Best Weekend Getaway - 2009
Port Antonio, Jamaica
Caribbean vacations can seem out of reach — a yacht ride and a fortune away. But guess what, peeps? Tickets to Jamaica are going for just $149 roundtrip. Stay away from dangerous Kingston, touristy Ocho Rios, and Negril; opt instead for the eastern region around Port Antonio. At the colonial-style Bath Fountain Hotel & Spa, soak in tiled bathtubs filled with 92-degree mineral water from the adjacent natural hot springs, or wander up the dirt path on the mountainside to bathe in the hot springs themselves. Any cabdriver (one stayed with us for the whole day for $20) will double as tour guide and show you the Blue Lagoon (where the movie was filmed and entrepreneurial dudes take tourists on raft rides), Boston Beach (where teenaged boys rent out their personal surfboards), and the outdoor food stands where cooks invented jerk chicken. At night, fluorescent signs nailed to streetlights tell what sound system is playing in town. And while the Jamaican Tourist Board can set you up with locals via its "Meet the People" program (it's free, and you can specify whether you want to meet doctors, artists, kids, etc.), we found it safe to explore on our own, even at night. But if you dip into the doobage, be careful. Despite stereotypes, weed is illegal, and signs at bars warn: "No Ganja Allowed!"