Port Antonio, Jamaica

If you want to see real Jamaica, not the walled-in compound of a mega-resort, head to Port Antonio at the base of the Blue Mountains on the lush, un-touristed northeast coast. The birthplace of jerk cooking — and home to some of the island's most pristine, unpopulated beaches — also has a fantastic new place to stay: The Trident Hotel. Luxe but laid-back, chic but not pretentious, the minimalist-futuristic villas are all oceanfront, with giant glass doors that look out over private plunge pools (heated to hot-tub temperatures) and the churning Caribbean beyond. Originally built in the 1960s during Port Antonio's long-forgotten tourist boom, the hotel was recently renovated and reopened by transplanted New York(and London) music-biz veteran Jon Baker and his Hong Kong-based partner Steve Beaver, who also run the treehouse-style Geejam Hotel up the road. It's a great base to explore Port Antonio's river rafting, surfing, snorkeling reefs, jerk chicken stands, and weed-scented public market. Or just hang at the hotel's protected beach and eat fresh-caught sushi in Mike's Supper Club, where local jazz and mento stars play twice weekly. [From $540; Tridentportantonio.com]