Hellshire Beach Recreation Area
White-sand beaches fringe the Hellshire Hills southwest of Kingston. Fort Clarence Beach Park, is popular with Kingstonians on weekends. It has clean sand, showers, toilets and secure parking. A restaurant and bar are open weekends only, but there are regular dancehall events.
Canoe Valley Wetland
This is lovely government-owned wildlife reserve known as Alligator Hole. It’s notable for its family of manatees that inhabit the clear water, and its crocodiles. They live amid dense reeds in jade-blue pools fed by waters that emerge at the base of limestone cliffs, and are not always easy to see. Waterfowl are abundant.
Galina Point & Little Bay
Five kilometers east of Oracabessa, the A3 winds around the promontory of Galina Point. A 12m-high concrete lighthouse marks the headland. South of Galina you’ll pass Noël Coward’s first house, Blue Harbour, squatting atop ‘the double bend,’ where the road and shoreline take a 90-degree turn and open to a view of Cabarita Island.
West Coast to Tryall Estate
West from Montego Bay the A1 follows the coast, offering little in the way of beaches or attractions. Eight kilometers west of town the road crosses the mouth of the Great River, then sweeps past Round Hill Hotel & Villa and, further along the A1, Tryall Estate and the world championship Tryall Golf Course.
This narrow, 16km-long spit forms a natural breakwater protecting Kingston Harbour. It extends due west from Windward Rd. At the western end, reached via Norman Manley Hwy, lies the historic town of Port Royal. The spit earned its name for the defensive palisade that was built across the spit to defend Port Royal from a land-based attack.
Old Harbour Bay
This large fishing village, facing Portland Bight, 3km south of Old Harbour, is the site of the south coast’s largest fish market. Fishermen land their catch midmorning, and it makes a photogenic sight with the nets laid out and the colorful pirogues drawn up on the otherwise ugly shore.
Bog Walk Gorge
About 11km north of Spanish Town the A1 cuts through a beautiful limestone canyon – Bog Walk Gorge – carved by the slow-moving, emerald-colored Rio Cobre, lined with vine-draped trees. You drop into the gorge and cross the river via the Flat Bridge, an 18th-century stone bridge, formerly a notorious place for bottlenecks.
Hagley Gap & Penlyne Castle
The ramshackle village of Hagley Gap sits abreast a hill east of Mavis Bank and is the gateway to Blue Mountain Peak. The road forks in the village, where a horrendously denuded dirt road to Penlyne Castle begins a precipitous ascent. Penlyne Castle is the base for the 12km hikes to and from Blue Mountain Peak.
This otherwise nondescript town with a busy market vibe along its main street is famous for its iron clock tower in the town square. The Victorian tower is marvelously preserved, as is the clock, which was installed shortly after the English invasion in 1655. Other points of interest include the Church of St Dorothy, one of the oldest on the island.
Formerly a favorite with Jamaican beachgoers, Mammee Bay – 5.5km west of Ocho Rios and 4km east of St Ann’s Bay – has several little beaches, some hidden away, but is now firmly dominated by the monolithic Club Hotel Riu Ocho Rios. Much of the beachfront is a private residential estate, but access is offered to the public beaches.
This small town on a hillside 11km east of Falmouth is a pretty place to base yourself if you want to be removed from resort sprawl, although it appears developers are buying up surrounding real estate at a fast pace, so this may not be the case for long. The village is centered on an old stone clock tower in the middle of a three-way junction.