16 Photos Showcasing the Beauty of St. Ann in Jamaica

Saint Ann is the largest parish in Jamaica, located on the island’s north coast. It is named for  Lady Anne Hyde, the first wife of King James II of England. You may know this parish for the resort town of Ocho Rios or perhaps even Runaway Bay or Discovery Bay. St. Ann lies almost smack in the middle of Jamaica and is also called the Garden Parish in light of its floral beauty. St. Ann is one of Jamaica’s oldest populated areas, tracing back to 600–650 AD. It is believed to be the earliest settlement in Jamaica. The Tainos, Jamaica’s pre-Columbian aboriginal people, were its first settlers. Christopher Columbus first landed in Jamaica at Discovery Bay, St. Ann in 1494. He eventually lived there for a year after being marooned in the Caribbean on his fourth voyage to the New World. The first Spanish settlement in Jamaica was at Sevilla la Nueva, and you can explore its colourful history today at the Seville Heritage Park. Today we take a look at 16 photos which showcase the beauty of this parish. See why we call St. Ann the Garden Parish of Jamaica.

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Sign at Chukka White River Valley

It’s Time to Play at Chukka Cove in Ocho Rios

Chukka is the Caribbean’s largest eco-adventure tour company. Its founder Danny Melville would host polo matches on weekends, then take the horses for a refreshing swim afterwards. In 1983 Melville opened a local equestrian centre and complemented it with an opportunity for tourists to ride and swim with horses along a scenic coastal trail. Chukka’s signature Horseback Ride ‘N’ Swim at Llandovery was the first adventure tour of its kind in Jamaica and the rest is history. Chukka now operates over 60 tours with locations in Jamaica, Belize, Turks & Caicos, the Dominican Republic and Barbados.

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Exterior of home with garden

Escape to Runaway Bay, Jamaica With These 3 Villas

Runaway Bay on the north coast of Jamaica is said to be one of the island’s most beautiful towns. The town consists of hilly terrain which gently slopes towards charming white sand beaches, pristine reefs and imposing all-inclusive resorts. Runaway Bay is an important tourist hub. It lies 27km away from the bustling resort town of Ocho Rios, and is an hour’s drive away from the island’s largest international airport in the city of Montego Bay. The meaning of the town’s name isn’t clear. Some say it is so-called because of slaves who used the beach to escape to Cuba; others say the name has to do with the Spanish soldiers who fled Jamaica from this beach after invasion by the British. Nonetheless, people would rather pay money nowadays to escape to Runaway Bay; not from! Here are three delightful villas in Runaway Bay at which one can enjoy a great vacation.

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River surrounded by greenery

Calypso Rafting & Tubing on the White River

Bamboo river rafting is one of the most relaxing and scenic tours you can take in Jamaica. There are four rivers in Jamaica used for rafting, namely the Great River, Martha Brae, White River and Rio Grande. I’d planned to make White River my third rafting adventure, however all the rafts were booked when I arrived! Therefore, I ended up tubing down the White River instead which turned out to be just as fun, if not more. Read on to learn more about this adventure + how to plan your own White River rafting and tubing trips. White River is located mere minutes from the Ocho Rios Pier in St. Ann.

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Konoko Falls, Saint Ann

Konoko Falls is a tourist attraction nestled in the hilly outskirts of popular resort town Ocho Rios. The Arawakan word for rainforest, konoko, lends its name to this 600-feet cascading waterfall and garden, formerly known as the Mahoe Falls and Coyaba Gardens; coyaba is also an Arawakan word meaning heaven. Both names are fitting, even more so given that Taino artefacts have been found here, suggesting that the area was once a settlement.

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Puerto Seco Beach, Saint Ann

Puerto Seco is a white sand beach located along Jamaica’s north coast in the historic town of Discovery Bay, St. Ann. Christopher Columbus is believed to have first landed in Jamaica on this beach with his three ships Santa Maria, Pinta and Niña in 1494. For this same reason, a park named after him lies just five minutes’ drive away. Recently leased and refurbished by the Guardsman Group security company, Puerto Seco is one of Jamaica’s most iconic beaches and was renovated to highlight that historic charm.

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Dunn’s River Falls, Saint Ann

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is a state-run tourist attraction featuring a natural waterfall, beach, park and hiking trail along Jamaica’s north coast. It has been minimally modified with cement to create footholds, making it safer and easier for tourists to climb but that’s about it. The waterfall is not man-made. If the tiers seem too perfect to believe that they are natural, that’s because Jamaica’s limestone richness and our abundant rivers create magic when they meet, carving out thousands of caves and dozens of perfectly tiered cascades throughout the whole island which are a sight to behold. They didn’t name Jamaica from the Arawakan word Xaymaca meaning ‘land of wood and water’ for nothing. April 2018 was my first visit to Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, Saint Ann.

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Salem Beach, Saint Ann

Salem Beach near Runaway Bay is perhaps not much of a swimming beach but is worth a visit if you’re dining at the restaurant which has made it popular– Sharkies Seafood. Sharkies is located on Salem Beach and what they lack in speed, they make up in deliciousness by producing seafood that’s comparable to all the great seafood eateries in and around the corporate area with which I’m familiar. Besides, if you time your visit near to sunset, the setting is glorious. With that, let’s talk about:

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Columbus Park, Saint Ann

Columbus Park is a historic open-air museum which sits by the side of the road in the north coast town of Discovery Bay. The park overlooks the expansive bay and features ruins from Jamaica’s Spanish colonization period and other relics & replicas from times past. Sadly, the park has fallen into a state of disrepair but the concept is a good one. Hopefully some improvements and repairs are made in the near future but in the mean time, let’s take a look at the park’s current state.

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Green Grotto Caves, Saint Ann

Named for the green algae which once covered their walls, the Green Grotto Caves in Discovery Bay blend ecotourism and history into a 45-minute tour. These caves, secret passages and caverns have played a pivotal role in Jamaica’s history– first used by Jamaica’s earliest inhabitants the Tainos for hundreds of years as a home, source of food and sacred ground, by the Spanish and later runaway slaves as a hideaway, by smugglers running arms to Cuba between the two World Wars then in more recent times as a rum barrel storehouse.

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