Ian Fleming once wrote in The Man with the Golden Gun “the first law for a secret agent is to get his geography right”, so it’s only fitting that any Bond fan should discover the birthplace of the 007 escapades - Jamaica. Fleming fell in love with this Caribbean gem when he was a British intelligence officer, and declared that one day he would live in Jamaica, swim in its glistening waters and write novels on its sandy shores. A man of his word, every winter following 1954’s Live and Let Die saw a new novel of the adventures of iconic British spy, James Bond.
When the war had ended, Fleming’s dream began in 1946 when he purchased the land adjacent to the Golden Clouds Estate, building a property on the edge of a rugged cliff and overlooking its own private beach. Now a luxury resort, nestled within flourishing greenery, a blue lagoon and 500ft of pristine beach, Fleming’s Villa still remains, boasting five bedrooms, opulent cottages, a pool house, and Fleming’s original writing desk. Enjoy glass bottom boat trips in the sparkling Oracabessa Bay waters, open-air dining in the Gazebo, or even a game of beachfront backgammon!
Laughing Waters Beach
Probably the most memorable Bond scene, where Ursula Andress gracefully emerges from the ocean, conch shell in hand, to greet a stunned Sean Connery. The location of this famous film moment is Laughing Waters beach, situated just a 10 minute drive west of Ocho Rios. A motorboat ride will take you here, where you can admire its rugged rock pools, shallow waters and soft sands lined with swaying palms. Take a picnic with you for a relaxing afternoon, or recreate this iconic scene for a great photo opportunity!
Rafting the Rio Grande
When he wasn’t writing, Fleming embraced the stunning natural landscape of Jamaica, including the Rio Grande River which winds through the Blue Mountains. Rafts were initially used here to transport produce from the interior of the island to coastal towns, but Errol Flynn discovered it was much more entertaining as a pastime, and Fleming agreed. Afternoons would be spent meandering on wicker rafts through the river’s valley, dominated by bamboo and banana groves and described by Fleming as an ‘elegant and delicately romantic adventure’. Rafting tours are still available today, with skilled raft captains using poles to ease you down the Rio Grande’s lush valley.
Falmouth Swamp Safari
Hidden within two acres of blooming wetlands, set between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, Falmouth Swamp Safari is where 80 specimens of crocodile, indigenous iguanas and rare, local birds call home. This is also the spot where Bond perilously scaled the backs of a line of lounging reptiles to reach safety, but it wasn’t Roger Moore who dared perform this spectacular stunt. Instead, Ross Kananga, who founded the farm in the late 1970s, was nominated as Moore’s stunt double. Today, you can still spot tropical birds in the walk-through aviary and observe crocodiles being called and fed by croc handlers - but we don’t encourage you to reconstruct this terrifying feat!
Dunn’s River Falls
These giant, natural stairs cascade with glittering waters, and climbing the falls has been done by locals as well as tourists for many years. But before it was developed, when the crevices were entirely sculpted by the water’s current, it was the film location for Dr No in 1962, when James Bond and Honey Ryder took a dip in the gleaming waterfalls. Dunn’s River Falls still remains one of Jamaica’s national treasures, and some of the man-made improvements mean it is safe and equally stimulating to scale the falls, hand-in-hand with your team of fellow travellers.