Poet Reef, Hanover

Poet Reef is a salubrious luxury three bedroom waterfront villa located on Jamaica’s north coast in Cousins Cove, Hanover. Constructed of hand-cut stone and furnished with locally made pieces, the villa looks like a home which could have been built in a previous era, but is equipped with modern conveniences which would give it away as a gem from our generation. Poet Reef overlooks an expansive cove and the view is nothing short of breathtaking. Consider Poet Reef for your next vacation on Jamaica’s north coast if you’re looking for a unique place to idle awhile. Let me take you on a short tour of this beautiful property.

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Lethe, Hanover

Lethe is a rural district tucked away in the hills of Hanover, Jamaica’s second smallest parish. This small community sits on the banks of the Great River, one of Jamaica’s major rivers, which forms the boundary between the St. James and Hanover parishes. Lethe is easily the third most popular place to raft in Jamaica after the Rio Grande and Martha Brae rivers in Portland and Trelawny respectively. Rafting on 30-feet long bamboo rafts along the Great River in Lethe under a historic bridge and the cool viridescent canopy of towering trees and bamboo is an unforgettable experience.

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Tryall Water Wheel, Hanover

I’ve heard of the Tryall Golf Course and Beach Club in Hanover on the outskirts of Montego Bay before, but I didn’t know that the property had a gigantic waterwheel. I noticed the Jamaica Heritage Trail signs while driving through the area some weekends ago, and decided to stop. I was in for a pleasant surprise. This still functioning cast iron waterwheel was assembled in 1700 by Henry Fairchild, the first owner of the estate. It was damaged in the 1831 Sam Sharpe Christmas slave rebellion but was subsequently restored.

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Fort Charlotte, Hanover

Last weekend I had the immense privilege of visiting and staying in Hanover, Jamaica’s second smallest parish, on the northwestern coast of the island. Hanover was the last of Jamaica’s fourteen parishes for me to visit and I accomplished that feat last August with a stay at the Grand Palladium Hotel. However, I didn’t explore the parish otherwise so it was exciting to be back less than a year later. I knew I had to check out Fort Charlotte in Lucea because I love exploring historical gems. One thing about forts is that they always command an amazing view of the harbour since they were strategically built to defend the nation’s waters.

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Hampden Estate Rum Tour, Trelawny

Nestled deep in the Queen-of-Spain valley of Trelawny, Jamaica lies the Hampden Estate. Hampden Estate was established in 1753, and still produces rum to this day using centuries’-old traditions with just a few modern upgrades. This relatively small sugarcane estate and rum distillery occupy roughly 3,500 acres and have remained in continuous operation for over 260 years, making some of the world’s most sought after and award-winning rums. Their aged rums are bottled as Hampden Estate rums, while their unaged rum is sold as Rum Fire white overproof rum. Interestingly enough, majority of the rum produced by this estate is exported to Europe, and the waitlist for a shipment of Hampden rum can be as long as two years. Very little is available on the local market so many Jamaicans are unfamiliar with the Hampden brand, but the Hampden Estate Rum Tour will change that.

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Where To Get An Adrenaline Rush In Jamaica

Adrenaline is a hormone released by two tiny organs located atop the kidneys, known as the adrenal glands. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is the “fight-or-flight hormone.” Adrenaline is released in response to stressful, exciting and dangerous situations. Adrenaline helps the body to react more quickly by increasing the heart rate, increasing blood flow to the brain and muscles and stimulating the body to release energy stores for fuel. When adrenaline is released suddenly, it’s referred to as an adrenaline rush. That rush is euphoric and addictive and makes people willingly put themselves into situations which could potentially be dangerous! Today, let’s take a look at eight ways one can experience an adrenaline rush in Jamaica.

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Brae Head Falls, Clarendon

Clarendon is not a parish which comes to mind when one thinks of a Jamaican adventure, but it’s a parish which has been on my mind to explore for nearly two years as an adventurous nature lover. Clarendon is a parish on Jamaica’s south coast in the centre of the island and has a population of 246,000 people, most of whom reside in and around May Pen on the Vere Plains. Clarendon is bordered by St. Catherine to the east, Manchester to the west and St. Ann to the north. The parish, like all 14 parishes of Jamaica, is washed by the Caribbean Sea and has attractions like Milk River Bath and the recently crash-landed plane at Rocky Point on its south coast. Up north is mountainous with rivers, a nature reserve and the geographic centre of Jamaica at Bull Head Mountain Peak. It’s surprising that the area isn’t marketed for ecotourism, but again Jamaica is a country which is full of unmarketed potential. This is the first time I’ve ever ventured into this side of Jamaica and it didn’t disappoint. The waterfalls in Brae Head are often listed as being located in the neighbouring communities of Crooked River or Trout Hall, just because Brae Head isn’t on the map of Jamaica! Here’s how to find this remote corner of Jamaica.

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Millbank Falls, Portland

By some stroke of luck, my favourite parish of Portland in the northeastern side of Jamaica remains lush, green and untouched by mass tourism. Portland is home to the Jamaican Blue and John Crow Mountains which has species not seen in other parts of the island, let alone the entire world. It houses the Windward Maroons, an indigenous group of Jamaicans who are direct descendants of runaway Africans and Amerindians. The Jamaican Maroons are a proud people and have called the rugged inhospitable mountains home for over three centuries. Their governance is largely independent of mainstream Jamaica, they live off of and respect the land, and have managed to preserve their rich heritage and traditions to this day. It’s in this region of Jamaica that Millbank and its majestic waterfalls are located: the Upper Rio Grande Valley which is Windward Maroon country. Here’s how that adventure went.

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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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Treasure Beach, Saint Elizabeth

There is a little corner of Jamaica which is stuck in an era before the crime, high-end tourism and commercialization. That little corner is known as Treasure Beach. Treasure Beach is a small coastal town which prides itself on community tourism where foreigners co-exist with the locals in harmony. Mom-and-pop shops reign supreme and there are no large all-inclusive resorts. The accommodations are only small boutique hotels, Airbnbs and villas. Crime is almost non-existent in this side of Jamaica. Sounds utopian, doesn’t it? Well, it’s true.

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