Shafston Greathouse - Trips and Tours
One hour by car takes us through the sugar cane fields surrounding the Frome Sugar Factory followd by the Hills of Hannover. In a bamboo-covered valley we reach the river; its many pools are perfect for a refreshing dip. Daring swimmers can dive under the rocks. Bring your bathing suit and water footwear. Your guide will take care of your camera and other valuables.
Y.S. FALLS, APPLE VALLEY/APPLETON, BAMBOO AVENUE:
Starting on the hills (Bluefield Ridge) rising behind the Shafston Greathouse, we go up and up on narrow roads leading to the high plains around New Market and from there downhill to the Blackriver Swamps. The Middle Quarters are famous for spiced shrimp, so of course we stop and try them. You can hear the rushing sound of Y.S. Falls in a snug valley that is part of a gorgeous tropical garden. Depending on the water level, you can take a swim in either the upper or the lower pool. Then we drive on to Apple Valley, a small park, where you can try your luck with rod and hook (if you don't succeed you can always claim the one in the refrigerator as your own catch of the day). As an alternative to Apple Valley, we can visit the Appleton Rum Factory (US$20 admission; not included in tour price) and you can give your expert opinion on the tasting samples. From there it's straight (or not so straight) home for a refreshing ice jelly coconut.
BLACKRIVER BOAT TOUR, PELICAN BAR, LOVER'S LEAP, TREASURE BEACH:
The first leg takes us along the South Shore to Blackriver for a short stop and a boat ride across the Black River. Here you'll make the personal acquaintance of an alligator or two, a wide variety of birds, and gazillions of termites huddling in dark clumps on mangrove trees along the river. After the boat ride it goes 1,000 feet up the hill to Lover's Leap with its spectacular view of the South Shore. Finally to Treasure Beach, one of Jamaica's favorite sun spots. Great for swimming, but be careful: the waves pack a punch and the undertow sucks! There have been fatalities here! The last stop is the world renown Pelican Bar which is located in the middle of the ocean, we reach there with a small fishing boat.
You want action? You got it! Beaches and shops. You can jump off the cliffs or watch the cliffjumpers do daredevil jumps from the cliffs or from even higher trees overlooking the cliffs. Or, if you prefer, dive into the caves or take the waterslide. Whatever you do, bring bathing suit, camera, snorkel, fins (if you brought them along)-and lots of bucks! Negril ain't cheap.
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, LITTLE BAY, BOB MARLEY'S HOUSE:
First a visit to the market in Savanna-la-Mar and then the old fort. Afterwards, we head in the direction of Negril, past Little London, to Little Bay, a small fishing village with several beaches. This is where Bob Marley, the Prophet, lived with Jamaica's beauty queen Esther Anderson, while writing some of his famous songs-including "Cold ground was my bed last night." (Did Esther kick him out?)
BAMBOO AVENUE, ALLIGATOR POND, GUT RIVER, ALLIGATOR HOLE RIVER, MANATEES:
After passing through Bamboo Avenue and the town of Santa Cruz (they even have stoplights there!), we're on our way to lunch at Alligator Pond, a small fishing village by the sea. You can have dessert at Gut River, a clear freshwater spring on a solitary beach 20 miles long. Just a few miles beyond is Alligator Hole, where with a little luck you may see some of the few surviving manatees of Jamaica. Bring bathing suit, camera, and perhaps your snorkel equipment.
KINGSTON, BOB MARLEY MUSEUM, BLUE MOUNTAINS, PORT ANTONIO (3 DAYS):
Out of bed early again, and off to Kingston we go. After visiting the Bob Marley Museum, we cross the Blue Mountains to Port Antonio, staying overnight (about US$20 per person) in one of several inns. Because Portland has some Jamaica's prettiest beaches, we stay there for a while, then continue on to San San Beach, Frenchman's Cove, and Boston Beach before going on to spectacular Reach Falls. We stay overnight at another beautiful beach, Long Bay. On day 3 we drive along the North Shore to watch how the Jamaicans drag tourists up the waterfalls, and do anything we like!
ON HORSEBACK IN PARADISE PARK:
Paradise Park, a 3,700-acre farm by the sea, is located between Bluefields and Savanna-la-Mar. The Sweet River runs through it. You can ride a horse around the extensive farmlands and into the surf-an unforgettable experience. Then cool off with a dip in the river at a private park. Bring your bathing suit and long pants for riding horseback.
KINGSTON, BOB MARLEY MUSEUM, DEVON HOUSE, SHOPPING:
We start at 6 a.m. and arrive in Kingston at 10 a.m. After visiting the Bob Marley Museum, you can go for a bargon at the Half Way Tree Shopping Center on records, CDs, T-shirts, etc. But don't spend it all because some good food awaits you at Devon House an old carefully restored Great House, where you can also "nyam" (eat) delicious ice cream! Souvenirs and admission to art galleries can always be put on your credit card. Prerequisites: getting up early and MONEY!.
Because the South Shore doesn't have a diving center, we made arrangements at Negril. If we call two days ahead and have a group of at least six, two divers from the Scuba Center in Negril will come out to meet us. We take off in a boat and go diving between Bluefields and Little Bay. You can actually take a complete Scuba course.
DEEP SEA FISHING:
We head out towards Pedro Banks from Bluefields Bay in a fishing boat. With a little luck you'll catch tuna, kingfish, or marlin. Take your bathing suit and a ton of sun lotion.
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