Go Off the Beaten Path in Jamaica with Hotel Mocking Bird Hill

Relax off the beaten path in a locally owned hotel near stunning waterfalls, plantation ruins and one of Jamaica's only publicly owned beaches.

| March/April 2011

  • Hotel Mocking Bird Hill's 6.5 acres of organic tropical gardens attract more than 60 bird species.
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach
  • I-Cliff, a Rastafarian, sells his handmade crafts at Winnifred Beach.
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach
  • Visitors at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill can board a bamboo raft for a guided tour down nearby Rio Grande River.
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach
  • Reach Falls provide a picturesque hiking and swimming destination.
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach
  • Sherene's Place sells snacks in Charles Town.
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach

Too many overdeveloped Caribbean destinations have lost their quirky charm, but eastern Jamaica’s lightly touristed Portland parish remains a place where colorful fruit stands line the roads, fishermen unload the day’s catch from rickety boats, and ladies parade to church in brilliant hats. 

Located amid the region’s pristine Blue Mountains and golden beaches is Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, a 10-room hideaway above the town of Port Antonio. Overlooking glorious aquamarine waters and just a quick shuttle ride to Frenchman’s Cove beach, this lush getaway lets you savor an authentic Jamaica that cruise-shippers might only glimpse.

Explore and Unwind 

Every room at solar-powered Mocking Bird Hill opens onto 6.5 acres of organic tropical gardens (a bird watcher’s paradise) and is naturally cooled by sea breezes. You can watch the sun set behind the mountains from the rooftop observatory and fall asleep to tree frogs chirping their moonlight sonatas.

Hotel owners Shireen Aga and Barbara Walker pamper guests with natural spa treatments, Jamaican cooking classes, a chlorine-free pool and enticing hammocks. And they’re committed to using the island’s abundance of local resources. Nearly every meal—such as fresh mango scones or goat-cheese ravioli with callaloo (Jamaican greens)—is made of ingredients from family farms within 100 miles. 

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill encourages guests to engage in local tourism ventures that provide jobs in a region rich in natural and human resources, but poor in cash.  Here are some of the staff’s favorite spots:



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