Friday, January 06, 2006

Portland Rocks

When I first drove through the Parish of Portland, on Jamaica's northeast coast, I realized that I was finally on a tropical island. Through the coaster bus windows, I saw lush jungle vegetation, banana plantations, and bay after bay of white sand beaches with water in a multitude of blue hues. Kaelyn and I stayed mostly in Boston Bay, and traveled back and forth to Port Antonio (the capital, also called "Porty) a few times for groceries.

Boston Bay is where jerk was invented. I didn't try it, but the 8 square yards of pork and chicken I saw on one humongous grill certainly looked authentic. Plus, the jerk stands are about 50 feet from where we stayed, at Great Huts. If you don't eat meat, there is still really tasty festival and breadfruit, but I would stay away from too much yam unless you have a lot of liquids to wash it down with.

Boston Bay itself is said to be the most surf-friendly place in Jamaica. The waves are fairly big, but nothing as big as I've seen in Costa Rica or California, so it's still swimmable. There is very little sand, since most of it was eroded by a hurricane, so bring your sandals so the rocks don't cut up your feet. It's still a very pleasant place to swim, or even rock dive if you are the adventurous type. Great Huts has a little ocean pool on the side of the beach where you can sit and enjoy the water.

Speaking of Great Huts, it's very rustic and chic. We stayed in a yurt with one other couple. There were built in stone bed frames and a very firm mattress. Fans and soft lighting are included. The shower is outdoors but has a bamboo screen around it and the water pressure is nice. The other fun thing is the communal kitchen where you can cook your own meals.

Portland is very beautiful. It rains all the time so it is always green. A far cry from the desert like conditions in Portmore and the South Coast. Check it out if you can.

-Shane and Kaelyn

PS-We posted pictures of Portland on Flickr site, with a link on the right side of the page.

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