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Most people's reason for visiting Port Royal is to visit the complex of Fort Charles and its adjacent buildings.
The area was originally used by the Spanish for boat repair, but then the British arrived and built a fort, originally Fort Cromwell, and latterly Fort Charles.
There is a great tradition of piracy in the area, as commemorated in the recent "Pirates of the Caribbean" film.
The area has an unfortunate natural history with an earthquake and tidal wave in 1692 causing great loss of life, then a fire in 1703 devestating the rebuilt town. More recently, an earthquake in 1907 again devastated the place. All this upheaval has meant that the Fort, which was originally on the water's edge, is now some considerable distance from the sea.
There are a few very large old cannon, remembering the association with the Royal Artillery, and the very aptly named Giddy House, a building tilted at an incredible angle but completely intact as the result of the 1907 earthquake. If you want to know why it's called the Giddy House, just walk inside, it's makes you feel really unbalanced.
There is a small museum in the place, although there is not much in it. Admittance, including the museum, is $100J.
Updated Apr 10, 2005
Address: Port Royal, Jamaica
No, I didn't make a mistake when composing the title of this tip by using the example, I really mean it. Don't miss the fresh seafood!. Gloria's isn't really a restaurant, it's a few tables set out on either side of a road, with the food coming from a wooden hut. And what food it is. The selection is limited to fish or seafood, but it really is excellent.
Start with the fish tea, which despite it's name is actually a thick fish soup. You then have a choice of fresh fish or seafood cooked in a couple of different ways. I had the curried shrimp which was excellent. Drinks consist of soft drinks or beer.
Favorite Dish: Curried shrimp. Large, very fresh shrimp cooked in a tasty but not overpoweringly hot Caribbean curry sauce. Delicious.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Right opposite the police station on the corner.
An interesting diversion on the road to Port Royal is to visit one of the two graveyards. there may well be more than two but that's all I ofund.
A browse throught the headstones tells it's own story of the lot of the British soldiers and settlers from centuries ago. Whilst there were deaths from the wArs and violence of the times, far more succoumbed to disease and fever, particularly yellow fever. A quick read of a military history book revealed that a 19th century posting to a British regiment in the "Indies" was tantamount to a death sentence, with some regiments losing over half their strength to disease.
If, like me, you love looking round old graveyards, you will be fascianted by these two.
I can't really give directions, as the plots are not marked, and there are no landmarks to guide you, but they are both on the left hand side as you drive from Port Royal, perhaps 2 - 3 miles from town.
Updated Apr 10, 2005