The Puerto Seco Comeback
Major plans are underway at this north coast watering hole
On record as the first Jamaican location that Christopher Columbus sailed to in 1494, Discovery Bay’s Puerto Seco Beach is a stunning aesthetic wonder deeply rooted in history. Today the picturesque location is set to be even more alluring with an expansive renovation under the direction of businessman Kenny Benjamin of the Guardsman Group Limited, with a beach club concept that combines the elements of entertainment, dining, art and fashion.
The popular eight-acre beach owned by Jamaica Bauxite Mining Limited (JBML) has made a 20- year lease arrangement with the Guardsman Group, which is located on the north coast of St Ann. Situated a short drive west of Ocho Rios, it is in close proximity to other well known attractions such as Dunn’s River Falls, Dolphin Cove and the Green Grotto Caves.
The beach was named Puerto Seco (Dry Harbor) by Columbus due to its lack of fresh water flowing in by river. Groundwater, however, enters the bay through subterranean cracks in the basement limestone wall, making for calm and shallow water. It is this tranquil aquatic atmosphere, brimming with sparkling white sand and clear water that has over time brought numerous families and friends to the locale for fun beach days. “I used to go there around 40 years ago with my parents,” reminisces Jamaica Tourist Board Chairman John Lynch. “It was looked upon as one of the best bathing beaches and brought a lot of wealth to the community.” Expounding he continues, “a bit later I also remember children coming in by the bus load on trips. Things like this created wealth as local and not only international tourism creates wealth within pockets.”
Having owned a home in the Discovery Bay environs for over 35 years, Erica Hamilton also ruminates about the Puerto Seco days of past, “I’ve been going there since I was 14 and the things that stand out to me are the beautiful sheltered beach, calm water and a long slide.”Thrilled with the idea of a Puerto Seco upgrade, she is also quick to point out that she hopes it will open up opportunities for locals in the area.