Boston Beach, Portland

By: Rochelle Knight | Adventures from Elle https://adventuresfromelle.com/2019/06/15/boston-beach/

I’m convinced that Portland has Jamaica’s best beaches! Boston Beach was a long drive from Kingston but that was quickly forgotten by time I arrived. Although it was my first time visiting this beach, I was always aware it existed because just next to it is the Boston Jerk Centre, home to Jamaica’s most famous jerk chicken and pork, a place of which I’ve always heard but never visited.

Boston Jerk Centre is actually a cluster of several rustic stalls offering taste-and-buy meats, meaning you get a sample of the jerk you’re purchasing before paying and if you change your mind and no longer want theirs, no worries. While I’m not 100% convinced that their chicken is the best I’ve ever had, it was certainly fantastic. The pork though? Phew, child! It definitely wins the title of Jamaica’s best jerked pork. Please visit their stalls and take your pick. I wish I remembered the names of the ones I bought from. Sides include festivals, breadfruit, roasted yam, sweet potato and plantains. If you come across a Rasta man trying to sell you cane juice too, bargain with him for a fair price and take a bottle with some cups of ice chips. It was absolutely refreshing and the perfect accompaniment to a sultry Jamaican afternoon. You can learn more about Jamaica’s unique eats here. Anyway, I’m here to talk about the beach so let’s dive into that.

From Kingston, there are two ways to approach Boston Beach. One is via the Junction main road which links rural St. Andrew and St. Mary, and serves as the gateway to Portland. The other goes through Bull Bay, another rural end of St. Andrew, then through St. Thomas and eventually Portland. I took the latter route this trip despite Google Maps listing it as 10 minutes longer, simply because I planned to stop at Reach Falls afterwards. In fact, Reach Falls was the main reason for this trip but I decided to make the extra half hour drive to experience what is reputed as Jamaica’s best jerk. Thus, I hadn’t even researched Boston Beach in the least, except consulting Google Maps to find out how long the drive to the jerk centre was from Reach Falls.

My heart was absolutely full. The drive is long but oh-so-beautiful and filled with lush countryside, cool mountain air, quaint churches and houses, jaw-dropping coastal views and fresh sea breezes. The road surface fluctuates between excellent and freshly paved to pothole-riddled so drive carefully. In fact, the communities through which you’ll drive are farming villages so don’t be too alarmed if you see cows or goats leisurely crossing the roads. Unfamiliar with livestock on main roads, I stopped in the hopes that these cows would get the message but they continued to saunter across unbothered until I made it clear I needed to pass. That’s when they stopped in their tracks, much like a pedestrian who thought better of jaywalking into the path of oncoming traffic. It was actually hilarious and brought back memories of my Gut River trip last year where the several hundred goats we passed were not accustomed to vehicles using the road at all.

Boston is open every day of the week from 9am till 5pm, and admission is JM$200 per adult. They have restrooms, changing rooms, showers, a restaurant and bar, lifeguards and surfing is available. In fact, Boston Beach is one of Jamaica’s best surfing spots and you’re likely to see a few surfers in action like I did. You’re allowed to bring and eat outside food on the beach too, huge plus. Thus, I bought food from the jerk centre which is a minute’s drive away then ate it at the beach instead of buying from their restaurant. Covered seating is available also.

Re surfing: Boards can be rented and instructors are available at a price (didn’t check the cost though, sorry).

The Beach

Truly, I’ve not been this pleasantly surprised by a place in a long time. Mind you, I’m always happy to visit the places I do but I tend to at least have seen them before on social media or a website, so I always know what to expect before I see the place for myself. Boston? I hadn’t the slightest clue and in fact, I was wondering if it would be worth spending money on a beach I didn’t plan to spend long at (err.. only wanted to have lunch at). It ended up becoming the best $200 I’ve spent in a few months!

The waves were perfect! Not gentle but not too rough, not cold but not too warm, crystal clear, not too salty, literally perfect. This is the most refreshed I can recall ever feeling by seawater in my life. The temperature was even too, not fluctuating like at Frenchman’s Cove where one step it’s warm and the next you’re shivering due to the river which ends its course there. In fact, a Jamaican author, blogger and friend of mine, Alexis Chateau, mistook a throwback post I made on Instagram at Frenchman’s Cove last month for this beach and I can see why. Boston Beach looks identical (I know! uncanny), albeit wider, minus the river and much, much cheaper.

As a nice perk, there’s a very Instagrammable swing and some adorable puppies call this beach home. This was also the first time I’ve ever seen surfing in real life. You could tell the lone surfer was having the time of his life being centre of attention, but it looked so exciting. With a life-jacket on, maybe someone could’ve convinced me to try.

Wrap Up

Spontaneous is good! It goes against my meticulous nature but these are the moments you cherish just as much as the moments where everything went according to plan. I left a little sliver of my heart at this beach which I rate full stars, ☆☆☆☆☆. Next time I visit though, I must stay overnight. The drive from Kingston while running on E post-exams was exhausting and I really had to leave too quickly. I imagine sunset from this beach would’ve been wonderful.

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I Have Come Home

My dream of living in Jamaica has come true. A year ago, I recalled seeing a sign in the airport beckoning me to return; so I have answered! With new adventures, especially extended ones, it is hard to get excited when you are leaving friends and family behind. It’s hard to be excited after giving up your apartment, resigning from your job, and giving away your car, to live in the unknown. Yet, I have said my good-byes and I have given up my life at my former home and now a new one awaits. This time, Jamaica is just as I left it.

Related: Follow my heart?

I have found the same “marketplace” outside the doors of the airport; and I am greeted with the hot Jamaican sun as I make my way out. This time I am prepared. I tried not to seem as if I have come homeI was struggling to remove the two suit cases and a small hand luggage off the trolley. One of the suitcases is almost as tall as me. I managed to get myself together and pull my luggage, along with my laptop bag swung over my shoulder. For a petite girl, my trying to pretend I have everything under control is painfully foolish; as I see one man steering at me. He had helped me lift the larger luggage from off the trolley and as I wheel them out on my own, I see him staring still. I scanned the marketplace and found a few empty spots in the row of chairs, so I make my way there. My face is stern, attempting to give the facade that I know what I’m doing, and I am no foreigner. I walked pass men sitting comfortably on a high ledge, designed to hold large plants. They watch me organize my luggage next to the chair I was going to sit. I took my seat next to my luggage, exchanged my eyeglasses for sunglasses and did a quick scan of my surroundings. The men were now staring out in the distance. I remove my sweater for at this point I was sweating profusely, and I pulled up my long brown dress from revealing so much cleavage. I could feel the caribbean breeze blowing on my skin.

A few mintues ago I started to wonder whether I was ever going to leave the airport. The customs officer needed an address for the place I was going to stay at, and I did not have one to give her. She sent me down to the information centre to have my cousin, Donald, paged over the intercom. I had left my passport with the same officer because as she puts it, “this is the process. You go down to get the address and you come back to see me.” I walked off in the direction of her finger pointing. Donald didn’t respond. While I was standing at the counter, still waiting for a rapid reponse, I examined my letter of acceptance from the University of the West Indies, and starred at the university’s address printed on the letterhead. Since it was hard for me to remember Donald’s address; the place I had stayed a year ago, I decided to write the name of the hall I had applied for and the address of the university. I told the woman at the counter who had paged Donald, who was no longer paying me any attention, that I would come back just in case she was wondering what I was up to. I walked towards the same custom officer; and after the person in front of me left, she beckon for me to come. I handed the scribbled address to her and she happily wrote it down and said, “all I needed was an address. You are a Jamaican”. Then, she returned the customs form to me. I was free to leave.

Donald appeared from out of nowhere and was now standing a few inches from me. We made eye contact. And just in case he did not see me, I waved. He made his way towards where I was sitting, while talking on his cellphone. He removed the phone from his ear and hugged me. “Were you here long? I was circulating the area”.

“No, I sat down five minutes ago”.

He helped me roll my luggage to the road side and left me there to get his car from the parking lot. I did this before. I knew it wouldn’t be long for his return, and the other waiters now know I am no stranger to this land.

Jamaica had been anticipating my return and I’m greeted with warmth and tranquility. I am familar with the long road from the airport, and the sea that sits on the outskirt that borders the land. There is no surprise. I drive through New Kingston, a stop at Donald’s air conditioned workplace, and later we eat lunch at Scotchie’s. My first meal is festival and jerk chicken with coconut water to drink. We sit under a hut, on chairs made from bamboo. I felt the cool Jamaican breeze blowing and when I listen quietly, I can hear the wind singing praises for my return. Yes, I have come home.