I’m shocked to have travelled to Portland and lo and behold there are some stunning free beaches.
Surprisingly to many, free beaches in Jamaica are not that common — well, to be more specific… really pristine beaches are usually not free in Jamaica.
If you’re wondering, yes, Jamaicans have to pay an entrance fee to gain access to certain beaches. The reason behind the fee is usually there for maintenance as well as to it sometimes being “private property”.
I’ve recently spent some time in the Parish of Portland and have taken out the time to explore these free beaches. Personally speaking, this is one more reason to love the parish of Portland!
Here are 4 free beaches to have a swim in Portland, Jamaica!
Shan Shy Beach
I visited this beach on a Monday afternoon. Though, it being the middle of the week, I cannot tell the last time I visited a beach that was almost people-free.
The San Sky beach is approximately a 10-min drive outside of Port Antonio heading west. It’s free of cost and has a restaurant on ground.
The beach itself is not very big, though peaceful and clean. Moral of the story— you can enjoy a completely free beach, almost people free on a Monday afternoon.
To add, the beach is open for most of the day— from 9 am to 5 pm.
Location: Bryan’s Bay, Norwich
I visited Winnifred for the first time a few weeks ago and I was shocked. Sadly, a beach this good-looking is never free. A fee is normally attached to it.
This is one of those local beaches that, if you’re not a local, or didn’t watch the late Anthony Bourdain’s show on Portland, Jamaica you probably wouldn’t know this beach exists.
Winnifred is located on the east coming from Port Antonio. It is approximately a 20-minute drive on the main road and then another 5-minutes drive off the main, heading towards the beach.
Though this beach is completely free. A few locals may ask you to make a donation which will be put towards maintaining and cleaning the beach. The donation can be whatever you want it to be.
You can brunch and lunch here. There are a few local shops and restaurants on ground.
Location: Fairy Hill, Portland
This is a complete city beach. Within an easy 10-minute walk outside of the city of Port Antonio, I appreciate the easy and free access.
Though not as picturesque as Winifred beach, Bikini Beach is perfect for an afternoon swim or a beach to consider because of its close proximity.
There is not much sand here. Compared to a few years ago, the water is somewhat washed up to the shore, resulting to less sand. Please note that this is one of the reasons the Jamaican government encourage the locals to help save the parrotfish because of its contribution to preserving the island’s marine; thus putting a soft ban of it.
Bikini Beach goes until 5pm.
Location: Marina in Port Antonio, Jamaica
I visited Boston Bay Beach 2 years ago and then again recently— I think I’ve found a new love for it. It is stunning not usually busy during the weekdays.
Since my two-year visit, a few things have changed. Though completely free, they have done a bit of work and added bathroom facilities which they charge a flat $200JMD to use.
To simplify things a little— the beach is divided into two sections. A section with a rate of $200 attached and the other section which is completely free. The section with the rate gives you the freedom to use the shower and bathroom facilities, while the other section is bare.
With a $200 fee attached to a section of the beach, it is more than worth it if you’d like to use the showers etc. To mention, the free section seems to be the “nicer” part.
Location: Boston Bay, Portland
If you plan to visit Portland anytime soon, be sure to check out these beaches. The island is not known to have picturesque, pristine beaches free of charge, so enjoy this opportunity. It is also very important to keep the beaches clean and remember to take your garbage along with you! (:
Happy travels and happy swimming!