No other film franchise inspires travel the way the James Bond series has for the past 60 years, and topping the destination list of every serious 007 fan is the country of Jamaica, where iconic scenes from “Dr. No,” “Live and Let Die,” and the upcoming “No Time to Die” were shot.
“Jamaican culture is very important to James Bond,” says Renee Robinson, the Film Commissioner of Jamaica. “As we all know, Bond was conceived here by Ian Fleming, and the character and the country are deeply intertwined.”
Beyond the familiar origin story, Robinson believes that Jamaica and Bond share much in common. “There’s something magical about Jamaica, and it’s fed into the mythology of James Bond over the years,” she says. “He’s a larger-than-life figure, and Jamaica also plays that type of role globally. We’re a small country with a small population, but our global brand has a strong impact on people around the world, and that works in tandem with the Bond franchise.”
Although the pandemic continues to affect tourism around the world, Bond fans might want to consider planning their future dream vacation right now. After all, with so many must-see locations in Jamaica to visit, a little extra itinerary preparation might actually come in handy. To help you organize the ultimate James Bond adventure, here are 15 locations in Jamaica that will leave you shaken and stirred.
Boundbrook Wharf – ‘No Time to Die’
Situated on a quiet harbor in Port Antonio, and easily recognizable on screen because of the bright yellow moorings, Boundbrook Wharf was used as a location for an intense nighttime action sequence in “No Time to Die.” In the film, a large ship explodes within sight of the wharf. Since the scene takes place in Cuba, the surrounding area was dressed to look like a Cuban military base; complete with political murals depicting Fidel Castro and Che Guevara that were painted on the dilapidated wharf structure by a local Jamaican artist who based his work on authentic Cuban designs. Bond fans hoping to catch a glimpse of these murals today are in for a disappointment, however. After production wrapped, they were covered with a fresh coat of blue paint to keep their images secret.
Ken Jones Aerodrome – ‘No Time to Die’
During production of “No Time to Die,” the Cessna 185 seaplane that flies Bond from Jamaica to Cuba was based at the Ken Jones Aerodrome in St. Margaret’s Bay, located just outside of Port Antonio. This tiny airfield consists of two small structures and a single runway, and features lush green hills on one side and shimmering blue bay waters on the other. Scenes of the plane taking off for Cuba were also reportedly shot at the aerodrome, but do not appear in the film’s final cut. A far cry from Jamaica’s bustling Norman Manley International Airport that was featured in the opening scenes of “Dr. No,” Ken Jones Aerodrome serves only a handful of tourist resorts in the area.
Coco Walk – ‘No Time to Die’
Early in “No Time to Die,” Bond is retired from the British Secret Service and living in Jamaica. One of the most memorable images in the film shows him looking forlornly out at a dazzling blue bay from the deck of his waterfront cabin. The secluded spot where Bond’s cabin was built is actually a private beach called Coco Walk, located on the coast of San San Bay in Port Antonio. The film’s crew constructed it from scratch and shot both interiors and exteriors there. To reach Coco Walk, you descend a long wooden staircase from high atop a cliff, and climb carefully down to the beach below. Although the cabin was demolished immediately after filming wrapped, the surrounding area still looks exactly the way it appears in the film. Since Coco Walk is private property, the best way for Bond fans to see it is by chartering a small boat that will take you into San San Bay itself.
Market Square – ‘No Time to Die’
An exterior driving scene in “No Time to Die” was shot on the streets of Port Antonio; specifically at the intersection of West and Williams Street, in an area known as Market Square. The location’s centerpiece is a large obelisk honoring the citizens of Jamaica’s Portland Parish who lost their lives during the two world wars. Bond fans who visit the neighborhood should plan on having lunch at nearby Piggy’s Jerk Centre, a popular jerk restaurant that serves some of the island’s tastiest chicken. Piggy’s was so beloved by Daniel Craig – who ate there regularly with the film’s cast and crew – that when it burned down shortly after production wrapped, he personally helped raise funds to rebuild it. Piggy’s actually appears on screen in “No Time to Die” in the scene where Bond leaves a Jamaican nightclub and discovers that his car won’t start. Look over Craig’s shoulder and you’ll spot it in the background.
Cocosan Villa – ‘No Time to Die’
While filming “No Time to Die” in Port Antonio, Daniel Craig stayed at this luxurious six-bedroom villa for two weeks. One of five exclusive villas that form Jamaica’s Geejam resort, Cocosan has seen its fair share of celebrity guests in the past, including Jay Z and Beyoncé. Decorated with a glossy Tarantino-style retro-hipness, Cocosan comes equipped with a huge vinyl record collection, a Ferrari-red piano, an assortment of plexiglass artwork depicting vintage Playboy magazine covers from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and several large porthole windows that somewhat resemble the iconic James Bond gun-barrel logo. If you’re a fan of the cinematic spy series and can afford $6,000 per night, why not rent the villa and live like Craig for a while?
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