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 cascade which flows out to the Caribbean Sea 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. If the tiers seem too perfect to believe they’re 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 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 moderately expensive 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.

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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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Little Dunn’s River, Saint Ann

Little Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios is the last remaining span of free north coast between Portland & St. Ann’s Bay in Jamaica. Attempts have been made in the past by the government to shut it down, citing that the property was a safety hazard to patrons but really with the motive of handing over the property to private developers. In 2013, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) posted guards at the site, erected a fence with a locked gate, placed no trespassing signs on the property and mounted no parking signs on the adjacent strip of road on which patrons would park.

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Island Gully Falls, Saint Ann

I try to demystify Jamaican off-the-beaten-path places on Adventures from Elle because usually not much useful information is available about these places online or by word of mouth. Island Gully Falls is one such place despite becoming very popular on social media and perhaps more recently popularized as Blue Hole.

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Turtle River Park, Saint Ann

Turtle River Park is a cool oasis in the busy heart of resort town Ocho Rios. This small park is perfect for a picnic, stroll or jog, for reading, watching the fish and turtles in the stream which runs through the grounds and for entertaining bored children on its playground in the heat of the day.

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Seville Heritage Park, Saint Ann

Seville Heritage Park in Saint Ann’s Bay marks one of the first encounters between Old and New World. Unless you’re Jamaican or took Caribbean history classes, you’re likely hearing for the first time that English-speaking Jamaica was first colonized by the Spanish hence the town Sevilla la Nueva was named for Seville, Spain. Christopher Columbus first set foot in Jamaica in 1494 making an already well-known inhabited island first known to Europe. In 1503-4 he lived at the well-developed Taino town of Maima for over a year with his men after getting shipwrecked. However, it wasn’t until 1509 that Sevilla la Nueva was established becoming the first permanent European settlement in Jamaica and changing Jamaican, European and World History forever.

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