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Jumping Off the Beaten Path in Jamaica

By Lisa Collins-Haynes

San Antonio Informer

Your plane just landed at Sangster International Airport and as you make your way through customs you can hear the steel drums and beats of the Reggae sounds.   Now you’ll have that tune playing in your head for the rest of the week.  You know the one that goes, ”One love, One heart, Let’s get together and feel alright.”  Don’t worry that’s normal because its official, you are in one of the world’s most desired destinations – Jamaica.

Next stop is the hotel lobby.  Check in at any of the luxury, all inclusive, tropical resorts is a breeze; especially when you’re greeted with a refreshingly cold glass of Rum Punch.  Hopefully you’ve booked an oceanfront room, it would be a shame to be in paradise and not be able to see the Caribbean Sea while standing on your balcony every morning.  Now just because you like the finer things in life i.e.: fruity drinks and ocean views, doesn’t mean you can’t jump off the beaten path when needed, so let’s get down to business.

While the rest of the rookie tourists are loading up on Juta buses headed to the typical Jamaican spots such as the overcrowded Dunn’s River Falls, the Rose Hall Great House or Rick’s Café, the real Jamaica awaits you.  There is nothing wrong with the typical tourist attractions, but the island has so much more to offer.  For instance have you ever heard about the Lover’s Leap or the Blue Hole Gardens as Jamaican tourist attractions?  Chances are, probably not.

Lover's Leap

Lover’s Leap is located on the southwest coast of the island in St. Elizabeth Parish.  It’s a 1700 foot cliff from which two slaves jumped in the 18th century.  Legend has it that the two slaves were lovers, but their slave master wanted the girl for himself.  To avoid being separated, the pair met up and decided to jump so they could spend their happily ever after in Eternity.  Fast forward to the 21st century and a restaurant now sits atop the cliff with a patio and a view that you would not believe.  It is absolutely jaw dropping.  You can barely distinguish where the sky stops and the Caribbean Sea begins because the hues of blues intermingle flawlessly.  Take a moment to take it all in before you depart towards the next off the beaten path treasure hunt.

Blue Hole Garden

A trip to the Blue Hole Gardens located in Westmoreland is as far away from any path than you could imagine.  The roads are so poorly maintained that a car may not be able to make the full trek.  At some point you may be forced to take the path by foot, but only for a short walk – less than 5 minutes if that.  When you reach a brightly painted blue door, you’ll know you’re there.  From the outside it won’t look like much and you may be skeptical to enter, but when the gate keeper unlocks the chain and welcomes you in, you’ll have a whole new perspective.  If you have ever wondered what the Garden of Eden looked like, this is probably a pretty good replica.

Roaring River

First you’ll be blown away by the sheer magnitude of the Blue Hole and then the color.  You’ll find yourself thinking, “How did they get the water that shade of blue, green, teal, turquoise”…err okay admittedly it’s hard to decipher exactly what color the water is, but it is amazing.  Then there is the garden itself, full of ginger, heliconia, orchids and fruit trees.  The tropical climate and soil obviously help stimulate the growth of their incredibly vibrant blooms, not to mention the tender touch of the on-site gardener who is a local Rasta.  You’ll find trails that lead throughout the gardens and eventually you reach the Roaring River.  Depending on the time of year you visit, sometimes the roar of the river is more like the babble of a creek.  Feel free to jump in either body of water for a cool and refreshing swim.  Tip: wear water shoes as the rocks in the river bed can be sharp and slippery.

Jamaica has several more hidden gems to offer the tourist that marches to the beat of a different steel drum.  All the natural attractions are equally remarkable in their own right.  Since you’ve traveled all that way, you definitely owe it to yourself to hunt them out and lay eyes on the reasons why Jamaica is the most desired destination.

Lisa Collins-Haynes

Lisa Collins-Haynes is married and the mother of one daughter. She is currently working as a Freelance Travel Journalist and has had several articles published.  Lisa is a self-professed out of control travel spirit (O.C.T.S) and she invites everyone to follow her new travel blog at www.octsblogger.wordpress.com.  

 

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