Hellshire Beach – Portmore, Jamaica

 

I’ve Never Been A Beach Girl But….

Not many beaches (NONE!) could convince me to drive two hours to get there except now, Hellshire Beach in Portmore. I’ve heard from so many people about how nice the beach is and that the fried fish is to die for, so when I met someone from Kingston in Ocho Rios who invited me I gladly accepted! The next morning we loaded up in my Budget Rental Car and left on my first road trip of this vacation. The drive was approximately two hours from Ochi through Fern Gully and Spanish Town, through Portmore and straight to the water’s edge at Hellshire. Who would have ever thought there would be a beach so pretty near Kingston? I guess I need to get out more.

Entrance to Hellshire beach Portmore jamaica

Hellshire Beach

Hellshire Beach

Driving into the beach is like driving into a little town. There’s a multitude of wooden buildings – food shops, bars, vendors of all sorts. Weaving through them all we found a decent parking spot near the water and set out on foot in search of food. The people I came with are very familiar with all the food shops and took me to the one they prefer. I was starving and couldn’t wait to try the fried fish I’ve heard about for years.

The Amazing Fried Fish

We went into “Bev & Sons” to eat. There is a large cooler full of fresh fish and you can choose whichever fish you think looks good. I chose a Parrot fish (the colorful ones) because they look pretty. Once you select your fish the cook puts it on a scale and you pay by weight. It’s not super cheap, I think two fish for us was about $1500 jmd. Once the fish was weighed the cook got to work while we bought some rum at the little bar in the same food hut and waited for our meal. After about 20 minutes we were served a huge platter of the tastiest looking fish, escovietch sauce, bammy and festival!

Hellshire Beach

Hellshire Beach fried fish

Hellshire Beach fried fish

Hellshire Beach fried fish

Hellshire Beach fried fish

I’m not exaggerating that this was the best fried fish I’ve ever eaten in Jamaica! And the escovietch sauce burned my mouth off but the taste was incredible. Well worth the price and by the time we finished eating there was nothing left but a skeleton of fish bones.

The Hellshire Beach Vibe

The actual beach is beautiful with nice sand and warm water – it’s Kingston area and bound to be hot out! The entire beach is lined with wooden food huts which I was told, all serve fried fish. I asked what’s the difference and why they chose the one we ate at and they said sometimes price and the way it’s cooked. They just liked this one.

There are also plenty of tall wooden beach chairs to chill out on while sipping rum and watching kids play football in the sand. Occasionally, beach vendors will come up and try to sell you everything from snacks to jewellery to whatever else they have for sale that day. Same as every other beach on the island but this one has a much more local vibe – hardly any tourists. I found it hard to believe I was so close to Kingston yet seemed so far from the hustle of the big city.

One thing to note is that washrooms and change areas are not free to the public – you might pay $50 jmd to use a toilet. I got off the hook by telling the “bathroom guy” that I have already spent money at a restaurant on the beach and he seemed fine with that. Before my swim I didn’t want to pay to use a change room so one of the guys I was with found me a quiet spot and held up a towel while I changed behind it. I didn’t realize until I was naked that I was standing in a pile of ants and getting bit to death but I couldn’t do anything about it because I had nothing on!

hellshire beach portmore

hellshire beach portmore

hellshire beach portmore

We lingered in the water under the hot afternoon sun for quite a while and it was magical.

Unless you’re already in the Kingston / Portmore area this was a hell of a drive just to hit the beach for a day. If you’re coming from the north coast plan to make it an entire day trip and get home after dark.

As I mentioned, I did this road trip twice in two weeks – the second time there were 5 of us. Some of my Canadian friends had arrived in Jamaica and I really wanted them to experience something new and great away from the normal tourist areas of the island. Hellshire beach is a fabulous day trip to take with good friends, spend the day and come home well tired. And if you’re lucky you might catch a spectacular sunset on your drive home like we did!

hellshire beach portmore

portmore jamaica sunset

18 Comments

  • Nae says:

    Just near my second home, Look forward to being there in a few weeks,
    Great information for people! 🙂

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  • Dave Rowley says:

    Very pretty beach! Amazing to see a beach so un-crowded so near to Kingston!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Kristi says:

    Naomi, you definitely need to check it out! I can hook you up with a ride if you want!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • awesome pics,definitely would like to spend some time there!,thanks for sharing!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Christopher says:

    i see my house in your pics… Awesome! =D

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Kristi says:

    Which house in which picture Chris??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Jamie says:

    I have always wanted to go there ever since I heard Mr. Vegas sing about it and saw it in his video for Sweet Sweet Jamaica. LOL

    I hope I make it there someday. I will know to put my suite on under my clothes and to bring my own toilet paper, as always.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Shari says:

    Erm, in all my life I have never seen Hellshire that empty before. You must have gone on a weekday! And when I went this summer there was no sand! i kept standing on pebbles! It was so crowded and the shops were literally ON the water’s edge…. such a contrast from my childhood days. I =’m glad you enjoyed it though. And you are right – the best fried fish in all of jamaica!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Kristi says:

    Shari I went twice in the same week and it was quiet both times. I loved it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Jessica says:

    Haha, you definitely didn’t go on a weekend, because otherwise you would have been lost a crowd of hundreds of people–it’s where everyone goes Sundays… INSANE!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Linda says:

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I have been going here for years and you must be very very very careful due to broken glass and bottles under the sand. We have pulled out broken bottle after bottle from underneath the sand in the water and have cut my foot once. Not sure if they are washing up from other areas, or people are throwing them in the water during parties and night beach, but due to this I prefer the beaches on the north coast anyday… fried fish and music blasting on the weekends is the best though !!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Kristi says:

    Thanks for the warning Linda!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Noname says:

    TO beware of tourist scammers who go to that beach and find white people in town to go there and will take you there have them order fish and things and try to take you for a hundred us dollars and take you to atm machine.. to get it.
    and other things to on beside broken glass

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Kristi says:

    Noname, I guess we all have to be aware of our surroundings and be smart. People at Hellshire also try to charge tourists to use the bathroom but come on….I’ve never had to pay for a toilet in my life. Why would I do it there?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • shemoya says:

    love this place

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • kim says:

    Well I live in Portmore. .so I alwaysgo to Hellshire
    But ochos rios is where I would like to visit one day..its hard to go there when you dont really know any one there

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Pierre says:

    I went to Hellshire last month and its very sad badly the beach is eroding. The incoming tide is now almost up to the shops. I gather the problem could be solved with some artificial reefs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Kristi says:

    I noticed that in Negril the last time I was there too. It just isn’t what it used to be, but then again, it’s not my hangout place of choice so it doesn’t affect me. But all of this affects people and the island in the long run.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *