This Little-known Clear Lagoon in Jamaica Is One of the Most … – Travel + Leisure

And it's right next to Monkey Island.
Evie Carrick is a writer and editor who’s lived in five countries and visited well over 50. She now splits her time between Colorado and Paris, ensuring she doesn't have to live without skiing or L'As du Fallafel.
There’s plenty of white sand and clear, pale-blue water in Jamaica, but the island’s Blue Lagoon offers a different experience entirely. For starters, the protected body of water on the northeastern side of the island tends to be darker in color — ranging from a rich turquoise to a deep jade color that shifts with the light. The cove-like lagoon opens to the Caribbean Sea, but is also fed by underground freshwater springs. The mix of warm salt water and cool spring water is part of what makes this destination so special — and the perfect place to take a dip on a hot day.
In addition to being a remarkable sight, the Blue Lagoon is shrouded in mystery and myth. It was once believed to be a bottomless lagoon that was inhabited by a dragon. You’ll have to talk to a local about recent dragon sightings, but the “bottomless” lagoon is actually measurable (yet still impressive) at 200 feet deep.
Visitors can explore the lagoon from a flat bamboo raft piloted by a tour guide (try booking the Rio Grande Rafting Tour in advance, or approach a local guide upon arrival for an impromptu tour). In addition to floating around and swimming in the lagoon, you can make your way to the nearby Monkey Island (aka Pellew Island). The tiny island right off the coast was once inhabited by a colony of monkeys that belonged to American painter Alfred Mitchell’s son-in-law Hiram Bingham, who was an explorer. These days, the island is monkey-free, but remains a special place that is free of any infrastructure. Monkey Island’s small, shaded beach is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or play in the clear, shallow waters. And at low tide, you can actually walk to the island from the mainland.
The Blue Lagoon and Monkey Island are found just east of Port Antonio in the island’s lush Portland Parish. The sight is more remote than some — just over 2.5 hours from Kingston and more than four hours from Montego Bay — which adds to its appeal. Upon arrival, you’ll be met with a line of souvenir shops and local guides who are more than happy to take you out on the water — rain or shine. (Rates vary by tour company but tend to be around $30.)
Because the lagoon has limited facilities, make sure to pack everything you'll need for the day — including food. There are vendors selling drinks and snacks, but the area, which is right off the main road, is still quite rural.
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