I finally did it! On my 15 previous trips to Portland, Jamaica, I had always planned to find the charming Folly Point lighthouse but never made it. So, no more excuses. Last month I made it my mission, and… mission accomplished! While I could have chosen a somewhat sunnier day, I still like the photos I shot and it was definitely worth the trip because I just love lighthouses.
One of Port Antonio’s prettiest landmarks - the bright orange-red & white striped Folly Point Lighthouse – has lit the way for seagoing vessels on Jamaica’s northeastern coast since 1888 and is still an active lighthouse. It is solar-powered and stands about 45 feet high above the water with limestone and coral at its base. The structure is made of brick and is fireproof. The lantern flashes a white light for 2 seconds followed by 8 seconds of darkness. The light is visible for a distance of 13 miles (21 km).
Jamaica has 7 lighthouses, each one different from the others and all of them interesting in their design. The earliest was built in 1841 at Morant Point in the parish of St. Thomas. The lighthouses are all maintained by the Port Authority of Jamaica and are protected by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
To find it: Drive about 5 minutes east out of Port Antonio. As you come around the East Harbour, turn left just as you reach Folly Oval (look for the arrow on the Port Antonio map below). Or, if you’re feeling energetic, it’s a nice 30-minute walk around the harbour from town. You will find the lighthouse at the tip of the Folly Peninsula.
An entrance gate may be locked but someone is usually around to give you access. The grounds are nicely manicured and you can also enjoy the beautiful garden along the path to the lighthouse. In fact, this would make a great spot for a picnic on a beautiful day! Take in the great views of Port Antonio and Navy Island from here, and the waves of the Caribbean crashing on the shore. The site is open daily but the lighthouse tower is closed.
And don’t leave the area without seeing the eerie ruins of the Folly Great House which are right down the road.