The Best Beaches in Jamaica: Frenchman’s Cove, Portland
Updated: Jun 8, 2019
The world-famous Frenchman’s Cove beach is one of Jamaica’s most beautiful places. The beach is located on the eastern side of the island in the Portland parish, east of Port Antonio. Situated far from the busy tourist towns like Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, it is the ideal spot for nature lovers and relaxation. The beach, often referred to as Paradise, boasts 42 acres of grounds with villas throughout. The actual beach however is relatively small.
Surrounded on both sides by vegetated rocky cliffs, the stunning contrast between the green forests and cobalt sky and ocean makes this place special. The films “Lord Of The Flies” and “Knight And Day” were filmed on the beach, showcasing both the beauty and wildness of the area. While you’re nearby, make sure to check out Blue Lagoon, another of Jamaica’s most beautiful spots.
Frenchman’s Cove was once a part of the Cold Harbour Estate. The 48-acre property was purchased by Garfield Weston, who became enamored with its idyllic charm and unspoiled beauty. Frenchman’s Cove is named after Frenchmen who took refuge there after an explosive battle between the British and the French near the Cove.
After acquiring this vast and unspoiled sea front property, Mr. Weston was persuaded by the former Custos of Portland to build a hotel. He agreed, but the hotel would only serve Mr. Weston’s employees. During the final stages of construction Mr. Weston’s eldest son, Grainger, made Frenchman’s Cove into a hotel rather than an executive resort. The hotel comprised 18 luxury villas shrouded by discreet shrubbery and scattered over the headlands on both sides of the river, beach and bay.
Construction began in 1958 and the first official season was in 1962. It was the first all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean and possibly the world. Frenchman’s Cove has played host to many distinguished guests including Queen Elizabeth II, Elizabeth Taylor and her husband, Richard Burton, Marlon Brando, The Beatles, Ian Fleming and Errol Flynn
Port Antonio, on Jamaica’s eastern coast is nestled between the blue mountains and the Caribbean sea. It has preserved its charm as a sleepy fishing village, whilst still offering the comfort, variety, and adventure of a vacation hideaway.
Settled successively by Taino Indians, Spanish, and British, the town was developed in the late nineteenth century due to the banana trade. With banana boats plying between Jamaica and the United States, visitors began arriving in Port Antonio, launching the beginnings of Jamaica’s tourist trade.
What makes this beach so unique is the river that meets the ocean – such a sight to see! The sand is soft and white and the water is crystal clear. You can choose to swim in the very calm river or the ocean. The ocean water can get wavy and rough at times after swimming, you can take a break in the river or relax on the beach.
Once you are finished relaxing on the sandy beach, a few steps away, you are able to rinse off in the pure river water. Don’t be surprised if you are swimming amongst tiny fish. Just take this time to relax and enjoy the small and secluded jungle. Children and adults can enjoy the swing that hangs above the river.
The Perfect Location for a Caribbean Wedding
The Frenchman’s Cove Resort makes the idyllic setting for a dream wedding. Its beautiful world-famous beach can be hired for your ceremony and reception. Frenchman’s Cove can also recommend excellent local caterers to provide food for your event whilst its villas make the perfect accommodation for guests.
The beach is accessed directly off the northeastern coast road, just east of Port Antonio. Nearby hotels include Frenchman’s Cove Resort, Moon San Villa at the Blue Lagoon, Trident Hotel, Hotel Tim Bamboo and Great Huts Resort.
Food and drinks are served on the beach. There’s a selection of Jamaican jerk chicken, steam fish, burgers, fries, rice, etc. Many agree that the price is reasonable, especially when served with a warm smile. There are many chairs available on the beach for rent.
Please observe the no topless signs here – Frenchman’s Cove is very family friendly
Frenchman’s Cove Resort welcomes visitors to spend the day and passes can be purchased at reception. For international guests a day pass costs US$10 or JA$1000. Local guests (with valid identification) are charged at a rate of JA$800. Children below the age of 12 years old can enter for half price. Free Wifi is available in the main buildings across the estate including Reception, the Great House and the Beach Bar.
The Perfect Private Beach With Wifi
Frenchman’s Cove Beach in Port Antonio has been called a slice of paradise and, as we spread out our towels on the bone-white sand, it was easy to see why.
We were in desperate need of a beach break… and, of course, needed to check Facebook and email. And maybe/definitely have a cold one. This beach fulfilled every need—right down to having a nice, clean bathroom.
Red Stripes firmly in hand, we soaked up the sun and the vibe, which included Daft Punk drifting in from the background.
On one side of the beach is a little freshwater river that’s perfect for wading and catching some shade. Tiny fish abound in these green waters, so if something tickles you while you’re in there, don’t panic.
The beach itself isn’t very long, but this one is private, so it’s not very crowded. This could be the perfect place to get lost in the sun, without worrying about the kids getting lost.
One small note: our $700 Jamaican (about $7 US) cover charge gave us beach and Wifi access, but did not include a beach chair. We think it should have.