10 Places Every Dr. No Fan Should Visit

I cannot truly explain why I’m a fan of James Bond. He’s an arrogant misogynist. Yet I’m the first in line for every movie, and I’m not even considering putting down the books. I do happen to have a general love for all things spy related, yet you don’t see me creating travel posts about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or Spy Game. (Although I might do one on Spy Game.)

I am currently planning many future trips; and, because I’m a nerdy girl, I have to make sure I visit the places with significance for me. So I’m going to be doing quite a few travel posts around James Bond.

I have watched the full movie of Dr. No, and read the book by Ian Fleming. I’m starting with the Dr. No movie instead of Casino Royale, because more people relate to the movies than the books. And, in the order of James Bond movies, Dr. No comes first. This won’t be my last article on Dr. No, and it’s only my first on James Bond. So sign up for the email list if you want to learn more about James Bond films, James Bond books, and how they relate to travel and much more.

  1. Jamaica

Just get to Jamaica! If you travel to Jamaica and somehow don’t make it to any other place or do any activity on this list, you’ll already be a top Bond fan. Go to Jamaica, get in the water, frolic on the beach, eat, drink, and have fun. You might even see a crab! (Get it? Crab Key!)

Going to Jamaica for a week costs about $1,500 on average. You can probably beat those prices with about an hour’s worth of online searching. But you can also surpass that cost much more easily. I suggest traveling like Bond and spending more if you can. That could also just be my wishful thinking speaking because I will most definitely need to spend less.

2. Norman Manley International Airport

If you are having trouble picking which airport to use, I suggest Norman Manley in Kingston Harbor. It’s the same airport Bond arrived at in Dr. No. You can arrive and dodge the beautiful women who are secretly photographing you. They’re so good at their job that you probably won’t be able to find them unless you’re famous.

I’m actually a fan of airports and this one is expected to get a $60 million renovation soon. It isn’t Jamaica’s busiest airport, but with about 30% of all air traffic in Jamaica you won’t be the only one there either. And don’t forget to check out the Duty Free Shop!

3. Queen’s Club

Queen’s Club is one of the many Dr. No film locations in Jamaica that are also present in Ian Fleming’s Dr. No. But don’t go rushing to Google just yet. Queen’s Club doesn’t actually exist. But that doesn’t have to stop you from visiting the hotel used on location in Jamaica. Liguanea Club is the member’s club and hotel used for Queen’s Club.

You’re probably like me and not a member, however it’s worth staying to have brunch or an early dinner outside and pretend you don’t know where Strangways could have gone or why? It’s located in Kingston which is just a thirty-minute drive from the airport. (Just make sure you don’t get into the wrong cab or you could be taken for a ride.)

Liguanea Club

4. Government House

Government House is what is known outside of Bond’s world as King’s House. King’s House is also in Kingston and is where the Governor of Jamaica sits. In the movie this is where Bond first goes after his rather calming drive on the Palisadoes and speaks with his official connections in Jamaica. In the novel, Bond’s official connections are not all exactly on his side and is much more bureaucratic. You can email kingshouse@kingshouse.gov.jm to request a tour at least two weeks in advance of your visit for groups under six.

5. Port Royal

Port Royal was once the real-life version of the Disney World Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Except, I’m guessing, a lot more fun. There was even talks of Disney making it the site of one of their many resorts, but that quickly fell through. The city was lost in an earthquake in the 17th century. (Can you imagine what the preachers and priests were saying about that!?) Not only does this piece of history provide a literal sunken pirate city to explore, it’s also where Bond met Quarrel. Many scenes in Dr. No also took place at what is now The Grand Port Royal Hotel, but don’t expect to recognize a single thing.

James Bond and Quarrel portrayed by Sean Connery and John Kitzmiller

6. Castleton Botanical Gardens

The Gardens only appear in Fleming’s Dr. No novel, however I included it because I love walking through a beautiful garden. The history of Jamaica, and the Caribbean in general, has been so highly impacted by vegetation and agriculture that it’s also a way to remember that history in a peaceful and beautiful setting. Because of the plants and trees there are also a lot of beautiful birds. This makes it obvious why Fleming included the Gardens in his book given his well-known ornithology hobby.

There are usually food stalls on the road near the entrance, but you also might want to pack your own lunch in case nothing appetizes you or it happens to be their day off. (Since I’m a sucker for street food I always look to supplement whatever I brought with what’s available.)

7. Beau Desert

Beau Desert is where Bond goes in the Dr. No book to prepare for his visit to Crab Key. Beau Desert also makes an appearance in other Ian Fleming novels such as Live and Let Die. I recommend spending at least three days at the Goldeneye resort as a substitute for Beau Desert. Goldeneye was the name of Ian Flemings home in Jamaica which has been turned into a resort with a few Bond inspired villas (in name only). After looking through the website, I would suggest staying in the “Honey Chile” room specifically because we find out that Beau Desert was also her home at one time.

8. Laughing Waters

Laughing Waters and the next entry, Dunn’s River Falls and Park, are the closest you’re ever going to get to Crab Key. Some people even call Laughing Waters Crab Key Beach! This is where the movie tradition of a Bond girl, or even sometimes Bond (I’m respectfully looking at Daniel Craig), coming out of the water all started. Ursula Andress as Honey Rider, Honeychile Rider in the novels, was our first and possibly most iconic Bond girl. And if you bring a friend, or a tripod, you can recreate the movie moment.

However, getting to Laughing Waters is no laughing matter. It is not easily accessible, which just adds to your Bond experience. The two easiest ways to get there are to either rent a boat and arrive like Bond and Honey or you can ask a local cab driver to take you. You’ll park alongside a highway and then bypass a hopefully unkept barbed-wire fence. Keep going west, or towards the left, and you’ll get there eventually. It’s part of the fun of traveling! There are guards there, sometimes with dogs, but they probably won’t bother you. (Just like Crab Key!)

*If you’re Black though, you know, be careful. I’m not sure how Jamaican police forces treat locals versus travelers, so you may need to quickly identify yourself as the latter. Or it might not be a problem. I don’t know.

**Also be careful that you’re not ruining someone’s “special moment.” Groups can rent the beach for a reasonable rate. If you show up during an event, try to not be a jerk.

James Bond and Honey Rider portrayed by Sean Connery and Ursula Andress

9. Dunn’s River Falls and Park

This is the closest you’re ever going to get to Crab Key without trespassing, so go and enjoy it! Dunn’s River Falls is a beautiful natural wonder and deserves a visit even if you don’t like James Bond. There is an admission fee to get in that’s well worth the price. There’s a small waterpark for young children who can’t quite handle the Falls and enough to do to spend at least half a day there.

10. Watch a live musical performance!

We all might be a bit too late to see Bryon Lee and the Dragonaires, but the group gave the party scene in Dr. No a fun vibe and a catchy and popular song with “Jump Up.” I’m not sure if The Dragonaires are still performing, but it’s always a good idea to catch a live band wherever you’re visiting.

There’s only one other place I would place on this list, but it’s in London and it’s members only. The first time we meet Bond is at his club, The Les Ambassadeurs Club in real life. You might be able to eat there without a membership, but you need to be a member or a guest of a member to gamble. It’s the kind of place that makes me think they’re membership dues might cost more than my yearly salary or, at the very least, half of my salary.

Enjoy Jamaica and be sure to watch Dr. No before you go and to bring the book to read on the beach. Let me know if there are other movies or books you’d like me to write about.

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