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“Heaven on earth” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Zion Country Beach Cabins

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Zion Country Beach Cabins
Muirton Pen P.A. | Portland, Port Antonio, Jamaica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 22 Port Antonio B&B and Inns
Grimbergen
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Heaven on earth”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

Nice place, very nice manager (Owen),good food, beautifull views, nice trip towards the hidden waterfalls, nice people in the small town. Situated in a small and quiet town (but with GoGo bar ;-)) in a small bay with a view on heaven.
Heaven on earth.
Hans Heyvaert - JOKER Tour leader

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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134 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

My 8 year old daughter and I stayed at Zion Country the first week of December, 2012, and fell in love with it. If you want to experience Jamaica unspoiled by large-scale commercial tourism, Portland Parish is the place to go, and Zion Country is the perfect place to make your home while you're there.

Zion Country is nestled on a jungly hillside overlooking the mouth of the Drivers River and Manchioneal Bay. It's an incredibly picturesque spot - especially at sunrise, when the small fishing boats start making their way out into the bay. Standing on ZC's pebbly beach, look left and you see the narrow river mouth and the John Crow mountains towering above. Look right, and you see limestone cliffs and dense vegetation, and beyond that, the waves breaking over the volcanic rock where the bay meets the open sea. (The water's a little chilly here because of the river, but it's usually very clear and calm near the beach.) Look back at the hillside, and you see two little cabins, and, higher up, the terrace (where you have breakfast & dinner and hang out at night, looking out over the bay, listening to the tree frogs) and the kitchen/ larger guest room. Free-I, the owner, has planted the property with a remarkable variety of trees (almond, ackee, banana, breadfruit, coffee, etc, etc) and flowering bushes. Hurricane Sandy apparently brought down several large trees on the property, so before the storm, the property must have been even more lush.

The two little cabins each have two rooms with two beds and a nice deck, where you can sit (or better yet, set up a hammock) and watch the innumerable birds (there's a Birds of Jamaica book up in the little library to help you identify them - we spotted hummingbirds, kingfishers, egrets, herons, frigate birds, vultures, and even an owl) and the little lizards that sunbathe there. The cabins come with fans, mosquito netting, and windows that can be shuttered & locked (but it never felt like security was an issue there). The bathrooms are at the top of the hillside - a short climb up, but the steps are quite steep. The showers are at the bottom of the hillside, and use captured rain water - cool, but not really cold. I think the larger room up top has a private bathroom & shower, and maybe hot water(?).

Breakfast (included in cost of room, served at 9:00) is simple, but good - toast with guava jam, a couple of slices of orange, and a sandwich (cheese and cucumber) or hard-boiled egg, and a choice of coffee or tea. Tamar, who is always cheerful and charming, is in charge of breakfast. You will want to plan on having dinner at Zion Country (Mon through Fri at 1800), as Owen, the chef, prepares fantastic meals (fish, chicken, or veg). Everything is fresh. On Sat/Sun, you'll have to find dinner elsewhere. Just walk down the road and ask around. Finding dinner in Long Road on Sundays can be a bit of a challenge, though, as most of the folks who cook take a break on Sunday.

The community of Long Road is such an important part of the whole Zion Country experience. We found the people of Long Road friendly without exception - quick to give you a smile and a greeting, helpful if you're having trouble finding something. There are tiny shops/ food vendors/ bars - everybody there knows what each one sells, so there may not be a sign or menu, but just ask! These folks will appreciate your business (Jamaican dollars only). No hustling here. Just nice people.

Everyone seems to know Free-I - not just in Long Road, but up and down the coast - and he can hook you up with great local people (like Renny, undoubtedly one of the kindest people I've ever met, who can guide you up the river to Reach Falls). Free-I has lived in Jamaica for something like 18 yrs, and is very knowledgable about all things Jamaican. He's an interesting guy - there's nothing phony about him. A couple of reviewers have taken issue with his personality. He is not the type to kiss butt (pardon the expression). But I found him honest and helpful. I do not like to be fawned over, so his personality suited me just fine. That's one of the many great things about Zion Country: there's nothing fake about it.

So, here's my only complaint, and it's relatively minor. Hurricane Sandy washed a huge amount of leaves, branches, bamboo, coconuts and the like up onto Zion Country's little beach. In places, it's quite thick, and is putrefying. I think Free-I is waiting for a good storm to come and wash it away again (a more eco-friendly solution than burning it), but in the meantime the little beach is not nearly as nice as it could be.

Zion Country is a real find, and we plan on returning next year. There are tons of things to do and places to explore nearby. If you have a sense of adventure and want to really get to know Jamaica, Zion Country is a great choice.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Frankfurt, Germany
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

We stayed two nights at Zion Country and had a wonderful and very relaxed stay. The beach cabins have direct access to the beach and the area is really beautiful. Free-I and his team made our stay with heplful hints, delicious breakfast and dinner familial and relaxed. We can recommend Zion Country to everybody that wants to have peaceful and pleasant vacation far away from mass tourism.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Zion Country for 2 nights in the 3rd week of April, 2012. It was our first stop on a drive around the island after renting a car at the end of a week in Kingston. We were extremely happy to be able to sit back on the balcony outside our room and take in a very beautiful view of a bay.

I think Free-I has done a great service seeing the potential for beach cabins on this hillside and realizing his vision in the manner he has. Like the other positive reviewers here have explained in detail, I too appreciated the opportunity to be comfortable in a quiet part of Jamaica away from tourist places, and explore the area.

As Free-I recommends, before booking here you should read up on it, at their website and in these reviews, because it might not be the place for everyone. You are right on the hillside, surrounded by lush nature, so don't be surprised if at night the crickets and frogs may be very loud. If you are OK with that as well as with steep stairways and (clean) modest cabins, Zion Country is a very special place. A tip: if you hope to be fed upon arrival, do arrange with them ahead of time so they can be prepared for that.

We highly recommend Zion Country and are hoping to be able to stay there a for a full week when we next return to Jamaica.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

During our week in Jamaica we stayed at the Rockhouse, Ivanhoe's Guesthouse, Zion Country, and Jah-B's Guesthouse. All had their advantages, but staying with Free-I and Owen at Zion Country was definitely the best for putting us in touch with Jamaican people and culture.

We stayed over the weekend so we missed Owen's famous Ital cuisine (weekend off), but we spent our first evening enjoying beers, chicken, and conch soup with him, Free-I, other guests, and locals at the local bar/shack just up the street.

The next day Free-I served us a lovely little breakfast, hooked us up with a friendly guide at Reich Falls, directed us to a local beach, and pointed us to the best Jerk shack in Boston Bay. That night we drove with Owen to a small dance hall and enjoyed homemade goat stew.

Our final morning, we snorkled out into the bay then planned our drive to Blue Mountain with great advice from Free-I who drives across the island regularly.

The cabins are very basic, the toilets and showers are in separate buildings, the songs of the tree frogs were lovely but loud, and you get to know your neighbors, and we absolutely loved our brief stay at Zion Country and highly recommend it!

Room Tip: more steps down the hill = more privacy
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

We spent 4 days in zion country, and we definitely recommend this place.the cabin are cosy et the view from the hamac chilling out during the day or the night is amazing.zion country staff free i, owen, and tamara are very friendly.starting the day sharing breakfeast whith the owner, and he will give you some tips to enjoy your trip.the food is very good and the bar is full.if you stay there you have to meet the jamaican neighborhood, play dominos with the grandpas.i recommend for a great ecotourism experience

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Austria
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

We travelled to Jamaica in July - we had four "stops" there, our first was at Zion Country in Portland (East of the island). Zion Country Beach Cabins are small houses in the middle of a beautiful jungle-garden, at night you can only hear the noises of the jungle.
The rooms are simple but have everything you need...(except hot water, but people would know that if they read a little bit about the island in advance) - of course, if you want a suite with bathtub and hot water, you should go to one of the expensive resorts...but there you would miss the real Jamaica...and, for sure, you can have that at Zion Country.
Free-I has a great team there, Owen and Tamara, they prepare great food and are really wonderful people...you feel at home immediately. The breakfast in the middle of the garden with view to the ocean is unique and a highlight every day (even if the breakfast is simple too...usually some bread, cheese, jam, coffee and fresh fruits). The area, where Zion Country is located, is (for us) one of the most beautiful areas on the whole island...it seems very peaceful and authentic. People are very friendly and everyone knows Free-I.
From Zion Country you can do great day-trips to the Reach Falls, Winnifred Beach, Frenchman´s Cove and many other beaches (we always went by route-taxis...the Jamaican style of public transportation...you have to get used to the way they drive and that there are 25 instead of 15 passengers in one car...it´s a great experience).
So, if you go to Zion Country you can expect to get to know a piece of real Jamaica...it´s for people who come to the island in order to get in touch to Jamaican people and to understand more about the Jamaican way of life.
Free-I, Owen and Tamara are really nice people and they can help you with anything you need while your stay there...Free-I and Owen also always know about the good parties going on around.
We loved that place and we know, on our next trip to Jamaica, we will plan at least a few days at Zion Country! - It is the perfect place for relaxing...but you can also have action, if you want...
We wish the team of Zion Country all the best and hope to see you again soon!

Room Tip: There are, on the one hand, the beach cabins, which are small huts with view to the ocean, bathroom...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zion Country Beach Cabins

Address: Muirton Pen P.A. | Portland, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Portland Parish > Port Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 22 B&Bs / Inns in Port Antonio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Zion Country is a cozy bed and breakfast in the east of Jamaica.Perfect place to relax, laid back style, personal touch and the place to taste the jamaican life style.Very often we get visit from manatees , year round.We offer a lot of trips in the surrounded area from waterfalls to beaches and Blue Mountains. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zion Country Beach Cabins Hotel Port Antonio
Zion Country Beach Cabins Jamaica/Port Antonio

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