Most people think of Jamaica as the poster child for beach vacations and rightly so. With miles of coastline, there are beaches galore.
Even if you aren’t a die-hard beach lover, you’ll probably find yourself going to the beach a few times during your Jamaica vacation. For sure, other people in your group will care about the beach. In fact, the most common question that we get asked about our villa in Jamaica isn’t where is Mais Oui Villa; but, how far is the beach.
We get asked this question so often that we made a video of us walking to the beach.
Mais Oui Villa is a 2 to 3-minute walk from the beach affectionately called “Little Beach”, a beach so beautiful that it has been designated as a scenic view by the Jamaican government.
It is a cozy and secluded beach cove which is part of the Rio Bueno Harbour. The amount of sandy beach that is available varies with the tide and the time of year.There is a reef a little further out from shore which translates into good snorkeling. The sea is usually quite calm and is good for swimming and kayaking.
It’s a great beach for kids who will enjoy gathering shells and unusual stones, building sand castles, finding sea glass, The staff will get you set up with beach chairs and towels and will also bring the kayaks down. A picnic on the beach is also a special treat which the staff would be happy to arrange.
We like this beach primarily because not only is it a stone’s throw from the villa but it has an intimate, almost private, feel. Very rarely do you encounter other people at that beach. And, when you do it is usually guests from a nearby villa.
There is a wooden staircase with about 20 steps that leads down to the sea. Although the stairs are not steep, the beach is not handicap accessible.
There is a larger beach, called Big Beach, or Bengal Beach, about a 1-2 minute drive around the bay at Rio Bueno Harbor. You can walk to it but you have to do so along the main road.There is a walkway on the other side of the guard rail which is safer than walking on the shoulder of the road, which we do not recommend. The vehicles speeding by may be a little intimidating so we prefer and recommend driving.
Big Beach has lots of space to spread out, picnic, or jog along the shore. The Bengal River, which is thought by some to be the fresh water that attracted Columbus to land in 1494, enters the sea near this beach.
Sometimes Big Beach can get a little crowded because it is also the end of the river rafting and river tubing tours, which are popular with tourists. The nice thing though is that the beach is big enough for you to snag a quiet spot at one of the further ends of the beach.
We like this beach because it has more of a small town beach club feel to it. There are restrooms. There is a restaurant with wifi just walking distance from it. We are allowed to bring our beach chairs and umbrellas and set up here without charge, which is nice.
One possible drawback with Little Beach and Big Beach, which are both part of the Rio Bueno Harbor, is that if there has been heavy rainfall in the surrounding hills, the water clarity at both beaches will drop due to the contributions from the Rio Bueno River. Clearly, this is weather-dependent. The good news is that it usually clears within 24-48 hours.
One of the coolest things about our location in Discovery Bay is that we are very close to an additional five spectacular beaches, each providing a different experience.
Some of these beaches are generally not going to be on any list of the top 10 beaches in Jamaica; not because they aren’t fantastic beaches, but because these are lesser-known beaches and we want to keep it that way. Shh, we don’t want the throngs of people from the cruise ships coming to these beaches.
For sure, there are more than five, but to date, these are the beaches that Dave, our concierge and van driver, chooses for our guests. And no, he doesn’t get any kickbacks from referring people to these beaches.
If guests would like an alternative to the two closest beaches, Little Beach or Big beach, the top recommendation is for Burwood Beach.
Located just outside of Falmouth, Jamaica, about 15 minutes west of Mais Oui Villa, the pure white sand, clear calm waters, and long stretch of beach has made this beach a favorite of Jamaicans for eons. The facilities have been upgraded with improved changing rooms and a children’s play area. Other than a few vendors at the entrance, there aren’t people bothering you to either sell you what you don’t want or need or to have your hair braided.
Burwood is free for Jamaicans but tourists pay a small fee for entry and use of the facilities. You are allowed to bring in your own food and lounge chairs, which is nice. This is a great beach for lounging, volleyball, or picnicking as there are wide areas of sand. This is a very relaxing beach and is great for families.
This beach is right in the center of town in Discovery Bay, about 5 minutes east of Mais Oui Villa. When I was a child, going to the beach meant going to Puerto Seco. This was, and still is, a popular spot for school trips. It is the perfect stretch of pure, soft, white sand and calm blue waters. You can walk pretty far out before it gets deep. It has always been a great family friendly beach. Vendors have never been allowed on this beach.
The beach is under new management and is currently undergoing major renovations. There are some beautiful cabanas that have gone in already. There are all sorts of speculation about the different enhancements that will be included. We are really happy about the reinvestment in the area.
There has always been an entrance fee for this beach park. With the level of investment that is being made, that will undoubtedly remain. It will be interesting to see if they bring back the restaurant and whether or not they will allow outside food to be brought in.
This is a very popular free beach just outside of Runaway Bay, about 15 minutes east of Mais Oui Villa.
There is a bar. On weekends and holidays, there is a restaurant. There is no entrance fee. These three factors make Flavours Beach the party beach for St. Ann’s parish. Due to the popularity of the beach, parking can sometimes be tight.
It is a great swimming beach. There is a long stretch of beach so it is great for walks.The width of the sand on the beach is relatively small so this isn’t a beach where you see a lot of people with lounge chairs.
The sand here is kind of golden colored and not white like at Burwood. The sea is usually calm, but not as calm as Puerto Seco.
If you would like to experience a more local flavor, no pun intended, Flavours is the beach for you.
If members of your group are golfers and don’t care for going to the beach, the golf course in Runaway Bay is about 1 minute’s drive away.
If you want a casual beach with a great vibe and would love some great local seafood, you can hang out at Sharkie’s beach, just under 20 minutes from Mais Oui Villa.
From here, there are options to go out on a boat to do snorkeling and fishing. The beach is small but has ample space for lounging. There is no entrance fee but the expectation is that you will be using their services or eating at the restaurant. Swimming is not the main draw at this beach. Most people come here for the restaurant, which just happens to be on the beach. And yes, the service can be slow. Hot tip! You can call ahead and order.
This beach is in Mammee Bay, about 25-30 minutes from the villa Mais Oui. Bamboo Blue is a nice calm white sand beach, a more expensive alternative to Sharkies, albeit with a more upscale menu. You have to be a customer at their restaurant to use their beach. Do not even consider doing otherwise. It will be embarrassing. The resturant and beach can get crowded on cruise ship days.
Not visiting Dunn’s River is like visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, especially if you are staying only about 30-35 minutes away. There is more to Dunn’s River than climbing the falls. There is a really nice beach at the bottom of the falls.There are a couple of drawbacks. The water can be very very cold where the river enters the sea; but, somehow, once you jump in, you will find it very refreshing. Due to the popularity of the falls, expect the beach to be crowded on cruise ship days.
One advantage of Dunn’s River Beach is that you can make this an all day event, if you like, by combining the visit with a wide array of nearby activities such as Dolphin Cove, Mystic Mountain or even Blue Hole.
This is a nice white sand beach with clean restrooms in the heart of Ocho Rios between the former Jamaica Grande hotel and the cruise ship pier.
It is close to restaurants so access to food is easy. There is a small entrance fee to use the beach. There are lounge chairs for rent. Here you will have access to water sports, such as jet skis and party boats. Deep sea fishing is also offered here; however, other locations provide better fishing options. There can be vendors and hair braiders on the beach which can be a nuisance. The beach can be crowded on cruise ship days.
Why aren’t they included? The focus of this article is on those beaches in Jamaica that are close to Mais Oui Villa that our guests will love without having to drive too far.
Don’t worry. We have recommendations for fantastic day trips for those adventurous enough to want to travel a little further afield and see even more of our beautiful island.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Til next time,
Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups celebrating special occasions.
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Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!