Exploring Port Antonio’s Natural Sights
Where to go and what to do in Port Antonio isn’t a question that can be answered lightly, there is an awful lot of sightseeing that can be undertaken according to your own preferences, here’s our favourites that exploring the best of Jamaica’s rich & beautiful natural resources.
This wonderfully scenic journey slowly rafting along the ‘Rio Grande’ river was supposedly initiated by Errol Flynn during the 1940′s. Today paying passengers make the 6 mile journey over 2.5 hours,from Grant’s Level or Rafter’s Village, a mile east of Berridale, to Rafter’s Rest, at St Margaret’s Bay.
You will get to experience a taste of rural Jamaican life along the riverbanks, where women and children bathe and wash clothes, shore side peddlers strum guitars for a tip, and others sell sodas and coconuts, often from other rafts.
En route you’ll pass through Lover’s Lane, a moss-covered narrow stream where you’re supposed to kiss and make a wish, and Betty’s, a lean-to café on a pebbly curve of the river, where you can lunch on Jamaican staples such as ackee and codfish or janga (river shrimps) soup.
Trips are available between 9.00-4.00 and cost US$ 72.00 per raft. The price is controlled by the River Rafting Authority. We recommend and can arrange your rafting experience with Rio Grande Attractions Ltd (876-993-5778).You can find private rafters touting their services in Port Antonio or en route to the starting point of the tour but these persons are not insured. Whilst gentle rafting is not generally dangerous, it is best to err on the safe side and have the security of proper insurance in the event of any mishaps. Rafting offered by individuals may be a little cheaper but are the risks worth it?
Stunning bathing waterfalls are just one of things that Jamaica is famous for throughout the world. Port Antonio’s Reich Falls (pronounced Reach) are off the tourist beaten track but still a stunning series of cascades which tumble over limestone tiers from one hollowed, jade-coloured pool to another. We recommend getting to the Falls before mid-morning the enjoy the best light as the sun hits the river.The Reich Fall pools are differing depths so no matter your confidence and swimming ability you will feel secure, if you are slightly more confident with the guide you can explore the underwater caves and of course jump from the top!
In saying that we do recommend fully taking on board the sign that reads: Reich Falls ‘Beware of deep pools and strong currents.’
A half mile hike upriver leads to Mandingo Cave, which has a whirlpool and is worth the hike.If you want to use local transportation, you can catch any of the buses that run between Kingston and Port Antonio via Morant Bay; get off in Manchioneal, then walk or hitch uphill to Reich.A day tour with an individually chartered taxi including round trip return transport currently costs US$ 100.00 ( for 1-2 people.) which we can arrange. It’s a spectacular one-mile drive as you follow the valley of the Driver’s River into the foothills of the John Crow Mountains.
A natural lagoon whose jewel-like colours change from sapphire blues to turquoise green throughout the day.Renamed after the film the ‘Blue Lagoon’ was filmed here the lagoon is 180 ft deep and is fed by a combination of ice-cold deep springs and the warm Caribbean Sea – it makes glorious swimming and makes inspiring photography with the intensity of its jewel like colours.Located 7 miles outside of Port Antonio, the best way to access the Lagoon is by boat. These boat rides can be arranged from the Lady G’s Dive station at the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio.
Experience Mother Nature at her best at Somerset Falls. A gondola ride carries you to the falls, tucked away in an enchanting rainforest, or you can take guided tours around the botanical gardens and explore Spanish ruins of centuries past. Other smaller, almost unknown waterfalls in the area include Nanny Falls near Mooretown, Scatterwater Falls, and McKenzie Falls which cascade into the Sarah (pronounced “say”) River, a tributary of the Rio Grande. These waterfalls can be enjoyed during some of the hikes offered by Valley Hikes. For the more adventurous, there are the White River Falls which are at the end of a three-hour hike from Millbank, a village deep in the Rio Grande Valley.