Girl sipping from coconut on a bamboo raft at Martha Brae

Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae, Trelawny

Lethe set the bar high for my rafting expectations last year and Martha Brae matched it. Martha Brae is a 32km long river which originates deep in the hills of Trelawny, a parish on Jamaica’s north coast. Bamboo rafting on the Martha Brae is rated as one of Jamaica’s top attractions. During colonial era, the river was used to connect the sugar plantations in Trelawny to the port of Falmouth. Bamboo rafts were used to float sugar and other crops to the coast where they would be shipped to Europe. Today, those identical 30-foot bamboo rafts are used to peacefully float visitors down a three-mile stretch of river through a lush rainforest and under the canopy of bamboo, coconut, fruit and flowering trees. The tour lasts approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, but can be more if you stop to purchase crafts and drinks during the trip.

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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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