The north coast

The north coast attracts the majority of visitors to Jamaica, with thousands arriving by cruise ship in Ocho Rios and thousands more staying in all-inclusive resorts along the coast, principally at Montego Bay, the site of the international airport. There are well-known attractions such as Dunn's River Falls, but also less infamous places to visit away from the crowds: the fine Georgian town of Falmouth, caves in the Cockpit Country, or the Rocklands Feeding Station, a delightful garden where the doctor hummingbird is tame enough to drink sugar syrup from a bottle in your hand. Montego Bay is brash and fun-loving, attracting the party crowd, but away from the hip strip there are some architectural and anthropological sights worth exploring.

Port Maria to Oracabessa

The Kingston to Port Maria road (the Junction Road) passes through
Castleton Botanical Gardens
(T9271257, in a very tranquil setting, well worth a visit). The journey takes about two hours and there are plenty of minibuses.
Port Maria
itself is a sleepy and decaying old banana port not without charm and with lots of goats.

A few kilometres northwest of Port Maria is
Noel Coward's Jamaican home
, now owned by the
Jamaica National Heritage Trust
. It is evocative of a stylish era and a highlight if you are interested in the theatre or film stars of that period and the view is magnificent. Noel Coward's other property,
Blue Harbour
, is about 1 km away; this is where he used to entertain film stars, royalty etc. It is now a guesthouse .

Oracabessa is another old banana port with a half-completed marina and
Golden Eye
, the house where
Ian Fleming
wrote all the James Bond books. The house is now a luxurous retreat owned by Chris Blackwell's
Island Outpost
, T
he James Bond beach is in front of the house, it is small but highly recommended, as safe and child-friendly. Bars and fish meals available.

To the west of Oracabessa is
, where the airstrip for Ocho Rios is located. Opposite the airstrip there are numerous houses for rent.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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