Take a journey around the island inspired by the film locations of the world’s most famous super spy – James Bond.
With its stunning natural beauty, endless sunshine and wealth of great places to stay, Jamaica is a perfect choice for those looking to unwind.
No wonder the world’s most famous super spy has chosen the island paradise as his retirement home then. Saving Queen and country from the negative intentions of assorted evil geniuses is exhausting work, after all! That’s where you’ll find 007, aka actor Daniel Craig, at the start of the latest James Bond movie, No Time to Die.
Of course, it’s not the first time this Caribbean idyll has been used as a filming location for Bond flicks. Some of the best on-screen moments in both Dr No, starring Sean Connery, and Live and Let Die, with Roger Moore, throw a spotlight on the island’s glorious natural beauty.
And 007 connections go even deeper, as the fictional character’s creator, Ian Fleming, wrote all the Bond books at his Jamaican home, GoldenEye, finding inspiration in his surroundings. Fittingly, he is said to have fallen in love with the island during World War II while investigating U-boat activities in the Caribbean.
‘Would the books have been born if I had not been living in the gorgeous vacuum of a Jamaican holiday?’ the author once wrote. ‘I doubt it.’
So, let us take you on a journey around the island to follow in the footsteps of Fleming, a real-life British Intelligence officer, to uncover much more about 007 and his special relationship with Jamaica.
Feel at Home
First stop has to be GoldenEye, Fleming’s Jamaican home, in Oracabessa Bay, just 20 minutes from the resort town of Ocho Rios. The good news for Bond fans is these days it’s a luxury resort of the same name.
GoldenEye was the codename of an intelligence operation carried out by Fleming, and the property overlooks so-called James Bond Beach, where he is said to have fallen in love with island when he saw a naked woman walking out of the sea onto the white sands. Surely this is what inspired one of the most memorable Bond scenes of all time…
In Dr No, released in 1962, actress Ursula Andress – as the voluptuous Honey Ryder – curves barely contained in a white bikini, sashays out of the sea and into her first interaction with an impressed Bond, James Bond. That scene was actually filmed at a private beach called Laughing Waters in Ocho Rios, a 20-minute boat ride from GoldenEye, but Jamaica is well endowed with many other marvellous stretches of sand to enjoy.
Out and About
Out and about, you’ll also find plenty of other 007 connections, too. Capital city Kingston was a major location for Dr No. The governor general’s home, King’s House, was used as the Government House where Bond meets UK intelligence at the beginning of his mission.
The grounds at Rose Hall Great House, a Jamaican Georgian-style mansion in Montego Bay, were also used for Live and Let Die. You can tour the house – there’s an after-dark haunted house tour, too – and the site has two great golf courses as well.
Jamaica inspired so many written passages in the Bond books, even if they haven’t actually appeared in the subsequent movies. At pretty Port Maria in northern Jamaica, Ian Fleming married long-time love Anne Rothermore in the Town Hall on March 24, 1952.
Just off the coast here sits Cabarita Island, the model for Mr Big’s ‘Isle of Surprise’ in Live and Let Die. Meanwhile, the gates of the Jamaica Swamp Safari Village in Falmouth – aka Kananga's crocodile farm in the same film – still carry the message ‘Trespassers Will Be Eaten’, exactly as they did when Roger Moore’s 007 gingerly skipped to safety over the backs of crocodiles to escape gun-toting baddies. Four-hour tours are on offer.
The Green Grotto Caves on the north coast of Jamaica were the location for many subterranean scenes in Live and Let Die, released in 1973. And Jamaica’s world-famous Dunn’s River Falls, near Ocho Rios, is famously the place where Bond and Honey splash about in the sparkling waterfall – hundreds of visitors now do the same every day.
And as well as simply seeing the film location, you can do Bond-esque activities. Ian Fleming snorkelled among the island’s brilliant multi-coloured fish every day.
Bed for a Bond
If you’re keen to sleep like a spy, head for Half Moon Bay Resort in Montego Bay, which featured in Live and Let Die and is now a 398-room luxurious resort with miles of white sand beach. It’s where Bond supposedly spends the night with the delectable Rosie Carver (according to film fan website movie-locations.com).
In the same movie, Baron Samedi, the Master of the Dead, performs his memorable voodoo nightclub act at Bond’s hotel, now remodelled as the 150-suite All Inclusive Couples Sans Souci, Ocho Rios. This beachfront gem is tucked in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, with its own mineral spring pool and an iconic Piano Bar. The resort also appeared in Dr No, the first Bond movie, as the site of Miss Taro’s bungalow.
And, of course, there’s GoldenEye itself, owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who is credited with turning the world on to reggae music. Blackwell also acted as a location scout for the Bond movie makers. The resort features a collection of villas including Fleming’s actual residence, cottages and beach huts set around tropical gardens, private beaches and secluded coves.
And after a busy day’s sightseeing the fabulous Bizot Bar beckons. Find a favourite spot to watch the glorious sunset and, like Bond himself, order a refreshing martini – shaken not stirred, naturally – and relax. Mission accomplished.