Alligator Pond River & Beach, Manchester

I originally hail from Kingston, but the parish of Manchester has been my home for the past two years. There’s a chance I may leave Manchester soon, but I’ll cherish the experiences and friendships I’ve built here forever. One of the things I lamented while reflecting on the end of my first year in Manchester is that I’d barely explored the parish, and I vowed to change that for my second year. One year later, I’m pleased to have explored almost all the places worth seeing in this cool mountainous parish– from Noisy River up north to Alligator Pond by the coast. I went to Little Ochi in January this year for the first time, and while the wait time was horrendous, I appreciated the experience a lot. However, who knew that another gem was so close by! I heard of the Alligator Pond River, also known as Sea Riv, just a few weeks ago and decided to check it out before my stint in Manchester expires. Read on to learn about Sea Riv, an estuary where the Alligator Pond River meets the Caribbean Sea.

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Treasure Beach, Saint Elizabeth

There is a little corner of Jamaica which is stuck in an era before the crime, high-end tourism and commercialization. That little corner is known as Treasure Beach. Treasure Beach is a small coastal town which prides itself on community tourism where foreigners co-exist with the locals in harmony. Mom-and-pop shops reign supreme and there are no large all-inclusive resorts. The accommodations are only small boutique hotels, Airbnbs and villas. Crime is almost non-existent in this side of Jamaica. Sounds utopian, doesn’t it? Well, it’s true.

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Little Ochie, Manchester

Jamaica is blessed with a tropical maritime climate, so we enjoy easy year-round access to freshly caught seafood. Several mom-and-pop stalls and restaurants will prepare this seafood to order, but a few stops have become cultural landmarks cemented in the homes and hearts of most Jamaican households and are even marketed to foreigners as must-see stops. Like most Kingstonians, my usual seafood stops are Port Royal, Hellshire or Port Henderson Road due to their closer proximity, but I’ve always heard of Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant in Alligator Pond, South Manchester. Why? Well, they are said to be one of the best and the oldest so Little Ochie has become somewhat of a household name. Thus, I was more than excited to turn what was originally intended to be a Treasure Beach stop into dining at this seafood stalwart and quintessential Jamaican restaurant.

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Winnifred Beach, Portland

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.

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Bob Marley Beach, Saint Andrew

When one thinks of going to the beach in Jamaica, St. Andrew is perhaps the last parish that comes to mind. Some go as far as to ask if this parish even has a beach to begin with, and I’m always happy to educate and say yes, SEVERAL! 🙂 All 14 of Jamaica’s parishes are washed by the Caribbean Sea so it’s a little weird that people assume St. Andrew doesn’t have any beaches just because it’s a largely urban parish and commercial centre. Three years ago I took a trip to the Carib and Wickie Wackie beaches which I wrote about here, and now I’m back with another lesser-known St. Andrew beach.

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Maracas & Las Cuevas Beaches, Trinidad

Northern Trinidad is home to several beaches, inlets and bays. I beach-hopped at two beaches located roughly an hour’s drive from the capital Port-of-Spain. Maracas Beach is Trinidad’s most famous beach and rightfully so. It’s a long beautiful stretch of coastline touted as the best spot to get bake and shark, a local fried fish sandwich topped with various condiments and popularly eaten at the beach. However, visiting the most popular beach equals a crowd, thus it’s worth checking out its more peaceful and equally as scenic sister a mere five minutes’ drive away, Las Cuevas Beach.

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Negril, Westmoreland

Negril is a resort town in the westernmost end of Jamaica, home to luxurious powdery-soft white-sand beaches and craggy picturesque cliffs. Negril’s Seven Miles Beach has been rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world by several travel magazines for years. Similar to my Dunn’s River Falls post from last April, I may potentially get my Jamaican card revoked by revealing that this was my first time visiting Negril but that’s okay. There’s a first time for everything and I thoroughly enjoyed this daytrip. Not even a flat tire on the way back after falling into one of Jamaica’s infamous potholes could ruin the mood. It was also my first time going parasailing, an experience I’m excited to share with you, my readers.

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Bluefields Beach, Westmoreland

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.

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Puerto Seco Beach, Saint Ann

Puerto Seco is a white sand beach located along Jamaica’s north coast in the historic town of Discovery Bay, St. Ann. Christopher Columbus is believed to have first landed in Jamaica on this beach with his three ships Santa Maria, Pinta and Niña in 1494. For this same reason, a park named after him lies just five minutes’ drive away. Recently leased and refurbished by the Guardsman Group security company, Puerto Seco is one of Jamaica’s most iconic beaches and was renovated to highlight that historic charm.

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Boston Beach, Portland

I’m convinced that Portland has Jamaica’s best beaches! Boston Beach was a long drive from Kingston but that was quickly forgotten by time I arrived. Although it was my first time visiting this beach, I was always aware it existed because just next to it is the Boston Jerk Centre, home to Jamaica’s most famous jerk chicken and pork, a place of which I’ve always heard but never visited.

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