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Port Antonio is a verdant and sleepy seaport of under 15,000 people about 60 miles northeast of Kingston, and 135 miles east of Montego Bay. Here you can still catch a glimpse of the Jamaica of old. This small, bustling town is like many in Jamaica: clean though ramshackle, its sidewalks surrounding a market filled with vendors, tin-roofed shacks compete with old Georgian and modern brick and concrete buildings. Locals busily shop, talk, and laugh, while others sit and play dominoes (loudly banging the pieces on the table, which is very much part of the game).
Go to the colorful markets to browse for local craftworks, spices, and fruits-or just to listen to conversations, negotiations, and the news of the day.
Navy Island and the long-gone Titchfield Hotel were owned for a short time by film star Errol Flynn, who was much loved and admired by Jamaicans and totally integrated into his community. Locals still talk of Flynn in Port Antonio, especially the men, who speak of his legendary womanizing and drinking in almost reverent tones.
Portie is renowned for its International Marlin Tournament held every October. Some of the most expensive yachts sailing the Caribbean can be seen here with the opening of the first-class Megayacht Marina. Portie is a good place to go to get away from it all.
Unlike Montego Bay, Negril, and Ocho Rios, less visited and much more remote Port Antonio is an elite retreat-long a favorite of visiting celebrities such as Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Harrison Ford, and Denzel Washington.
The area's white-sand beaches are among the island's finest and least crowded. Only a few resorts here can be described as upmarket; most of this region is a haven for the frugal traveler seeking modest digs. Port Antonio lacks the all-inclusive megaresorts of Ocho Rios or Mo Bay; if that's what you need, head elsewhere. The same goes for shopping, nightlife, and deluxe dining: If they're absolutely essential to your vacation, hit the road. And if you like to run naked on the beach, your hair in braids, Negril is more your speed; Port Antonio, quite frankly, is perhaps the most staid of the major Jamaican resort towns.
Americans tend to go for Mo Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril. In Port Antonio, by contrast, you're much more likely to encounter European visitors, especially from Germany.