Summer time is beach time and if you’re in the St Catherine and Kingston and St Andrew area, one of the best places to go is Hellshire. The area features two popular beaches next door to each other: the often teeming Fisherman’s Beach, also called Hellshire Beach and the more reserved Fort Clarence Beach. Both come alive on weekends as Jamaicans from all walks of life arrive in droves.
Named for the nearby fort, which played a critical role in the defence of the island during the 18th century, Fort Clarence is one of the most popular beaches in south eastern Jamaica. There is a nominal cost for entry to the beach, which offers the typical sun, sea and sand, complete with changing rooms, lifeguards, security, picnic grounds, a restaurant and bar and snack shops. It is also a popular venue for concerts.
If you want a more communal feel on your beach adventure, along with a wider variety of eateries to choose from (and no entry fee), then Fisherman’s Beach is your best fit. This is the home of the popular ‘festival,’ a delicious fried dumpling with a dash of sugar, served with seafood – mainly steamed or fried fish and lobster. You can also get cassava bammies with your seafood, said by many to be the best in Jamaica.
For the adventurous, the surrounding Hellshire Hills is a largely untouched expanse of limestone land, classified as a dry tropical forest, which is home to wild hogs, the endangered Jamaican coney and the Jamaican iguana, once thought to be extinct.
Two Sisters Caves
Two Sisters Caves is the final stage of a collapsed limestone cavern. It is home to a variety of life forms, including the greater bulldog or fisherman bat, the blue crab, the big mouth sleeper and several migratory birds.
The entrance to the cave is in semi-desert surroundings overlooking Kingston Harbour. The caves are separated by fallen rocks and accessed by sturdy wooden staircases that lead down to the caves, which are filled with brackish fossil water. They are estimated to be more than 200,000 years old. See opening hours and entry fees here.
Check out this discoverjamaica.com feature for additional information on these attractions and more in Hellshire.