Parottee Bay, Jamaica

The ultimate shack: made of driftwood and perched on stilts over Caribbean shallows

mararie/flickr via Creative Commons

*Immediately Googles flights to Jamaica*

By Mary Tomlinson

Less than a mile off Jamaica’s southwest shore (literally in the middle of the water—Google Map it!) sits the humble wooden bar of your beachside hangout dreams, Floyd's Pelican Bar. The handcrafted structure, built from driftwood and palm fronds by local fisherman Floyd Forbes, rises about three feet above Parottee Bay’s turquoise waters on lean, tree trunk-turned posts. It’s like a jungle hut sent out to sea. 

Bar patrons arrive via boat, either by arranging transportation with the hotels lining nearby Treasure Beach or catching a ride with local boat owners. Just grab some Jamaican dollars for the cash-only bar and a pair of water shoes if you plan on wading. Once you’ve arrived, climb up out of the boat and onto the just-shy-of-rickety walkway leading up to Floyd’s hideaway.

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Once inside the round, surprisingly spacious one-room hut, order a Red Stripe, Jamaica’s renowned local brew, or a rum cocktail. While sipping your drink or digging into an order of freshly caught fish grilled onsite, take a closer look at the flags, license plates, and t-shirts tacked to rafters and support poles by Floyd’s veterans, not to mention the names, dates, and occasional heart carved into the weather planks that make up the floor.

On any given beach day, a handful of locals may be posted up inside, playing dominos on one of the wooden tables in the shade of the thatched roof. Outside, the water is shallow enough for standing waist-deep in the gently lapping turquoise waves with fellow bar goers. Or better yet: bring a float, lean back into it, and recline in the Caribbean Sea with your drink, watching for dolphins and posting the most jealousy-provoking photos the world has ever seen.