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Discover Jamaica’s Hidden Gems


Travellers seeking to retreat in Jamaica’s idyllic landscape will appreciate its hidden gems found along the island’s coast. These secluded islands and cays, easily accessible via boat, offer visitors a taste of tropical bliss. Whether snorkeling, bird watching or in search of quiet moments of rejuvenation, these isles provide a peaceful and serene alternative to the destination’s popular beaches. Below are a few options that are set to wow visitors.

Navy Island is located off the coast of Portland, the northeast corner of Jamaica.  Formerly owned by on-screen pirate actor Errol Flynn, this island is a short half-mile boat ride. Ideal for quiet picnics and trail hiking, visitors can enjoy the secluded beach featuring blooming landscapes on this piece of Caribbean haven.

Monkey Island is a long-established hang out spot located off the coast of Portland. Sitting at the end of a coral reef, Monkey Island is a mere five-minute kayak ride from San San Beach and can also be accessed by walking through the water at low-tide.  With no infrastructure on Monkey Island, visitors can find a true escape, enjoying the white-sand beach and tropical jungle. More adventurous travellers can dive and snorkel in the clear blue waters surrounding the island all times of the year.

One of Jamaica’s best keep secrets is Pigeon Island, a small cay in Portland Bight, on the south coast. A practically untouched utopia, the isle is accessible from Kingston via private boats for hire. It boasts a rich reef ecosystem; teeming with fish, turtles and even the rare blacktip reef shark.  This rich biodiversity makes it a must visit for snorkellers.

Located off the coast of Negril, Booby Cay was featured in Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Accessible via boat, the island hosts an immense coral reef system, lending to fantastic scuba diving experiences. Bird-watchers also flock to Booby Cay, seeking out the Booby seabird that returns to the island annually to breed and lay eggs.

While Jamaica is known for its many beaches, its lesser known isles and cays along the coast are to be discovered. Whether travellers are seeking to unplug or become more intimate with nature, there’s something for everyone on these hidden gems of Jamaica.

For more information about Jamaica, please go to to plan your next getaway.

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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