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Set-jetting in Jamaica: James Bond movie locations
Ursula Andress and Sean Connery on location at Laughing Waters Beach, Jamaica, in 1962’s Dr. No.
As far as I’m concerned, Laughing Waters Beach in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, should be called “Screaming Waters Beach,” because that’s exactly what I’m doing here. I’m screaming while a creature shaped alarmingly like a small shark bumps its rubbery head against my legs beneath the water.
I came to Jamaica to check out the filming locales of several Hollywood movies, including three James Bond films, and this situation is unfolding like a damsel-in-distress story straight out of a Bond flick. Without 007 to save me, I quickly make my way out of the ocean. In my panicked state, I look nothing like Honey Ryder, the bombshell Bond Girl who stepped gracefully onto this beach in the 1962 film Dr. No, or Halle Berry’s Jinx as she sexily came out of the water in 2002’s Die Another Day. Once I’m clear of the water, an amused lifeguard informs me the little “shark” I encountered was actually a harmless remora fish. It’s a far cry from a run-in with a young Sean Connery, but I’m just happy I made it to shore with my life.
A day earlier I was at Frenchman’s Cove, a half-moon shaped beach framed by rugged cliffs located in the quiet parish of Portland. While I bobbed in the turquoise waves, lunch was served. I emerged from the water (yet again displaying a fraction of the Bond Girl allure) to eat lobster under the shade of an almond tree while Bob Marley’s “Is this Love?” played in the distance. As I dug into my buttery lobster, I thought of the lost boys of Lord of the Flies, who touched down on this very beach in the 1957 film adaptation. I was definitely having a better time than they did!
Almost every beach, cave and waterfall in Jamaica has a cinematic connection, from the recent blockbuster Knight and Day to the 1980 cult classic Blue Lagoon. Ian Fleming penned all of the James Bond books at GoldenEye, his oceanfront home in Oracabessa Bay. Three James Bond films (Dr. No, Live and Let Die and Thunderball) were shot all over Jamaica and many more were in some way inspired by Fleming’s love of the island. I even thought of a trick to help my mind recreate the action. If I had trouble envisioning Bond lurking behind a palm tree or chasing down a villain (while jumping across the backs of alligators), I would listen to the films’ classic opening credit theme (you know the one) I had saved on my phone. It did the trick every time.
Here’s a look at some of the most cinematic James Bond-inspired spots in Jamaica: