Port Royal Travel Guide

Browse 12 travel reviews, 3 travel blogs and 489 travel photos from real travelers to Port Royal.

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Port Royal Overview

This is the place where many pirate stories of the Caribbean play, the place once called the “Most wicked city on Earth“ and “Sodom of the New World“. Jamaica once was the most important British colony in the Caribbean and Port Royal was its capital. Founded in 1518 by the Spanish at the entry of a natural harbour, it became the largest city in the Caribbean. After Jamaica was conquered by the British in 1655, it flourished as a trade town and pirate heaven until 1692. In that year, an earthquake hit Jamaica and more than half of the city sank into the harbour. Although the city was not given up, it lost its role of importance and title of capital to the other large settlement at the natural harbour: Kingston.

As in much of Jamaica, not many buildings from the colonial area are preserved. This goes especially for a town which has been destroyed twice by an earthquake (the other was in 1907). Most of the sights are located on the site of Fort Charles which was one of four such forts. The former gaol house as well as the old naval hospital are two examples for old buildings still standing. Both are unfortunately in a sorry state. The church is the only well-preserved historic building outside of Fort Charles. However, it is hoped that there will be enough funds collected in the future for archaeological researches as most of the sunken city is just a couple of metres away and only a couple of metres down in the water. Also, the harbour is full of sunken 17th and 18th century ships.

Port Royal is well connected by bus to Kingston and the airport and is therefore a popular day trip destination for those in Kingston. Many visitors also opt for a boat trip to the nearby island of Lime Cay with its white sand beach.

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