Undoubtedly one of Jamaica’s most popular and famous attractions has got to be Dunn’s River Falls, an outstanding area of natural beauty with over 600 feet of free climbing pleasure for thousands of tourists and locals every year. It is so popular that the parking area has become a huge parking lot of tour buses. It is an amazing setting with the cascading waterfalls and several small scattered lagoons bordered with the most attractive tropical foliage providing welcome shade from the fierce midday sun. The falls are naturally terraced with a few man made additions to assist with the ascent; tourists are encouraged by their guides to join hands whilst climbing which not only makes it safer but also more fun. The climbing route is often crowded but the climb up the falls is always good fun and is suitable for most ages except perhaps the youngest or very oldest of people. If you prefer to keep dry you can climb alongside the falls and view friends and family from the many viewpoints, don’t forget your camera or video to record this wonderful location.
Coyaba River Gardens and Museum in Ocho Rios
Coyaba River Gardens is a spectacular park built on the historic grounds of the “Shaw Park Plantation “and dating back to the earliest British Colonia rule in Jamaica. The Gardens are home to turtles, snapper, mullet and koi carp swimming around in their natural surroundings. Tourists can enjoy guided tours that enlighten them to the origins of the many species of trees and plants that surround them and also a brief explanation to Jamaica’s agricultural heritage. Located in the gardens is a wonderful little museum that details the ancient cultures and artefacts of the original inhabitants of Jamaica, the “Arawak/Taino” Indians. It also explains Jamaica’s torrid colonial history through to the fall of slavery and the sugarcane plantations. It truly is a beautiful and tranquil place to visit with its huge banyan tree, shaded paths and fabulously coloured flowers. The river has cut its way through the limestone bedrock to create a series of small falls and pools making naturally filled aquariums with a variety of fish and turtles. The Mahoe Falls are not as well-known as the nearby Dunn’s River Falls but are just as beautiful with the advantage of not being so busy. You can choose to laze about in the natural pool at the base or the more adventurous can choose to climb the falls. Take the time to trek to the lookout beauty spot at “Ysassis” allowing the visitor to enjoy stupendous panoramic vistas of the Cruise ship terminals and the Ocho Rios Bay far below.
Trekking in The Blue Mountains
The Blue mountains have some of the most stunning and unique landscape of anywhere in the Caribbean including raging rivers, streams, and fantastic warerfalls. The lower reaches start on the outer limits of Kingston rising quickly ot a sequence of curved peaks that terminate at the highest point in Jamaica “Blue Mountain Peak”. The high altitude ensures they are cooler than other parts of Jamaica and they are often hidden by an almost continuous veil of mist that gives the mountain their bluish tint. The peaks are lush and green thanks to the abundant rainfall totalling an incredible 300 inches a year. This abundance of moisture have enabled in excess of 500 different species of beautiful and unusual flowering plants and many types of butterflies and hummingbirds that take advantage of the rich food source. The once heavily forested lower slopes are now used predominately for the growing of vegetables, spices and “Blue Mountain Coffee” one the chief export commodities of Jamaica. The mountains are a hikers and walkers dream destination with pleasant walks and full treks to the peak at an altitude of 3000 feet. There are an abundance of quality trekking companies to guide you to the summit but if you are more adventurous it’s possible to hike the route safely yourself. It is much safer to hike during the dry season from December to April, outside of this period sudden and torrential downpours can create flooding and landslides.
Montego Bay is the second city of Jamaica in both extent and importance and was once a banana and sugar town. These days it is one of the outstanding Caribbean resort locations with so much to do for the tourists. The glorious white soft sandy beach “Doctors Cove Beach” was the resorts original appeal which attracted the wealthy socialites and star celebrities from around the world. The area is fortunate to be endowed with marvellous natural beauty with a stunning natural bay and majestic large coral reef located close to shore, breathtakingly clear shallows and fantastic beaches. It has an energetic Caribbean atmosphere with a matchless Jamaican feel with crowed colourful streets, dynamic, relaxed and laid back all at the same time. Montego Bay is definitely a hedonistic resort that likes to party to the rhythmic beats of the local reggae beats. The majority of proceedings unsurprisingly resolve around the outstanding beaches, the local reef is ideal for snorkelers and divers alike with a plethora of marine life to uncover. For those who prefer to keep their heads above water there is water skiing, jet skiing or windsurfing. The main resort area is full of hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops so be sure to barter it is expected and part of the fun. There is also the large “Aquasol Theme Park” offering a variety of entertainment ranging from, kayaking, glass bottom boating, go-karting, parasailing, tennis an beach volleyball. Other things to do in Monego Bay and the surrounding area include a Bird sanctuary at Rocklands and historical buildings such as “Rose Hall Great House” and “Bellefield Great House & Gardens”.
Rose Hall Great House
Located on the north coast of Jamaica approximately 9 miles from Montego Bay is the supreme example of one of Jamaica’s Great Plantation Houses. Restored to its former glory it is one of the most well-known buildings on the island and was constructed in the late 18th century in the Georgian style typical of the time. At the time of construction it was one of many such Great Plantation Houses which coordinated the work of the slaves on the sugar plantations. Rose Hall Plantation was huge covering 6600 acres of sugar cane fields and 2000 slaves to work the plantation. Its set high on a hill with fantastic views of the coast making it an imposing structure seen from miles around. It was badly damaged in the 1831 slave rebellion and is one of only a handful of great houses to survive to the present date. John Rollins an American Millionaire spent vast amounts of his personnel wealth to return the building to its former glory. There are a number of property developments and resorts positioned around Rose Hall offering luxury villas, houses and perfectly maintained golf courses.
Some of the best attractions and sights are often found in the more remote areas of Jamaica. If you are yearning for an adventure wonderland with the most gorgeous and diverse beaches then head for the South Coast. Situated within the parish of St. Elizabeth is “Treasure Beach” the name given to four laid back fishing villages and coves? It is known throughout the island for its very friendly, hardworking farmers and fishermen. One of the things you notice about the South Coast is how different it appears to the rest of Jamaica. It is the driest part of the island receiving the least amount of precipitation and for this reason is often referred to as the “Desert Coast”. Despite this lack of rainfall this area still produces more vegetables and fruit than any other parish in Jamaica. Treasure Beach is made up of six miles of beautiful sandy beaches, four public beaches, privately owned coves and rocky shoreline ideal for both swimming, body surfing and snorkelling. It is well suited for sun bathing, hiking, sightseeing and biking. Fishing is the main industry here, with farming following on close behind. If you want to experience Jamaica and its fantastic beaches and variety of activities in a totally laid back surrounds then the settlements of Treasure Beach is perfect for you.