If you’re looking to distance yourself from the crowds and see the real Jamaica, holidays to Lucea are just the ticket. No wonder this unspoilt Caribbean hideaway attracts a roll call of A-list visitors.
On Jamaica’s northwest corner, midway between the headline resorts of Negril and Montego Bay, is Lucea. This quintessential Caribbean bolthole, wrapped around a horseshoe bay, has been happy to stay out of the limelight. But judging by its guest list of music celebrities and sports stars, that may be about to change.
The town’s trio of beaches are its big draw. On the main beach, you’ll find talc-white sands, lapped by crystal-clear water. Plus, it’s sheltered by a small jetty, making it a safe spot to paddle. Next to it is the tree-fringed Sunset Cove that has kayaking, pedalos, sailing and banana boating. Since it’s west-facing, the sunsets here are Instagram-worthy. And on the third beach, the public beach, you can mingle with the locals over a bottle of Red Stripe.
It can be hard to drag yourself away from the beaches, but Lucea’s old world charms are worth the effort. There’s Fort Charlotte, a castle built in 1761 to protect the coast. It’s still in pretty good shape 250 years later. Another must-see is the Old Lucea Courthouse – its clock tower was intended for St Lucia but got sent to Lucea by mistake. On Saturdays, the market next to the bay sells exotic local produce, as well as handicrafts. For more modern tastes, there’s Midway Mall that has a scattering of bars and restaurants.
Outside Lucea, in the heartlands of Hanover parish, are four spectacular waterfalls. There’s the aptly named Paradise Falls, Kemshot Falls, Dry Hill Falls and Mayfield Falls hidden away in a canopy of evergreen forests – they’re all within 20 minutes’ drive. For a different kind of thrill, try rafting down the rapids of the Great River, on the way to Montego Bay.
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