Mountain River Cave & Falls, Saint Catherine

If at first you don’t succeed, try again, right? I tried visiting this waterfall one lazy afternoon in November 2022, but my travel partner and I were warned by three different residents in Cudjoe Hill that the river “come down” (was swollen) after recent heavy rainfall so that wouldn’t be a good idea. We heeded their warning and went home feeling despondent that we didn’t get to cross this one off the list. One month later we returned mid-morning and achieved success! Thus, now I can tell you all about the Mountain River Cave and Cudjoe Falls in St. Catherine. There’s some interesting Taino (Amerindian) history behind this one.

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Colbeck Castle

Colbeck Castle, Saint Catherine

Colbeck Castle is a huge mansion located near to Old Harbour in St. Catherine, Jamaica. Details about the mansion are sparse, but it is believed to have been built in about 1680 by Colonel Jon Colbeck. Colbeck came to Jamaica at 25 years old in 1655 with the invading British army that took control of Jamaica from the Spaniards. The Crown granted Colbeck 1340 acres of land as reward, which he used to build his castle. At one point, Colbeck Castle even had a moat and was the largest building in Jamaica. The estate once produced sugar and tobacco. Colbeck went on to have a distinguished career as a member of the Jamaica Assembly, but is believed to have lived a solitary life. He died at age 52 years, leaving his fortune to his executors and the church. Over time, the building fell into ruin and became property of the Jamaican government. The castle became a national heritage site in 1990, and can be visited by tourists today for free.

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Worthy Park Estate Rum Tour, Saint Catherine

Rum is an alcoholic beverage that is intimately intertwined with Caribbean history and culture. That history is cruel and downright abhorrent, where millions of West Africans were taken against their will to the Caribbean to work as slaves on sugar plantations, growing sugarcane from dawn till dusk, reaping, grinding and boiling sugarcane juice to make muscovado sugar and molasses, the latter of which was then fermented to make rum. Our ancestors likely never got to consume much of it, but now rum is the liquor of choice for their descendants and remains a quintessential part of the Caribbean spirit. There are at least three surviving Jamaican sugar estates and distilleries to this day, namely the Appleton, Worthy Park and Hampden Estates. I’ve taken the Appleton Estate Rum Tour twice and had a great time with each visit, therefore I feared another Jamaican rum tour would be repetitive. Well, thankfully that was not the case. In fact, I even preferred this experience. Here’s why.

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