EXPLORING ST. MARY
On the main road, just before the White bridge the R fork leads to Calypso Rafting and then into the hills for Sandals Golf Club at Upton. Leaving Ocho Rios, traveling east on the coast road R is Rio Blanco Village an apartment hotel, and L Sans Souci Lido, member of the Super Clubs chain, an elegant resort with its own mineral spring. Over the hill, R is the turn to Prospect Plantation Tour... READ MORE
CIRCLE ST. ELIZABETH
From Mandeville there is a choice of routes to the beaches of the south coast:
ROUTE A - VIA NEWPORT TO ALLIGATOR POND
Take the road past the West Indies Training College and through the village of KNOCKPATRICK. You will drive beneath Alpart's cable belt conveyor connecting the bauxite mines of the Manchester plateau to the lowland plant at Nain. Newport is a cool rural village.
Between ROSEHALL and REST STORE you get the first glimpse of the sea and Alpart's pier at PORT KAISER. If the day is clear you can observe offshore and to the south east a coral atoll in the making on Alligator Reef. PLOWDEN with its Moravian church, school, and bauxite-pink landscape is typical of the area. Descending towards Rowes Corner via many hairpin curves, the landscape has a surreal quality with monstrous towers and outcrops of rock dwarfing cottages and cultivations... READ MORE.
HISTORIC PORT ROYAL AND THE PALISADOES
A drive to Port Royal is also a must. The island stands at the end of the Palisadoes, a promontory tht nearly encircles the waterfront. Port Royal has a long and interesting history and has had many names, both official and unofficial. It was originally called Cayo de Carena, because Spanish vessels would be hauled on shore and then laid on their sides so the hulls could be careened - repaired and cleared of barnacles. The English named it the Point, and realizing its strategic importance built Fort Cromwell, later renamed Fort Charles. It was te first of six forts to be built manned by a garrison of more than 2,500 men. A town developed to service the needs to the garrison, its soldiers and the pirates who also used it as a base, and at one time there were said to have been one inn or rum shop for every ten residents, and this gave rise to some of its nicknames, including the Babylon of the West, City of Gold and Sin City. One writer described it as : 'the richest, wickedest city in Christendom'...READ MORE.
PORTLAND, EAST TO REACH FALLS
At the FAIRY HILL crossroads you turn R for Nonsuch Caves and Athenry Gardens. Left of the main a road leads down to WINNIFRED BEACH and further on another leads to the WINNIFRED REST HOUSE. An almost illegible sign tells you that Winnifred House was donated by the late F.B. Brown as a Rest Home for Missionaries, Teachers, and the Respectable Poor. F.B. Brown was a Quaker Minister and his daughter, who died in childhood was named Winnifred. Brown left a property of several hundred acres including the beach, which was to be administered by a Trust... READ MORE.
Start your walking tour by the cruise ship piers in front of Ocean Boulevard, although cruise ships no longer call at Kingston. The area just inshore, between Princess Street and Duke Street which both run inland parallel with each other contain a number of interesting buildings. The Oceana often hosts live conferences, and the main post office is on Temple Lane.
Kingston Mall runs between Princess Street and King Street parallel with and one block in from Ocean Boulevard. The National Art Gallery - 922-1561, is between Orange Street and King Street. Open from 10am to 5pm daily, it is in the Roy West Building with exhibits about Jamaica's art history and featuring many of the island's most talented artists. There is a fantastic bronze statue of Bob Marley on the ground floor, and upstairs there are works by Intuitive artists John Dunkley, David Miller and Sidney McLaren, sculptures Edna Manley and modern pieces by Tina Matkovic, Colin Garland and Mallico Reynolds, known as Kapo, and regarded as one of Jamaica's modern artistic geniuses. The annual exhibition, featuring the island's best artists, is held from December to January...READ MORE.
TO THE HELLSHIRE HILLS
The wilder regions of the Hellshire Hills still harbour wild hogs and it was a pig-hunter who discovered by accident, that the Jamaica Iguana still exists here. No longer classified as extinct, it is now considered the rarest lizard in the world. A conservation project headed by UWI naturalist Dr. Peter Vogel is underway. The undeveloped hills are also one of the few places where another endangered species the Jamaican Coney survives. This small nocturnal creature was hunted as food by the Arawaks and the Maroons.
Travel to Hellshire from downtown Kingston. Turn L off Garvey Drive, skirting the Kingston Freezone and crossing the causeway...READ MORE.
OLD SPANISH TOWN
Spanish Town was the former capital of the island and the town square is said to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the western hemisphere. The Spanish originally called it Villa de la Vega, which means town on the plain, after abandoning their first settlement at Sevilla la Nieva on the north coast in 1534. The town came under repeated attacks from pirates and the English over the next 120 ears. Finally, in 1655 the English captured it and moved in. As was the custom of the day, the English soldiers were allowed to loot the town, but the citizens had fled with almost everything of value, and in their anger they burnt most of the houses down...READ MORE.
The journey from Negril to Savanna-la-Mar takes less than half an hour - easy driving through a lush alluvial basin cultivated in cane. Nowhere else is it more obvious that the island's history, its present and its destiny are inextricably linked with sugar - an industry that employs at least 50,000 persons.
The exit road past the Shell Gas Station and Police Station is normally crowded with an assortment of traffic and littered higgedlly piggedly with mechanic yards, tyre shops, cafes, bars, shacks and other enterprises including R Country Western Riding stables and L Paradise Yard restaurant, creators of Rasta Pasta and other indigenous specialties like Paradise johnnycakes...READ MORE.
FROM KINGSTON INTO THE HILLS
Kingston is one of the few cities in the world where you can go from sea-level to mountain peak in less than an hour. The mountains rise to 7000 feet from the coastal plain in less than 10 miles. A gradient almost without parallel anywhere else in the world. There are five optional ways to scale the heights...READ MORE.
TO NEGRIL FROM MONTEGO BAY
Nine miles west of Montego Bay is Round Hill, "not a hotel, more a way of life," appears consistently in the Harper's and Queen list of the Three Hundred Best Hotels in the World. Round Hill was created in 1953 by John Pringle, a member of an old Jamaican family who was later a successful Director of Tourism. The concept of a nucleus hotel with luxurious satellite villas owned by shareholders and built to their own design was used shortly afterwards at Half Moon and Tryall. The Round Hill, 53 acres of land almost encircled by the sea, was purchased from Lord Monson, owner of the large cattle and coconut estate. Original shareholders included broadcasting magnate Bill Paley of CBC, Noel Coward, Oscar Hammerstein and Gladys Cooper. The roster has changed with the years but Round Hill remains a magnet for the slightly conservative jet-set. A stellar event of the Winter Season, Round Hill's Sugar Cane Ball raises money for charities in the parish of Hanover...READ MORE.
TO MONTEGO BAY FROM FERRIS CROSS
When you have retraced the coast to Ferris Cross, you can turn R and head over the hills for Montego Bay. As you climb Whithorn Hill you will get wazzu a panoramic view of the Westmoreland plain: shimmering canefields stretching south all the way to the sea and to a low range of misty blue hills. Perched above a good picture taking spot is the tiny Cokes View Methodist church.
Between the villages of Whithorn and Haddo, at a deep bend in the winding mountain road there is a Rastafarian craft-cum- food-cum-accommodation establishment. The Fairview Baptist Bible College was founded in 1963 by an independent Baptist Mission in the U.S. with the objective of training Jamaicans for the Ministry...READ MORE.
THE HILLS ABOVE MANDEVILLE
The Mandeville to Kendal highway gives a bird's eye view of Jamaica's huge red mud lake glowering beneath Shooters Hill. At the junction north of Kendal the L fork leads L to Grove Place, an agricultural research station. A detour this way takes you through citrus groves and dairy pastures to Balaclava, Appleton and Maggotty.
BALACLAVA is a pleasant village, a backwater since the closure of the railway. It has a pretty Anglican church and proximity to the huge Oxford Caves...READ MORE.
MONTEGO VALLEY AND MAROON TOWN
MAROON TOWN is a scattered community of small farmers. The largest business, and all-purpose shop belonging to the Chin family is an unofficial community centre. Maroon Town was settled originally by the remnants of the Trelawny Town Maroons. In 1739 by the Treaty that ended the first Maroon War 1,500 acres between here and Trelawny Town (now called FLAGSTAFF) were ceded to the Maroons led by the redoubtable Cudjoe. The second Maroon War erupted in 1795 after the British had the temerity to flog a Trelawny Town Maroon in Montego Bay for pig stealing. The Maroons, invincible guerrilla fighters were defeated only after the British imported bloodhounds and Amerindians to track them down. Their warriors were exiled to Canada, the rest of them scattered and Trelawny Town became a British army post. At Flagstaff, banana cultivation's conceal traces of the district's sanguinary history: military graves and the foundations of a barracks. The old parade ground is now a playing field...READ MORE.
Morris, Margaret. Tour Jamaica, 1985.