Complied by Susie Reese
Ashley Colburn is finding paradise again, this time on the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
In this episode, Ashley visits the getaway hotspots of Montego Bay, Negril, and Ocho Rios.
Carey Dennis, member of the Jamaica Tourism Board, explains that Montego Bay is known for its rich culture and history.
“Because of our colonial past, we have a lot of great houses and plantations, so those are good to look at, and there is a lot of adventure activities,” Dennis says. “The name Jamaica stands for the ‘Land of Wood and Water,’ so a lot of our attractions are water-based.”
One of Ashley’s first stops is the Rose Hall, once a sugar cane plantation with more than 2,000 slaves. Latoya Lewis, a Rose Hall guide, tells tales of hardship, romance, and even witchcraft at the Rose Hall Great House. The mansion was in 1750 by George Ash, a wealthy English planter who named it after his wife, Rose.
Due to its history, Rose Hall is reportedly haunted.
“Sometimes, you hear chairs move, tables move,” Lewis points out. “Sometimes lights turn on and turn off by themselves.”
Rose Hall is now a museum with tours, including a night ghost walk, but it also holds private events and functions, like weddings.
“It’s perfectly situated because the view is priceless,” Ashley says.
Related Story: Immerse Yourself in the Jamaican Culture
Green Grotto Caves
These underground caves are natural wonders of Jamaica and were originally used for shelter and protection for the island’s first settlers before becoming hiding places for slaves.
“We refer to these caves as the Jamaican version of the Underground Railroad, where runaway slaves would use these caves as a hideout before going on deeper into the mountains to join up with people who were already freed,” Dwayne McFarlane, a guide for the Green Grotto Caves.
The grotto has artifacts from as early as the 6th century, and the caves were rumored to be used by pirates. Now the caves are open to visitors from around, so they can “see Jamaica literally from the inside out,” McFarlane notes.
Other Jamaican experiences, and yes, we mean jerk chicken.
Jamaica has a plethora of natural experiences, including a river ride down the Martha Brae with handmade boats.
Peter Henry, rafting guide, explains, “Every guide builds his own boat, and they only last for eight months. Then they get water logged, and they sink.”
The boat Ashley used was fairly new, and she even was able to drive it.
Ashley stopped by one of the island’s most famous retreats, Scotchies, for some authentic Jamaican jerk chicken, before heading out to the sea.
“You cannot come to Jamaica and not venture out into the sea, so I’ve joined up with Chukka Tours to do it a more adventurous way,” Ashley says. “We’re going horseback riding.”
Ashley led her horse through an old sugar cane planation before hitting the water where the horses actually swim with riders on their backs.
Then Ashley headed to the Jamaica Swamp Safari Village to hold a baby crocodile before heading to Negril for the world-famous Ricks Café with cocktails and cliff jumpers.
Related Story: Behind the Scenes – Paradise Found: Jamaica
Ashley ended her journey in Jamaica on the north side of the island with Ocho Rios.
“Once a fishing village, this town is now full of shops, resorts, and tourist fun,” Ashley notes. “From the sea to the mountains, Ocho Rios has it all.”
Ashley took the lift up Mystic Mountain to see the beautiful vistas of the tropical forests and the turquoise water. The best way down the mountain is not the lift but the bobsled, which winds through the tropical brush like a roller coaster!
Also in Ocho Rios is Dunn’s River Falls, the number one attraction in Jamaica with breathtaking limestone rocks you can climb with a guide; the Cool Runnin’ catamaran cruise with dancing and sightseeing; and other wonders!
So check out Jamaica—the Home of All Right!® And while watching the video, spot GOGO Vacations’ Online Coordinator Adam Okimatsu and Senior Graphic Designer Stefani Stout!
Watch all the Paradise Found videos here!
About Susie Reese
Susie Reese is a copywriter for FC USA Artworks. She loves to travel (you know it!) and has ventured extensively across North America. She enjoys short walks on the beach and comic cons. She writes On the Go: A Magazine for Travelers and on her free-time, comics and short stories.