wow! The makings of a perfect day! 😍😍😍
This beach is good for relaxing with friends and family, playing football and frolicking in the water which was cool and refreshing– a bit rough but not unpleasantly so. There was an almost 100% local crowd on the day I visited, and the beach was large enough to accommodate us all with enough ‘social distance.’ I barely took any pictures guys. I just jumped right in!
Related: Frenchman’s Cove
Winnifred Beach is a lovely spot which I’m glad Fairy Hill was able to protect for the community. Let’s hope it remains that way. I rate this lovely beach five stars, ☆☆☆☆☆.
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‘Til next time, safe & happy travels. ✌🏽