I’ve never read nor watched a James Bond book or movie but living in Jamaica, the character is familiar because of locations like this beach immortalizing his name. James Bond Beach is found along Jamaica’s northeastern coast in the quaint scenic town of Oracabessa, St. Mary. This beach is part of the late Ian Flemming’s estate, writer of 007. He lived nearby in Goldeneye, now an exclusive luxury resort, so James Bond Beach was one of his frequented swimming spots. The beach keeps its affiliation to Flemming and his series rather low-key but for true fans, swimming where your idol once did should be thrilling enough.
Combined with my Tacky Falls trip, our journey to Oracabessa really started from Islington but I’ll describe it from Kingston anyway. Drive through Constant Spring, Stony Hill, along the winding picturesque Junction road into St. Mary where you’re going left of the roundabout near the banana estates in the direction of Port Maria. From there, it’s literally one straight road and a 45 minute drive along the A3 main road which weaves inland then back out to sea towards the end of the drive for some breathtaking views. You’ll know you’re nearby after passing the Oracabessa Police station on your right and the signs for Jacks River. There’s also a sign which says 0.5km to James Bond Beach to ensure you don’t miss the right turn. The right turnoff is marked with the sign pictured above but from there it’s about another 5 minute drive to the beach’s entrance.
From there, pay the admission fee where you’ll be given an armband then allowed entry onto the property. Parking is available on the property as are lifeguards. Clean restrooms which double as changing rooms, showers, an expensive bar and restaurant, grassy field for football and volleyball and lounge chairs are the amenities available. Bring your own balls. Additional things like snorkeling equipment etc. can be rented.
The property is large but the beach itself is rather small and had a decent-sized crowd for a weekday. Thus, I can only imagine how packed it gets on weekends! Nonetheless, it’s very beautiful. I can see why it was Flemming’s chosen spot. The views are all around spectacular with turquoise blue water and the lush backdrop of trees and Jamaica’s omnipresent mountains. In terms of sand, that on the shore is rather soft but the Caribbean Sea in this spot is floored by coarser sand.
However, it wouldn’t be an honest review if I left out my pet peeves with this beach: staff not knowing how to handle a bus-load of patrons efficiently and the expensive prices but very limited menu variety. A small fish was literally JM$2,300 and it wasn’t even fresh-looking! I’m an island girl so I know and love my fish. Under no circumstance will I tolerate un-fresh fish at a beach! A quarter piece of jerk chicken was $900, yet regular street price is maximum $450. To make matters worse, they only had fries as a side order…. no festivals, bammies, breadfruit, nothing! Hopefully it isn’t always like that but first impressions last. Maybe prices are this high to pay their rent but there’s no explanation as to why no authentic Jamaican seafood side dishes were on the menu. I’d been looking forward to seafood but had to console myself with 2 coconuts instead which are sold by vendors at a stall by the turnoff from the main (at normal prices).
This beach is definitely worth the stop if you’re a serious Flemming/ James Bond fan, looking for watersports or just passing through this side of Jamaica as the beach is incredibly beautiful. However, having experienced a free north coast beach with more space, less crowds, equally as inviting water and more affordable food & drink prices, this beach unfortunately pales in comparison. It gets three stars from my book, ☆☆☆.
‘Til next time. ✌