Travel: Turtle Bay, Portland (Jamaica)

by - July 11, 2020



As if we needed anymore proof of how stunning Portland, Jamaica actually is, in comes these two hidden gems in Manchioneal, Turtle Bay Sinkhole and Turtle Bay Beach. I remember the first time I saw the beach at Turtle Bay on my friend's Instagram feed about a year ago and immediately bookmarked it for future reference. I didnt feel pressed to go because a part of me wasn't sure if it was even real or actually if it was in Jamaica. The reassurance I needed came in a series of instagram stories from a friend, Jean Paul (japesdontravels) who recently shared his weekend excursion in Portland including these two remarkable spots, and my wanderlust was itching to head out. As if reading my mind, one of my faves, Steven, sent photos from JP's stories saying "let's go" and  the following weekend we were on our way to discover these dreamy hidden gems. 

So let me start by saying that if you're not up for an adventure, you should probably sit this one out. Since they are off the beaten path, you won't be able to just google your way there but will need the help of locals and good faith to enjoy these places. They are very close to one another so you'll be able to go to both in one day, as I did, and while it's quite the undertaking, you'll experience one of those rare "I cant believe this place exists", "I cant believe I'm witnessing this", "Mother Nature is incredible" moments you'll remember forever. 

We were able to find our way thanks to Jean Paul's simple instructions and once followed correctly, you'll be able to as well. So here goes: 

Turtle Bay Sinkhole (Natural Pool) 


First, use your GPS app (eg Google Maps) to search for "Turtle Bay Manchioneal". Once you get close enough to the google destination pin, you will need to pay attention to some community landmarks to know where to stop. Drive until you see a yellow and blue container on your left which serves as a community tuck shop. There are several container shops in the community but you'll know you're at the right one if it's yellow & blue with a dirt path and a pink bar next to it. The pink bar is called Kefian's Place. You will need to turn onto the dirt path to park, either behind the bar (which will lead you to the path by the beach) or there is limited parking by the yellow/blue container. If looking for the yellow/blue container is a little obscure for you, just ask a local for Kefian's place. Once you park, you will have to ask a local to help you find the sinkhole. We were referred to a fisherman "Spriggy" who was also Jean Paul's tour guide. I went first to Kefian's place to ask for Spriggy, was sent to the beach to ask the other fishermen of his whereabouts, and then was sent further down the road to another shop until I finally found him behind another shop (no I'm not kidding lol). Everyone knows Spriggy in the community. He's a medium height, slim built man with dreadlocks. I told him my friend Jean Paul sent me and he knew right away that I wanted to go to the sinkhole. While Spriggy doesnt outright ask for compensation, it's considerate to have at least $1000 JM to pay him for his time and guidance. 



Once you find Spriggy he will take you on the journey along a beautiful beach. It is a public beach but its obvious that only the members of the community make use of it as it seems relatively unknown. From the beach he'll lead you into the bushes with shrubs and wild vegetation that requires hiking for about 5-8 minutes depending on how fast you walk. Since we didnt know what to expect we brought way too much stuff with us, including an igloo with drinks. Take my advise and carry a backpack and water bottle/ tumbler with your beverage of choice with you ONLY. You need your hands to be free to climb. You also dont want to be lugging a bunch of stuff around while maneuvering the rocky terrains. Even though youre going to swim, I would avoid sandals for this trip and encourage water shoes or old sneakers instead. The sun was ripe when we went and 3 minutes into the trek I was drenched in sweat. Please bring sunblock and something to pat your face dry. I'm being as detailed and direct as possible, not to deter you but to ensure you have a realistic idea of what to expect. Regardless of the trudge though,  once we finally made it to our destination, I knew it was more than worth the journey, and I'm sure it will be the same for you



To actually get into the water you will also have to do some rock climbing but that's probably the easiest part of the entire excursion. Be careful when you do go for a dip as the rocks in the water are sharp and slippery. Otherwise the temperature of the water is perfect and the tiny fish are welcoming. Everything about the place is magical and from every angle it's an Instagrammer's dream lol. 

Turtle Bay Beach 



Okay there is a little uncertainty with the name of this place. Some people refer to it as Innis (Innes) Bay and other call it Turtle Bay Beach. Regardless of the ambiguity surrounding it's name, one thing is for certain, this place is unmistakably unique. I dont think there is another beach of this kind on the island! (and if there is, someone please tell me where to find it!) 

We drove less than 5 minutes further down the road from where we parked to find the sink hole toward "Innes Bay Beach" on Google Maps. You have two options. You can either enter the beach from private property side "Serendipity Beach Villa". They dont always allow people through but you can try your luck. Otherwise you can do what my friends and I did which was to drive past the villa and park in front of a White House (its pretty distinctive) and has goats tied in the front. Walk along the right side of the house and it leads to an opening where you can visibly see the beach. You'll be on a hill and will need to climb down some very steep steps to get to the shore. There is a rope to help you down and if youre using this path, PLEASE USE THE ROPE. Otherwise it can be fairly dangerous. 

There is apparently a third option that doesnt require a dangerous rope or going on private property of the villa but I do not have the details for that. I'm sure if you ask a local they will know exactly where to enter. 

I want to make a note of what to expect when you make it unto the beach. The water is a little rough so if you aren't a great swimmer, I would stay closer to the shore. While exploring the beach, you won't be able to ignore the fact that it is heavily polluted especially among the rocks. I would be careful when walking along the rocky area and recommend keeping your shoes on unless going in the water. Regardless of the invasive plastic and artifacts, everything is mesmerizing and since its such an uncommon destination, you'll very likely have the place to yourself!



Overall, I'd say Turtle Bay is a must see if youre heading to Portland any time soon. I created an IGTv video of the full trip that you can watch here. Feel free to send me a DM on IG if you're on your way and would like any clarification.  

until next time......
Do Good, Dress Well
xTAR 


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2 comments

  1. Those directions are so Jamaican. lol
    Turtle Bay Manchioneal looks looks beautiful, well worth a little hike. This adventure reminded me a lot of my own failed hike to find a secret beach when I was in Portugal.

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  2. This place is absolutely beautiful! From I saw your stories I was hooked to find out more. I'm definitely going to take my own little excursion there. I'm so excited. Thanks for such a great post.

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