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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Everything To Know About Driving In Jamaica

The best way to experience Jamaica is by car at your own pace. Jamaica has a wide variety of landscapes ranging from reef-lined beaches, hot dusty plains, cool rugged mountains and sweeping river valleys. This landscape diversity makes the island perfect for road trips. Jamaica has over 17,000 kilometers of road networks which connect all major towns and cities. There is always something to see out the window such as colorful urban murals, street markets, omnipresent mountains and remnants of the island’s rich colonial past such as centuries-old churches, aqueducts and courthouses. You may even pass waterfalls flowing right next to the road. Self-driving in Jamaica gives you the independence to stop as you please and absorb everything.

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Persian Water Wheel, Trelawny

On the drive home from my weekend getaway at Animal Farm, my partner and I made a sightseeing detour– something which has become our norm. We had both passed signs to the Persian Water Wheel before on different occasions but never stopped. The Persian Water Wheel was built in 1798 to provide water from the Martha Brae river to the town of Falmouth in Trelawny on Jamaica’s north coast. In 2008, it was restored using many of the original parts. It still turns to this day once the river’s water level is high enough, such as after recent rainfall. The water wheel now lies on private property which is used to host events such as weddings, but thankfully we came at the end of a function and were able to view the wheel without interrupting. Here’s how this excursion went.

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2022 Year in Review

Last year was the first year that I didn’t write an end of year review. In retrospect, I’m sorry that I skipped that tradition given that Adventures from Elle celebrated five years of existence in 2021 and had received recognition on national television and in the local paper. However, I couldn’t bring myself to write a recap publicly. 2021 was one of the most difficult years of my life, personally and professionally. The pandemic was at its peak with the delta CoVid-19 variant in circulation between August to November 2021, and I still don’t feel as if I’ve fully recovered from that trauma. However, I’m happy to report that I’m in a much better place emotionally for 2022, and my workplace + life in Jamaica are mostly back to normal. I celebrated SIX years of blogging on Adventures from Elle this month too. With that said, let’s recap 2022.

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Experience Life Off the Grid at Animal Farm

Nestled in the Montpelier Hills near Montego Bay, Jamaica lies the alluring Animal Farm and Nature Reserve. This 40-acre sanctuary sits in a lush rainforest valley which is supplied by the Great River, one of Jamaica’s fastest flowing rivers. Dr. Geoffrey Williams, the owner of Animal Farm, acquired the thickly wooded land in the 1990s and transformed it into a beautiful off-the-grid farm. Animal Farm is solar-powered, harvests water from the Great River and uses bio-gas for refrigeration and cooking. Animal Farm opened to guests in 2000 and quickly became a naturalist and ecotourist’s paradise, teeming with ferns, towering trees, flowering plants and beautiful exotic birds. Today, one can escape the hustle and bustle of city life with a stay in one of the farm’s eco-cottages, or enjoy an edutaining farm tour, hiking, birdwatching, bamboo rafting excursion or even a self-guided tour through the farm at one’s own pace. In this article, I recap my weekend getaway and share why Animal Farm deserves a spot on your Jamaican bucket list.

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Jamaican Sorrel Drink (Recipe + Health Benefits)

Sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa), also known as Jamaican hibiscus, flor de Jamaica or roselle, is one of my favourite drinks. This brightly coloured spiced beverage was traditionally consumed at Christmas, but it’s so delicious and nutritious that it’s now available commercially year round in Jamaican supermarkets and restaurants. However, sorrel is still consumed more often at Christmas and you’ll find that sorrel drink and fruitcake are the standard offerings to guests at Christmas in Jamaican homes. Thus, I thought it fitting to share our recipe and the nutritional benefits of sorrel with you all.

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16 Photos Showcasing Manchester, Jamaica

Manchester is one of Jamaica’s south central parishes. It’s often said that the north coast in Jamaica is for the tourists, while the south coast is for the locals. Of course, no parish is out of bounds for tourists, but it’s just that tourists seldom visit our quiet south coast when it’s more exciting up north. Manchester was formed in 1814 and is named for the Governor of Jamaica at that time. Manchester is primarily mountainous. Over 90% of Manchester’s surface is limestone which gives it an abundance of cockpits, sinkholes, caves and underground passages. That’s why most of the parish’s rivers run underground but form delightful swimming holes during the wet season. The longest and deepest caves in Jamaica are found in Manchester, namely the Gourie Cave near Christiana and the Smokey Hole Cave in Cross Keys. Manchester has large bauxite deposits, the raw material for aluminium production. Important crops in the parish are coffee, potatoes and citrus. Ortanique, a cross between the orange and tangerine, was developed here in Manchester, Jamaica.

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10 More Interesting Jamaican Place Names

A few weeks ago I posted an article entitled ‘Interesting Jamaican Place Names.’ So many funny Jamaican place names didn’t make the cut, so I had to write a sequel. Jamaican place names are influenced by its previous Spanish and British colonizers, as well as other groups of people who have inhabited the island at various points in history. Therefore, it’s not odd that Jamaica has its own Madras and Bengal, having received indentured servants from India after slavery was abolished in 1838. Other places are inspired by the land such as Cedar Valley due to the cedar trees, Annotto Bay because annatto trees were planted there, and Bath in St. Thomas because it has a mineral bath. However, we aren’t here to discuss those basic place names. Today we discuss ten more funny and interesting Jamaican place names which I’m sure you won’t hear anywhere else across the world.

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Galina Lighthouse, Saint Mary

The only time it’s acceptable to combine business with pleasure is on a business trip, of course. St. Mary is home to several beaches, waterfalls, swimming holes and historic sites. I visited the parish recently for a practical reason, but stopped at the Galina Lighthouse on my way home. Jamaica is home to eleven lighthouses, nine on land and two offshore. These lighthouses are all operational, and maintained by the Port Authority of Jamaica. Lighthouses are erected close to navigable waters in order to guide incoming sea and aircraft. They serve as visual guides based on their physical characteristics in the day, then deliver characteristic flashes of light by night.

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10 Interesting Jamaican Place Names

Jamaicans are very matter-of-fact when naming towns and communities. If the community is on the side of a hill, it may be called Hillside such as in St. Thomas– the community with the beautiful Reggae Falls. There are several districts across Jamaica named Lookout, all providing panoramic views of the valleys below. Cooperage is so-called because it was the workshop of coopers in the 1800s, and these Irish coopers lived further up the road in– you guessed it– Irish Town. Many of the towns and rivers in Jamaica bear Spanish names because the Spanish were the first Europeans to colonize Jamaica: Ocho Rios, Port Maria, Port Antonio, Rio Grande and Santa Cruz, to name a few. Other towns got their names from British people and places such as Mandeville, Roxborough, Blenheim, Warsop, Devon and Maidstone. However, some Jamaican place names are much more interesting. Here are ten funny and interesting Jamaican place names which I’m sure you won’t hear anywhere else across the world.

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