Frenchmans Cove Beach Jamaica

Frenchman’s Cove Ltd. San San, Port Antonio P.O. BOX # 101, Portland, Jamaica, W.I Phone: +1 (876) 993-7270, Phone: +1 (876) 564-9779, Phone: +1 (876) 993-7406

It has been said by many that Frenchmans Cove Beach Jamaica is the most beautiful beach in the world. If it is not, it certainly is a contender and that is without question. Frenchmans cove beach located in the Parish of Portland.  

Frenchman's Cove is a hidden treasure that from 1950s was only available to the rich and famous.  What is more Frenchmans Cove hotel that was built nearby was actually the very first all-inclusive hotel in the world and was also rated as the most expensive. However since the1980s this gorgeous place became available to general public.

Frenchman's cove beach is a private lagoon and probably one of the most photographed places in the Caribbean. It is indeed picture perfect surrounded on both sides by vegetated rocky cliffs. There is a stunning contrast between the dark green rainforest, deep blue sky, turquoise sea water and bright white sand. All of this makes this place truly special. Just a few steps from the sea there is a lazy serpentine river with crystal clear fresh water coming all the way from the mountains. Water in the river is cold, while water in the sea is really warm. The mix of these two makes the experience of swimming in Frenchmans Cove so interesting and refreshing.


Apart from the obvious positives of enjoying one of the most beautiful beaches in the world Frenchmans Cove also has quite a few amenities. First of all there is a convenient parking area. So feel free to come with your car. The garden and grass area nearby can be used for playing games Frenchmans Cove also has an independently operated beach bar and
grill serving traditional Jamaican dishes. Ranging from jerk chicken to lobster. You will find a few tables in the sand. Shower and bathrooms are also available.

The Negatives

Such a paradise is there even a negative side to this place. First of all, using all these amenities as well as private beach itself attracts an entrance fee. It's $12 US dollars per adult or or $1000 Jamaican dollars with a local discount

  • The beach operates from 9am to 5pm. So if you want to watch sunset well sorry unless you book the whole beach to yourself like for a wedding venue for example.
  • It is not permitted for guests to bring their food and drink to Frenchmans Cove beach. Meaning you should buy them directly from a bar and restaurant on the beach
  • The water is actually quite deep which is perfect for those who love to swim but can be a bit tricky for non-swimmers and also some people find the mixed water a bit too cold for their liking. We suggest to simply swim at the other side of the beach further from the refreshing river.
  • Weekends and public holidays the beach can be a bit crowded. So if you want a more secluded experience come earlier in the morning and on weekdays.
  • Also note if you are traveling during Covid times make sure to call
    Frenchmans Cove in advance to confirm if they are operating. 

History of Frenchman's cove Beach

Frenchman's cove is believed to be named after an old fork tale that describes a battle between the British and the French near the cove. It is said that the British defeated the French and wounded soldiers sought refuge in the Cove. Hence the name Frenchmans Cove.

However the records and old maps show that originally the place was known by the name Cold Harbor and from 1798 it was a part of Cold Harbor estate which was a sugar plantation and a cotton mill. When at the end of the 19th century all plantations were eliminated the owners were looking for someone to buy their land.

In 1902 it was sold to an American entrepreneur from Boston Lorenzo dal Baker. He was famous for launching the banana industry at that time. He saw the potential in tourism. However in 1941 when the Baker family returned to Boston the property was sold back to Cold Harbor limited which was already a local company in Kingston Jamaica.

After the decline of sugar trade, then banana trade and absence of tourism due to world wars the situation with economy in Jamaica and especially in Portland parish was getting really bad.

Therefore in 1948 Cold harbor limited launched a campaign to bring back Portland's wealth and beauty. Cold harbour estate was divided into over 300 lots. Most only a couple of acres each but with a few very large lots near the ocean. This is how the area became a part-time home to many rich and famous and why a huge wave of tourism started in Portland in 1960s. 

Frenchmans Cove 45 acres of land including the beach itself was bought by Canadian billionaire Garfield Weston and yes the Weston family they go from rags to riches. From being like simple Bakers to now controlling 200 companies including Canada's largest supermarket chain Loblaw's. So Garfield Weston acquired the place in 1956 and it is said that Cold Harbour limited stipulated in the purchase contract that this unique site become a public resort. This was to help the development of Frenchman's cove in particular and the region in general. It was Weston family who invested into building Frenchman's Hotel and promoting it to royalties.

Hurricanes in 1980s badly damaged the whole Parish and it took some time before the Frenchmans Cove property and the beach itself were restored, it was grander. Weston who turned it from a resort for only the very, very rich into a place available to the general public.

So now it hosts weddings ,yoga retreats and families from all over the globe, but the beach itself is open year round to everyone

Frenchman's cove is mostly used by locals unfortunately tourists don't often come to Portland nowadays, since it's a four-hour drive from the main international airport in Montego bay. They should because Portland is an incredibly beautiful Parish and Frenchmans Cove is just one of its jewels, We are so lucky that its beauty has been preserved despite erosion  from hurricanes and human activity,  and that it is no longer a secluded beach retreat for some celebrities but open to any one of us to enjoy