Jamaica

Jamaica location map

Jamaica

In the early 50’s Ian Fleming wanted to settle in the Caribbean. He was looking for a suitable place where he could return every winter and write about the adventures of his new hero James Bond. His friend Noel Coward told him about the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, Jamaica. Here you will find Fleming's former home Goldeneye and filming locations from Sean Connery's first Bond film Dr. No (1962) and Roger Moore's first, Live and Let Die (1973).

Below is a summary of the full story Underneath The Mango Tree, as featured in full in the travel guide.
When Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman decided in 1961 that Dr. No would become James Bond’s first movie adventure, they immediately went to Jamaica to look for possible locations, together with Terence Young, the director. This exploration was remembered by EON in 1972, when they were again looking for a Caribbean location for Roger Moore’s first Bond movie, Live and Let Die. Their decision paid off, and the wonders of Jamaica surely came fully to their right in both films.

In our search for Bond locations, we wondered whether certain places would still be recognizable, especially those used in 1961-62. But we can assure you; Jamaica is just as ‘relaxed’ as it was in the 60’s and 70’s. Not much has changed. All tourists coming in by airplane arrive at Montego Bay, situated in the Northwest of the island. This is a good point to start off your trip.

The Bond locations are all over the island, so it is advisable to rent a car and drive around. Do not count on public transportation, because it doesn’t exist on Jamaica. The rental cars are mostly brand new Japanese cars and very comfortable. The roads in the north are reasonable, but the further you get from the tourist area, the worse the roads get. Jamaicans drive on the left, so if you’re not used to this, it’s better to practice first on your hotel’s grounds. Another important thing is the driving style. Be sure to have a good insurance and even then: Watch out! Most Jamaicans drive like maniacs and assume you are one of them.
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Montego Bay and Negril 

In the heart of Montego Bay, located at the junction of Barnett Street and Harbour Street, is Gunpoint Wharf. Here are the docks where James Bond and Solitaire hire Quarrel Jr., in Live and Let Die. At the Montego Bay Club the crew stayed in 1972 to shoot the Montego Bay scenes. MoBay, as the town is being called, offers some fine beaches and a lot of hotels. This really is the heart of touristy Jamaica.

If you are looking for a place to shoot some pictures, try driving up Richmond Hill. There you have the best view of the town and harbour. If you’re not staying in this town, follow the A1 through the centre in southern direction. A couple of miles outside the MoBay area, you will cross the Great River. For river rafting, just follow the signs ‘Mountain Valley Rafting’. This trip costs about $45 (40 Euro) per raft/two persons, and includes lunch and necessary transfers.
Travelling to the west, you will pass Johnson Town. On the road from there to Lucea, the double-decker bus chase was filmed, and at Lucea the crew filmed the bus slamming into the low bridge. As you can see in the film, the bridge just hangs there and does not seem to have an apparent reason to be there. Since nobody has ever found a trace of the bridge, we have to conclude that it was just built for the scene, and demolished afterwards.
Lucea is a small harbour town with some historical buildings and a fortress, Fort Charlotte. The town’s courthouse has a beautiful clock with a great anecdote attended. The clock was originally made for the island of St. Lucia, but was mixed up with a more moderate clock, built for Lucea at that same time. When the people of Lucea received the beautiful but wrongly delivered clock they refused to give it back. The town council was therefore forced by the people to buy it, and since then it decorates Lucea’s Courthouse.

Time to relax a bit on the beautiful beaches of Negril. This is also a very touristy area, but world-famous for its eleven kilometres long, white, sandy beach. The former swamp-area now offers loads of hotels, restaurants and bars. One specific place worth mentioning is Rick’s Cafe. Here, locals frequently dive off a twenty-meter high cliff, and are considered a main attraction. The beach-area is divided into two halves, Long Bay and Bloody Bay. In between them, off coast, lies a small island named Booby Cay. This island served as a filming location for Walt Disney’s classic ‘20,000 Leagues under the Sea’.

If you have read Fleming’s novel ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, some names of places in the vicinity of Negril will ring a bell, like e. g. Orange River, Green Island Harbour or The Great Morass. The Hotel ‘Thunderbird’, where most of the action of the novel takes place, is supposed to be located at Bloody Bay. When you leave Negril and drive south-westward, the first bigger town you reach will be Savanna-La-Mar. Here at No. 3 ½ Love Lane Bond meets Scaramanga for the first time (in the novel). This address in fact really exists, and resembles Fleming’s description of it.
Dr.No's lair in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Lucea road from the bus chase in Live And Let Die (1973)
Kingston area 

Driving along the coast we skip a part of the island, because our next stop will be Kingston. Coming from Spanish Town, you will enter Kingston from the west, driving on Washington Boulevard. Follow this road, and all the way on the end, turn right. The third on your left, right after you passed a gully, will be West Kings House Road. Just follow this quiet road until you reach Kings House. This is where the Jamaican Government houses, just like it was used in Dr. No, where James Bond asked the sergeant to make sure his (dead) driver didn’t get away. The beautiful building is open for public, for free, but only by appointment. If you didn’t make an appointment (nobody seems to know where to make it), you are free to walk around the front yard and shoot some pictures, as long as you don’t come too close. Kings House is an oasis of peace and quiet in a terribly busy city.

Returning to West Kings House Road, you have to take the second road on your left, Waterloo Road. Following it in southern direction, it will lead you pass Devon’s House, another magnificent building. Here you take a left turn, onto Hope Road. After you passed Kings House Park on your left hand, you will see the Bob Marley Museum. A very nice place to stop and have a look at the King of Reggae’s collection of gold records. The entrance fee is about $6 (5,50 Euro) and they offer guided tours every hour. Don’t expect to bring home some nice pictures, because everything seems to be copyright protected. Only Bob’s statue in the front yard is available for photographing.

The museum is located in the Liguanea district, and here’s the location of the Liguanea Club, a meeting place for the rich, that was actually named in Fleming’s book ‘The man with the golden gun’. This club also doubled for the Queens Club in Dr. No. Although there seems to have been some refurbishing during the years, it is still quite easy to find the spot where Strangways was killed and where the Three Blind Mice took aim at James Bond.

Leaving Liguanea behind us, you follow Hope Road until you reach the first big crossing. There is a big gas station at this crossing. Here you turn right, onto Old Hope Road. Now you can start following the signs ‘Airport’, because they will lead the way to the Palisadoes, a small strip of land stretching out in front of Kingston Harbour. The road you will drive, is where Bond and his fake taxi driver are being chased right after Bond arrived in the Caribbean, in Dr. No.

Half way the Palisadoes, Norman Manley International Airport, formerly the only way to reach the island by air, welcomes you to Jamaica. It is here where principle filming of the first James Bond adventure commenced. In the very first scene filmed by Terence Young, James Bond arrives at Jamaica, makes a phone call to check on his taxi driver, and is being watched by Felix Leiter as he leaves ‘with the enemy’. Nowadays the airport is mainly handling inland flights and serves as the home base for Jamaica’s national airline company ‘Air Jamaica’. It is a colourful, crowded area, so well worth a small visit.

At the end of the Palisadoes’ Main Road you will find Morgan’s Harbour, a hotel and yacht club, used in Dr. No. Stopping here is a ‘must’, since it is one of the most recognizable locations in Jamaica. When you enter the open-air restaurant and bar area, you will instantly recognize the wooden dock where Bond met Quarrel and followed him to end up in a fight with Pussfeller. The place also featured in the novel ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, where Bond and his former assistant Mary Goodnight enjoy a diner. Whether you spend the night here or just enjoy a quick lunch, it is both worth the stop.

When you leave Morgan’s Harbour, don’t forget to visit the old town at the end of the Palisadoes, Port Royal. Driving through the streets of this former pirate capital is truly travelling back through time. Port Royal once was the most notorious place of the Caribbean, housing pirates like Henry Morgan. After a devastating earthquake in 1692, most of the town had disappeared into the sea, leaving only the impressive Fort Charles to survive. Most of the survivors chose to settle on the other side of the bay, and founded Kingston. During the 18th and 19th century, Port Royal served as a marine base for the British Royal Navy, having naval hero Horatio Nelson as its most famous inhabitant.

Driving back towards the ‘main land’, the Carib Cement Works on the slopes of Long Mountain still look the same as in the early sixties, when Sean Connery was briefly seen passing it, on his way to Miss Taro's house in the Blue Mountains.

. . .

This and much more can be found in the chapter 'Underneath the  mango tree' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

Connected hotels:

Dr. No (1962) - poster

Grand Port Royal Marina

Formerly the Morgan's Harbour Hotel.
Port Royal, Jamaica.

Liguanea Club

Kingston, Jamaica
Live And Let Die (1973) - poster

Couples Sans Souci

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Half Moon Resort

Montego Bay, Jamaica
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