On a Sunday, Shireen Aga, owner of Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, toured with me around Portland, a parish located on Jamaica’s northeast coast. The area is lush and full of vibrant communities. Take a local taxi and explore the region, which is a little sleepy in terms of tourism—a refreshing change from the towns where cruise ships dock.

Fast food Jamaica style. On a weekday, I’ll bet this vendor sells lots of Jamaica’s famous jerk chicken from this roadside stand.

For reliable, safe transportation, it’s recommended that you use an official JUTA (Jamaica Union of Travelers Association) taxi. They cost more but are more dependable, especially if you’re in a rural area. During my travels around Portland, Shireen and I used Attractions Link, a shuttle service owned by Wayne Murdock, who arranges sightseeing tours and acts as a guide too.

Jamaicans love bright houses—who could help but feel welcomed into this tropical fruit-colored home?

As we drove along the coast and then into the mountainous forests, a rainbow of colors appeared—not the least of which were ladies in brightly colored dresses and elegant hats walking to or from church. (Wish I could have snapped a picture of some of them; these women were joyful to behold!)

Sherene’s Place in Charles Town sells ice cream treats, snacks and the omnipresent Digicel cards. I wished I’d taken a picture of a sign for the cell phone company—they were everywhere, and nearly every shop on the island sells them.

I also enjoyed the architectural color of rural Jamaica—little shops are everywhere—usually in the form of gaily painted shacks. Because it was Sunday, few were open, but I got a kick out of their décor anyway.

This elaborate blue doorway belonged to a vacation house alongside the road.

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

P.S. I’d love to hear about the most colorful architecture you’ve ever seen in your travels. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Read more about my travels in Jamaica:

A fishing boat takes the day off. Manchioneal fishing village

Showing 3 comments
  • Chelsea St. Pierre

    I totally want that blue, gingerbread-y front door! I get so tired of how drab American houses are. In New Mexico, you see a lot of distintive architecture and colorful facades, but most of middle America looks like it all came from Home Depot. It’s nice to get a peek at vareity.

  • Reply

    Hi Laurel, this wayne the driver who drove you around while you were here in Jamaica with Shireen. Thanks for mentioning me in your article. However you seems to have the wrong information about our operation. It seems as if you were not told that I am a part of a tourist destination management company which has been in operation since 1994. Please have a look at our website and tell us what you think. We do hop that we will hear from you soon.

    • Laurel

      Thanks for the update, Wayne! You truly provide wonderful tours through off-the-beaten-path Jamaica. And you’re a real pro!

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