At Hellshire you can expect to be greeted by the warm Caribbean Sea, people selling raw oysters (I dare you to try), horse rides, local music and the best fried fish you’ll ever taste!
Jamaicans who now live abroad always stop by Hellshire for their escovitch fish fix.
Hellshire Beach, locally referred to as just “Hellshire”, is located on the south coast of Jamaica about 20 minutes away from Kingston.
Hellshire is not a known tourist spot mainly because of the distance from the north coast where most hotels and villas are located.
If you grew up in Jamaica this was often a weekend “flex” to make with family or friends to have some of the best fresh fried fish known to mankind.
Be prepared and don’t expect anything fancy. The setting is very informal – shorts, shirt & sandals – and come ready to eat!!!
The white sand is your floor – these are little huts built on the beach. Yes, you can swim here but it’s not a beach I recommend for swimming – most people come for the food.
When you enter Hellshire, you will be approached by men trying to assist you with parking. If it is crowded you may want to welcome their help, if not, politely tell them no thank you.
If you get help parking, make sure to tell them to keep an eye on your car and when you are leaving give them a small tip.
There is no charge for parking – it is just customary to tip anyone who assists you in finding a parking spot on those crowded days.
Also, don’t let anyone force you to go to any one hut to eat. Go to any you like. Some popular eating spots at Hellshire are Aunt May’s or Merl’s (next door to each other).
Okay, let’s talk about customer service. I giggle when I hear anyone mention the lack of customer service at the beach – you can’t expect anything like that at Hellshire. Most people there are hustling to make their next couple of dollars.
I agree, the hecklers can be annoying but if you go there knowing to expect this, you can easily brush it off and enjoy your meal.
Just be polite and turn a blind eye, rest easy, and eat some good food.
Once inside, you select your seafood from a cooler, they clean it right away and cook to your liking.
You can have fried or steamed fish, lobster, bammy, and the best festival on the island!
Fried fish is cooked in a cast iron dutch over wood fire and served with escovitch sauce which is scotch bonnet pepper, onion, sliced carrots in hot vinegar. The perfect touch to fried fish.
Expect to sit on wooden lounge chairs. There is no padding so bring a towel to sit on if you think that will a problem.
The average cost of a meal including drinks and side orders is about $25USD per person. They price the fish by the pound. Make sure to get the cost before you order.
I recommend foreigners visit the beach with a local – some fish huts may try and take advantage of tourists and some are genuinely very nice.
Okay, I’ll be honest, the beach at times can be a bit dirty and crowded but is extremely authentic and has the best fried fish on the island. I encourage you to overlook these shortcomings. Remember, this is a public beach in Jamaica, it is not an exclusive establishment catered to tourists.
- If you plan on visiting Hellshire for the first time, I suggest you go on a weekday when it is not as crowded. This popular spot gets very busy on the weekends.
- Make sure to bring cash, as most shops don’t have the capability to take cards.
What to bring:
Swimwear – if plan on swimming
Open mind and good attitude