Port Antonio, 68 miles east of Ocho Rios, is the capital of Portland, as it has been since 1723 when the parish was founded. Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox described the town as the 'most exquisite port on earth'. Back then it was Jamaica's main banana port. Melancholic Port Antonio still has the rakish air and tropical lassitude of a maritime harbor, and there is little of the hustle of Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. Goats snoozing in the shade of verandas sum it all up.
Port Antonio has resisted efforts to develop itself as a tourist resort, despite the limelight provided by socialites who have vacationed here for the past 50 years. In the past decade, it was also the setting of various movies, including The Mighty Quinn, Club Paradise, Cocktail and a remake of Lord of the Flies. More recently it has been favored by Shabba Ranks, Boyz to Men and several reggae stars for music videos.
Movie star Erol Flynn and high society entourage flocked to Port Antonio throughout the 1940s and '50s. Luxurious resorts attracted the jet-setting crowd. The upscale resorts and private villas east of town still give Port Antonio resolutely an old-fashioned charm.
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