After five continents, 13 countries, and hundreds of cervezas, we found the world's 15 best beach towns, places where locals share their secret break, lunch comes straight from the sea, and you fantasize about staying for good. Whether you want an escape from winter's cold gloom or a hot summer break in the northern hemisphere, there's a beach town that's warm in every season.
Port Antonio, Jamaica
Jamaica has an image problem: It's either college girls raging bachelorette-style in Montego Bay or that dude from work coming back from Negril with a fucking braid in his hair. But there's a whole other Jamaica out there, as long as you're willing to put in a little effort.
Here's how: Just a couple of hours from Kingston, along the island's prettiest mountain roads, is a wild, resort-free slice of tropical perfection called Port Antonio. One of its beaches, Frenchman's Cove, was used for the country's classic travel-agency posters; another, the Blue Lagoon, is where a pubescent Brooke Shields went all feral-sexy.
Villas built by an early jet-set crew that included Errol Flynn and Ian Fleming – and which have been converted into budget guesthouses and superluxe rentals – dot the hillside. The most original stay is hotel-and-recording-studio Geejam. But even with all its international influence, Port Antonio is a real Jamaican town. Bike to the beach or to the spliff-and-dancehall-fueled Roof Club (11 West St, 876-715-5281), full of locals and blissed-out expats. For jerk chicken, it's Boston Bay; for reggae, get down at one of the sonic boom sound-system parties.
More information: Fly to Kingston and drive two hours northeast. Geejam's villas are set into the rugged hills. [From $495; geejamhotel.com]
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