We spent New Years week creating content for a magical bed & breakfast called Iya Ites, which is local dialect for ‘higher heights’. It sits on the top of the mountain overlooking the bay in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Iya Ites is an intimate hidden gem, far from crowded tourist destinations that most think of when Jamaica comes to mind. They are getting back on their feet after pandemic shutdowns, and the experience offered here is the most local one I’ve ever had. Kind people, colorful fruits I’ve never seen before, blue mountain coffee as you wake up to the ocean, turquoise waterfalls & black sand beaches all just a short drive away. ‘Twas an honor to be tasked with photographing the beauty of this place for all to see. Port Antonio is lush & vibrant–If you’re looking for a unique Caribbean adventure, I cannot recommend Iya Ites enough.
A few trip highlights:
- Chef Willie’s breakfasts: June plum juice & traditional Jamaican dishes served with such happiness–he told us not to “enjoy”, but to “Full-joy”!
- Farmer chopping down fresh coconut (Jelly) & sugar cane for us
- Enough Jerk Chicken to last a lifetime–oh & Jamaican beef patties. so good.
- Massive speaker stacks lining the streets blasting reggae all hours of the day
- Surfing at Boston Beach in the clearest blue water–such a cool surprise to surf in the Caribbean
- Seeing the Rio Grande via bamboo raft; it felt like we were in the amazon. The combo of quiet, cold water, red-stripe in hand, and the best of views made for a perfect first day.
- The exotic fruit trees planted all over the property by Charmaine, the owner of Iya Ites, years ago. We tried ackee, fresh cacao, breadfruit, and a bunch of other things that you’ll just need to go and try for yourself!
- Group hangs on the yoga terrace, sometimes with a special guest DJ & his homemade boom-box, dancing, singing, looking through photos, lots of laughs, and views of mountain and ocean from all sides.
- Hiking up Reach Falls through bamboo forest and turquoise water
- The slow pace of everything. Starting the new year over here with good friends, no rush, and no place to be was a dream. I hope there will be much more of this in 2023!