Lovers’ Leap is one of Jamaica’s most romantic spots, so I was happy to visit this breathtaking place for the first time in the right company. It gets its name from the legend of two star-crossed lovers and slaves who decided to jump over this cliff rather than be parted by a jealous plantation owner who wanted the female slave for himself, and would likely have had her partner beaten, sold, maimed or worse yet, killed. Legend has it that they did not die but instead were caught in a moonlit net and gradually lowered to safety, which is just as likely as (insert unlikely event here). However, as to whether or not any couple even jumped here in the first place, who cares? It’s a romantic story set in a glorious location and that is what people drive for miles to see. The photos will reveal why shortly.
Starting from Kingston as I always describe my trips, take the Highway 2000 through St. Catherine and Clarendon then continue along the straight road through Manchester and into the St. Elizabeth parish. Drive along the Spur Tree main road (A2) until the left turn marked by a green sign which also tells you how many kilometres are left. This is across from a Total Gas Station, and from there it’s literally one straight road. Total drive time is about 2 hours and a half.
The drive up the mountain to get here is lovely on its own with cool crisp refreshing breeze greeting your face through the window and wisping at your fly aways. At the top is a welcoming sign telling you that you’ve reached your destination after which you can park in their decent-sized parking lot. There’s a sign that says guided tours cost JM$300 per person, but you need not pay it any mind unless you’d rather hear the history straight from a local and perhaps have someone point out the names of a few tropical trees and angiosperms. Otherwise, you can choose to wander around the premises for free like we did– even walk through the casual bar and restaurant without buying anything and going to the balcony just to take in the magnificent view. But of course, an ice-cold Red Stripe makes everything better so a beer was all I had.
It’s all hazy where the sea meets sky as if a constant bit of condensation is hovering around at the horizon to add to the magic of the place. The view is endless for miles and one never grows tired of staring into that obscure line of blue-meeting-blue.
The highest lighthouse in the western hemisphere is located here too, 1700 feet above sea level. Lovers’ Leap Lighthouse is Jamaica’s most recent, a 100 feet tall with a lantern and octagonal gallery and is powered by three different power sources: a generator, electricity and a set of batteries. Our Port Authority thought it a good idea to place a lighthouse at a place where you feel as if you can see forever. Well done!
The rest of the grounds are nicely kept too with well-manicured lawns, delightful flowers and trees, attractive gazebos and of course, a statue paying tribute to Missy and Tunkey, the slaves whose love story made the place famous.
My fond romantic memories of Lovers’ Leap were probably strongly influenced by sweet strains of the saxophone wafting on the breeze. Thus, Sundays are the best time to visit since it’s the only day of the week with live music and the act changes weekly. They begin playing in the late afternoon while it’s still light, into the sunset then way up in the evening hours. Dining makes way for dancing and I’m sure Missy and Tunkey are happy with the way romance lives on at their spot.
Let me not gloss over the sunset. It’s the most breathtaking I’ve witnessed in a while. Even if you can’t stay past sunset, do stay long enough to at least see the golden glow begin to kiss the waves and paint the sky vivid orange. It’s truly a brilliant sight.
A popular Sainty* spot and recently renovated, Lovers’ Leap easily earns five stars, ☆☆☆☆☆, from me. I’d return just to see the sunset and that blurred endless horizon again. It’s more thrilling a view in person than picture, so if you enjoyed the photos, that means you’ve got to go! Better yet, make a whole day trip of St. Elizabeth (like I did) then leave enough time to catch dinner and sunset at Lovers’ Leap. You’re welcome.
*Affectionate name for the St. Elizabeth parish is ‘Sainty’.
‘Til next time, ✌🏽.
My other Sainty day trips so far:
- Appleton Rum Estate (Mon to Sat, JA$2,500/US$30)
- Black River Safari (everyday, JA$1,000/US$15)
- Breadnut Valley Falls & Estate (everyday, price variable)
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