June 17, 2024

Port Antonio is nestled between twin harbors on Jamaica’s northeast curve, where mist-shrouded mountains drop down to the sea and tourists are few and far between. Orchids, bananas and palm trees grow in profusion here. Waterfalls drop into fern-edged pools. And some of the island’s most elegant villas are tucked along hillsides overlooking secluded coves. Life moves at a slower pace here than it does elsewhere on the island – not that anybody anywhere in Jamaica is ever in any kind of rush – lending a vibe of authenticity which both Mobay and Ocho Rios sorely lack. There seems to be more time: to take advantage of swimming and snorkeling in the shimmering Blue Lagoon, which is fed by freshwater springs and said to reach a depth of almost 200 feet; to worship a little sun on the sand at Frenchman’s Cove, a favorite spot among shell collectors and sunbathers; to do, in fact, nothing. Eschewing more leisurely pursuits, however, I’ve opted to go cycling through the Blue Mountains, home of Jamaica’s eponymous – and very expensive – coffee, as well as its tallest peaks. Excited about traveling on two wheels, I’m nevertheless feeling a conflicted sense of both freedom and foreboding.

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