Portland Parish

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Saint Mary
Portland in Jamaica
Portland in Jamaica
Country Jamaica
County Surrey
Capital Port Antonio
Major towns Buff Bay
 • Total 814 km2 (314 sq mi)
Area rank 7
Population (2012)[1]
 • Total 82,183
 • Density 100/km2 (260/sq mi)

Portland, with its capital town Port Antonio, is a parish located on Jamaica's northeast coast. It is situated to the north of St Thomas and to the east of St Mary in Surrey County. It is one of the rural areas of Jamaica and is known for its great beaches.

Geography and demography[edit]

The parish is situated at latitude 18°10' N and longitude 75°27'W. It extends from the highest peaks of the Blue Mountains, 2,256 metres (7,402 ft) above sea level, down to the north coast, and is noted for its fertile soil, beautiful scenery, and fine beaches. The parish lies in the direct path of the northeast trade winds, and the Blue Mountain ridge to its south traps the moisture causing the parish to have the highest rainfall in the island. Port Antonio, its chief town and capital, has two harbours, the western one being sheltered by a small islet, Navy Island. Portland covers an area of 814 square kilometers, making it Jamaica's seventh largest parish.

The parish has a variety of complex landforms; the entire coastline is dotted with caves, bays, rivers, waterfalls and hills. There are fourteen caves, which include those at Buff Bay, Orange Bay, Hope Bay, Port Antonio, Boston Bay, Long Bay, Innis Bay and Nonsuch. There are also 17 rivers which form a network throughout the parish. The largest are the Rio Grande, Buff Bay and Hectors rivers.

The population of Portland is an estimated 82,183, 15,000 of whom live in the capital town. Its people are 89.8% black, 1.2% white, 5.3% Asians, 2.6% mixed race, and 1.1% other.



The parish is a leading producer of bananas, coconuts, breadfruits, coffee, mangoes and ackee which are grown for export as well as local consumption. Portland has very rich land on its coastal strips that is suitable for any kind of cultivation, so many domestic crops are grown. Manufacturing is a small sector of the economy, with about 18 factories. They also do farming.


Portland by and large remains a playground for the wealthy, many of whom own property there. A number of tourist facilities exist, including Trident Villas and Hotel, Jamaica Palace, Dragon Bay Villas, Goblin Hill Hotel, Jamaica Crest, Fern Hill Club, and Mocking Bird Hill, which cater to people of varying wealth. There is a growing emphasis on eco-tourism, which could be sensitively developed in the parish.


Because of its natural attractions, tourism has often flourished in the parish. It is noted for its fine beaches, such as Frenchman's Cove, Boston Beach, Winifred, and Dragon Bay. The very famous Blue Mountains are also located in Portland, as is the world-famous Blue Lagoon, which is believed to be the crater of an extinct volcano. The lagoon is an almost landlocked cove with approximately 55 m (180 ft) of water. Rafting on the Rio Grande is also a tourist attraction.

Boston Jerk Centre in Portland is an area well known for its famous "jerked" foods, including chicken, fish and pork. Jerked foods are foods made with Jamaican jerk spice.

Other activities[edit]

Since the early 1950s, more than 782 film or screen productions have been shot in Portland. Two of the most popular are Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Walt Disney (USA) in 1954 and The Harder They Come by Vista Productions (Jamaica) in 1972. Scenes from the film Cocktail starring Tom Cruise were shot at the bar on the beach at the Dragon Bay resort. An early film edition of the 1963 version of Lord of the Flies was largely shot at Frenchman's Cove; the 1990 remake by Harry Hook was filmed largely at Frenchman's Cove and Snow Hill. Rihanna filmed the video for her song 'Man Down' in various locations throughout the parish in April/May 2011.






Notable residents[edit]

  • Edward Baugh (b. 1936) - Jamaican writer and lecturer, resided in Portland and attended Titchfield High School.
  • Errol Flynn (1909–1959) - American film and screen star, made Portland his home with an expansive estate to the east of the parish. His wife Patrice Wymore Flynn resided there until her death on 22 March 2014.
  • Roy Reid (b. 1937) - Jamaican painter, grew up in Portland.


  1. ^ "Population by Parish". Statistical Institute of Jamaica. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 18°08′N 76°32′W / 18.133°N 76.533°W / 18.133; -76.533