Category Archives: Recreation in Jamaica

Recreation in Jamaica. There are activities to suit all ages and tastes in Jamaica, you can choose from laid back beach vibes, nature and environmental pursuits, sports and outdoor activities, holistic and well-being, luxury hotels and eco-resorts, shopping and sight seeing, arts and cultural tours, children’s and young adults entertainments. Something for everyone!

Paint and Sip in Jamaica – Art Parties for all Levels

Painting and colouring for adults is having a bit of a moment of late. Hailed as the next ‘best thing’ for relaxation and freeing the mind from the weariness of life, even the most uninitiated are turning into wannabe art fiends.

You too may have felt a Picasso moment coming on whilst carefully shading in your colouring book with your new pastel coloured pencils. Which may of whet your appetite for something a little less ‘colour between the lines’ and a little more paint brush, easel and watercolours.

Before you start doubting yourself, I know that painting, or should I say, creating a masterpiece, isn’t going to be easy for beginners. But I have an almost guaranteed way of indulging your creative side and making your first foray into painting a successful and more importantly a relaxed and fun one.

Let me introduce you to Stephanie Lue Yen, a published artist and entrepreneur, who has set up her own company ARTify! catering to budding artists in Jamaica.

Exclusive Interview with Stephanie Lue Yen

I caught up with Stephanie to the get the lowdown on ARTify, her fantastic Art Camps, Paint and Sip parties and all her other exciting business offerings. Whilst tapping her for all the things she loves to do in Jamaica and a quick flick through her ‘little black book’ for good measure.

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, or already live here and fancy dabbling in some art, Stephanie will be sure to engage and entertain groups of children and adults alike with her warm and personable attitude and professional work….

 INTRODUCING artify

All About SLY – a brief introduction

Stephanie Lue Yen was born in St. Andrew to a large and diverse family and was raised mainly by her mother after her father sadly passed away when she was young. Proud of the dynamics of her mixed ethnicity Stephanie absorbed Chinese, Jamaican and European cultures, forging a love of Art, languages and travelling.

Stephanie muses that her artistic streak was inherited from her mother, who was always sewing. Her natural talent was strong and she remembers being the most creative out of her friends and siblings. In her early years at High School, buoyed by her inspirational first art teacher Miss Lynch, the foundation was set for Stephanie’s love of Art in all its many facets.

 

 

Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts

After graduating from High School, Stephanie prepared her portfolio studying Graphic Design and Painting at the prestigious Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, on a part-time basis. But despite being accepted into their Bachelor of Fine Arts program, she put her true love to one side and shrewdly opted to study business, completing a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.

Most of Stephanie’s adult life was spent pursuing a regular 9 to 5 office job, working for Technology and Tourism Companies, whilst pushing her Art to the lexicons of a hobby, or plan B. But there was always a nagging feeling that this wasn’t her true calling and Stephanie took a philosophical approach to her future “with age comes wisdom and the appreciation of how important it is to nurture your talents and feed your soul with the things you are passionate about” and so Stephanie turned to her Art again.

“To me, my creativity is my strongest characteristic. At the core I am an artist and my goal is to build a career around my passion.”     

                                                                             

‘SLY’ The Professional Artist

With little formal instruction from her early days, Stephanie honed her skills with enthusiasm, raw talent and practice. The dedication paid off.

With seven years of professional success under her belt showing and selling her work privately and through galleries such as ‘Island Art and Framing’ in Orchard Village Plaza, the artist known as ‘SLY’ is well and truly on the map. Ever the art chameleon, Stephanie Lue Yen (SLY) art is very different from what you will see at an ARTify party where the crowd participation calls for an easy to follow piece.

Not one to sit on her artistic laurels, Stephanie dreams of hosting a public exhibition after the recent successful release of her first complete collection “More Than Words”.

 

IMAGINATION CAMP Art Camp Jamaica
IMAGINATION CAMP

 

Launching ARTify!

Imagination Camp – Arts and Crafts Summer Camp for Kids

In summer 2016, Stephanie launched ARTify in Jamaica, with an Arts and Crafts Summer Camp for kids “Imagination Camp”. The camp run by Stephanie and her dear friend was a success, where they spent two weeks teaching twenty children aged between 5 and 10 years old, about the elements of art and foundation techniques. The basis behind the camp was to make art fun and accessible for children so that they too would have an appreciation of the Arts…

Our camps are small and intimate so each child gets special attention and it really is like a family for the 1-2 weeks. We pride ourselves on making quality art. In our first summer camp, kids learnt the elements of art so much that they could apply them on their own and even talk the talk. They painted on canvas and made mixed media crafts. I know it sounds serious but if you follow us on Instagram (@imaginationcamp_ja) you will see it was all fun.”

The first camp was a hit with the parents, but it was the enthusiasm of the children enjoying the art so much that filled Stephanie’s heart until she was spurned on to share her with others.

 

Paint and Sip! Artify Jamaica
Paint and Sip! Artify Jamaica

 

Paint and Sip

Bolstered by the success of the kids parties, the entrepreneur ventured into paint parties, or Paint and Sips. This was a natural progression for Stephanie as she had instructed some Paint and Sips as a guest artist in the past and had realised that people were opening up to the creative world. The special thing about an ARTify! Paint and Sip, is that you get the opportunity to get up close and personal with Stephanie herself, as she hosts all her own events.

Stephanie specialises in catering for private groups as she had noted there is already a certain chemistry when everyone knows each other and they “let it go” a bit more than a public group.  If you are interested in booking an ARTify party they can host an event at your own home or in one of their preferred venues in Kingston, such as Cannon Ball Cafe or The Haven.

 

“What separates us from the others offering paint parties is that you really have a lot of                                                          input into your event. You know who the artist is ( i.e. Me 🙂 ) and the host or group                                                              chooses what we paint, so it’s always something that fits the tastes of the guests. As an                                                          artist I know it isn’t fun to paint something that doesn’t inspire you. When it is at one of                                                      our venues, we assist with organising catering and decorations and so on, if requested.”

 

Stephanie has simplified the process of choosing a piece to paint, with a gallery of paintings on the ARTify website that clients can select from. There is a wide selection to choose from, but if you don’t see something to suit your taste or occasion, you can let them know what you have in mind and they will create a unique piece based for you.

What ARTify can do for You

ARTify’s main services include paint and craft parties for private groups, adults and kids. They are a great way to celebrate birthdays, bachelorette and showers, but it can be any occasion; such as, over the Christmas a couple asked them to host a Paint and Sip because they had a friend visiting. They are also fun team experiences for companies, associations and other groups. Or, just because! Art (and drinking) is always fun.

 

The Future of ARTify! in Stephanie’s Own Words

As is the way with artistic people, Stephanie has the urge to continually keep evolving and creating…

“I didn’t want to be limited. Art has no limits! I wanted to create a brand that represents the creative life, the go-to for creative experiences, creative products and services. To ARTify is to improve the environment and life through art, expand experience and enrich the world through artistic actions. We host arts and crafts camps and workshops, paint and sip and paint parties, plus we create custom pieces for events and we make Jamaican crafts. We are just getting started!

Then, there are our Jamaican crafts. The first one to launch is our UN-WINED Candle which is made using repurposed wine bottles. Repurposing or “upcycling” is very important to me. I’m always thinking of how something can be made into something else or better. I call it “future eyes”. I see potential where people see junk.  We currently offer 3 Jamaican fragrances –  ortanique, coffee and pimento, we have also added citronella to the lot because mosquitoes can be a problem on the island. They are made in Jamaica by Jamaicans. We have other Jamaican-made crafts on the way.

We are open to any creative request. We’ve been commissioned to make backdrops and handmade signs for events. Crafting is so much fun. If you don’t enjoy it, let us do it!”

 

UN-WINED Scented Candles Artify! Jamaica
UN-WINED Scented Candles

 

 ARTify! Insider Guide to Jamaica

If you want to do Jamaica like one of it’s most fabulous home-grown artists,  check this insiders guide from the gorgeous and talented Stephanie Lue Yen…

“Growing up in Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica, my fondest childhood memories include going to all the Craft Fairs at Christmas and seeing all the local crafts, especially pottery and jewelry. Another favourite is going to Hellshire Beach with my family for a good fried fish. I still do both things 🙂 ”

 

ARTify! on Why Jamaica is an Ideal Vacation Destination

“One great thing about Jamaica is the diverse landscape. Foreigners just think of the beach but we are blessed with stunning beaches, and mountains, rivers and waterfalls. The landscape offers such varied experiences. It’s hard for me to choose a favourite.

There are a lot of organised attractions for tourists and luxury all-inclusive hotels where you want for nothing. But there are also the real authentic Jamaican experiences, when you mingle with local people and enjoy the island the way we do. Like adventuring off the beaten path to beautiful swimming spots and trails that aren’t on google maps, eating Jamaican street food and maybe stopping impromptu at a street dance. Whether you’re looking to just relax in comfort or to get out there on an adventure, Jamaica has it.”

Places Fixed on ARTify’s Jamaican Speed Dial

  • The Haven on Hillcrest Avenue: a quaint outdoor bar with a friendly vibe
  • Cannon Ball Cafe in Barbican: when I’m not hosting a paint party there, I stop in for a cup of tea or their super yummy Power Salad.
  • Cellar 8 in Manor Park: great cocktails and food with a lovely ambience
  • Island Art and Framing: not just because my art is displayed there 🙂 It’s a great gallery of local paintings and locally made wooden furniture. Your eyes will be happy. It’s both a gallery and framing store so typically the persons in there are artists themselves or they appreciate art. I absorb all the positive energy!
  • Azans Supercenter in Regal Plaza: they sell everything there for the home and I get a lot of inspiration for decor projects

ARTify! Favourite Island Hide-aways for a Weekend in Jamaica

“In St. Ann I stay in the district called Bamboo at ‘Chippenham Park’ a lovely Georgian style house with neighboring egg farm. The house is over 200 years old and is really high up so it gets very cold (for a Jamaican). It’s a great place to snuggle by the fire-place or gaze at the stars and leave the city stress behind. The 3 bedroom house is available for vacation rentals.

In Portland, Kanopi House is a beautiful property with several villas built mostly from wood. Kind of a tree-house, jungle vibe and its right on the Blue Lagoon.

I can’t leave out Eits Cafe in the Blue Mountains! Let me just say “rustic relaxation”. Rustic wooden rooms, breathtaking views, a great restaurant, and the sound of the river always in the background. Look it up!”

Artify on the ‘Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!’ campaign on the Sweet Jamaica website…

I would like to commend Jules for the “Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!” Campaign. I especially admire that as a foreigner she has recognized all that is positive about Jamaica and has made it her mission to help showcase that internationally. I’m a firm believer in buying local as much as we can, especially when it comes to supporting our local farming and food manufacturing industry. As a local business or artisan it is often difficult to compete with imported goods which are usually priced cheaper. But it is important not just to support our economy but to nurture the talent and morale of our people. Every time that we support a local business or artisan, that is what we are doing. We are saying, “I appreciate what you are doing, Don’t stop!” – Stephanie Lue Yen

Contact and Bookings for ARTify!

If you want to get in touch with Stephanie at Artify, the best place to start is their website. All their products and services are listed and you can contact them using the contact page.

Email at steph@artifyja.com.

We are also on:

Artify! Website

Facebook as Artify Ja

Instagram @artify_ja 

Instagram @imaginationcamp_ja

 

 

 

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios – Beach in Saint Ann, Jamaica

The pull of a beautiful waterfall with crystal clear water cascading into the ocean is hard to resist. Little Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios, Saint Ann, is a secret (not so secret among locals) alternative to the tourist masses descending on it’s more famous sister, Dunn’s River Falls. When I had a free afternoon after a few days of heavy driving recently, I jumped at the chance to experience Little Dunn’s River for myself. The descent to view the falls is an adventure in itself and if you love the simple things in life a visit to Little Dunn’s River will be sure to please you too.

If you are in the vicinity of Ocho Rios and want to experience a waterfall and beach setting, without all the hands tied together climbing en-mass part, check out Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios – Beach in Saint Ann, Jamaica. 

How to get to Little Dunn’s River

If you are driving from Ocho Rios, take the highway out-of-town towards Saint Ann’s Bay. As you leave the town you will drive past Reynolds Pier and the helicopter base on your right hand side, keep going. Look out for a lay by on the RIGHT hand side, where there is a couple of small single storey white buildings. Park on right hand side of the road ONLY, out of the soft shoulder and on the grass verge; do not park on the opposite side of the road in the soft shoulder.  If you get to Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Ridge you have gone too far, so go ahead and carefully turn round! You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

If you are driving from the direction of Saint Ann’s Bay and beyond, head along the highway towards Ocho Rios. Once you pass Dunn’s River  Falls on your right, Dolphin Cove on your left and Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Ridge on your right hand side… look out just around the next corner you will see the lay by. Park your vehicle! You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

Entrance to Little Dunn's River
Entranceway in Layby

Entrance Fee and Access to Little Dunn’s River

Little Dunn’s River is accessed from one of two inconspicuous gateways off the pathway in the verge. The first of which has a double door gateway, the second further along the trail has a single gateway. You will normally see a couple of guys ‘manning’ the single gate and they will probably ask for a donation to keep the beach clean; use your discretion. However, Little Dunn’s River and the beach is officially free to enter and you do not have to pay for parking.

It is quite hard to traverse the descent to the falls and ultimately the beach. Therefore, I would not recommend Little Dunn’s River beach and falls for the infirm or unfit! Once you enter through either of the gateways you go down some concrete steps to a platform area. You can either go the right where is the beach area is hidden behind a tree bowing down into the ocean, or go the left where there is a stepped descent to another platform area where the falls are visible. Either way ends up taking you to the ocean. There are not really any falls to climb per se, but you can climb down a small area into the ocean and sit under one of the lesser waterfalls for an invigorating massage!

Steps leading to Little Dunn's River
Stairway to Beach

You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

Little Dunn’s River is open to the public and it’s a little more relaxed than some of the ‘paid for’ beach experiences. Many of the beaches in Jamaica have been bought by investors and commercialised so that there is no access to the public. This is a shame as everyone loves going to the beach and having a cooling and refreshing dip in the ocean and many of the locals are priced out in this way.

The actual ‘beach’ at Little Dunn’s River is very small , a sandy slither with a couple of bent over trees to sit on. Don’t bother coming with the whole beach caboodle as there won’t be room to spread out on the sand! There is a wide, shallow and clear area of water directly where the river (falls) enter the ocean which is nice for a dip for non-swimmers and the young. There is a couple of lines with floats directing swimmers away from the rocky areas under foot. If you want to swim and go deeper you can go beyond the bowed over tree to a warm and sandy area of the seabed…. Lovely!

Little Dunn’s River is a chilling spot to marvel at the beauty of nature, enjoy a dip in the ocean and to have an invigorating sit down under the waterfalls. The beach is really small, hence the low score, but the falls are beautiful. The ocean is shallow and calm and there is plenty of space to splash around and swim out. The facilities are limited and the washrooms are right at the very top (although I never checked they were open). There are a few vendors selling drinks and snacks, one of which was perched right on top of the falls! The whole area was very clean and I noticed the beach vendors regularly sweep off the debris on the sand. I arrived around 3.00pm and there were plenty of people around, after about an hour the crowds thinned and we could get a chance to go under the falls. I spent a few hours here to relax and unwind and really enjoyed myself.

Little Dunn's River Waterfall
Little Dunn’s River Waterfall

 

Crystal Clear Waterfalls
Crystal Clear Waterfalls

 

Little Dunn's River Ocho Rios
Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios

 

Small Sandy Beach
Small Sandy Beach

 

The trail
The trail

 

Waterfall
Waterfall at Little Dunn’s River

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Jamaica Travel Guides and The Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor

Okay, so everyone has heard of the global travel review phenomenon TripAdvisor, right? Well the number one vacation review site has my attention for two reasons this month. Firstly, I have followed the ongoing Travellers’ Choice 2016 award winners with interest and secondly, I have some exciting news to share with all that I have kept quiet about for a while. I’m talking about my Jamaica Travel Guides and The Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor…

TripAdvisor Travel Guides

I am super excited to share this news with you all!  I was commissioned by TripAdvisor to produce a series of Travel Guides for Jamaica, and I am proud to tell you that two of them have been published and are available to view online NOW! My published Travel Guides give information for visitors to Jamaica who are looking to spend time in the beautiful and lively Parish of Saint James. Located on the north coast, towards the west of the island Montego Bay is a tourist haven, with bundles of things to do to wile away the hours. Check out my Travel Guides for Saint James, Jamaica on the TripAdvisor website and give it a ‘Thumbs Up!’ if you found it helpful.

Click the images to be redirected to my Travel Guides featured on TripAdvisor:

3 Days in Saint James Parish

3 Days in Saint James Parish

 

Guide to Saint James Outdoors

Guide to Saint James Outdoors

Travelers’ Choice Awards

I am also excited to share this second piece of TripAdvisor news… ‘Jamaica has hit the top spots again at the Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor’. The reviews have been tallied and the votes have been calculated. Yes, that’s right the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2016 Award winners have been announced! As usual my eyes are always peeled to see how Jamaica has fared in the awards and I am happy to see Jamaica has scooped a fair few so far. Every year TripAdvisor holds the Travelers’ Choice Awards to honour the most popular destinations around the world. These are some of Jamaica’s achievements this year:

Travellers' Choice Trip Advisor

Top 10 Islands in the Caribbean

  • 1st Place – Jamaica

Top 10 Islands in the World

  • 3rd Place – Jamaica

Top 10 Destination’s in the Caribbean

  • 3rd Place – Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • 4th Place – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean

  • 5th Place – The Rock House, Negril, Jamaica
  • 12th Place – Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • 16th Place – Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Images above of Hotel Winners in Jamaica, copyright TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is the number one online destination for up to the minute travel advice from its online community of review giving travel fiends. If you are thinking of going ANYWHERE you must try TripAdvisor, as chances are someone has already reviewed where you are planning on going, including reviews from me – SweetJamaicaJules! There is plenty of advice and reviews on all the popular destinations, accommodations and places to visit prior to your visit to Jamaica. So check it out!

TripAdvisor Logo

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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Introducing NEW Rising Star Petraa and her single ‘Love is Eternal’

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my friend and up and coming Reggae, R’n’B and Dancehall artist, Petraa. With links to the UK, Canada and the Caribbean, she is set to be an international superstar making her mark in the industry within the coming year. Multi-faceted and vocally talented, Petraa’s musical style ranges from sweet and sensual to raw, real talk, story telling.  A singer, song writer and outgoing performer, Petraa has grown as an artist with a passion for singing since a tender age. Petraa re-started her musical journey anew in 2015 in Jamaica, the land of the great and the glorious in the music scene. Here we share her story and get an insight into what she is all about and what you can expect from her in 2016 and beyond.

 

Petraa’s Interview with ‘Sweet Jamaica Jules’

Hi and welcome to ‘Sweet Jamaica’ Petraa, it’s great to get a chance to sit down and have a chat so that we can introduce you and your newly released single to our readers. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Please introduce yourself…

Hi Readers and Fans! My name is Petraa. I am an Up and coming Reggae, R’n’B and Dancehall artist currently living in Jamaica but originating from Leeds, in the U.K. I moved to Canada after growing up in England but due to my love and passion for music I recently moved to Jamaica to pursue my music career.

 

What brought you to Jamaica specifically?

Music! My love, passion and drive for it. I like to compare myself to a hungry Rottweiler waiting to be let off my leash lol. I love music, especially Reggae and Dancehall, and because I am an artist practising the craft, it only seemed fit that I do this in the land of where it originated, Jamaica.  

 

What do you most like about living in Jamaica?

Waking up to sunshine, fresh air, green trees and happy people. I love to just be immersed in Jamaican culture, especially when it comes to the music. I love how serious people take the craft of music in Jamaica. To be an artist in Jamaica, is to be very well respected. You can’t be an artist here and not take it seriously. I’ve also found that when it comes to the music scene here, as long as you have the talent, passion and drive, you will meet like -minded individuals to share and grow your music with.

 

What have you been up to in Jamaica in 2015?

This year has been a great year for me, jumping into the Jamaican music scene. Prior to this year, I had  taken some time out of the music industry to pursue other non musical ventures. Being back on the scene this year and in Jamaica, I have had the opportunity to meet and perform with a lot of great artists such as Lady Saw, D’ Angel,  Producers, Radio hosts and  DJs and had the chance to perform in a few shows.

While here I have also been going to the studio. I recently recorded my single ‘Love is Eternal’ with ‘Di Lab Records’, a studio based in Exchange, St. Ann. While there, I also recorded a number of dub plates and  jingles. Due to its success, ‘Love is Eternal’ has been featured on a variety of mix-tapes throughout Jamaica. Currently, ‘Love is Eternal’ is playing on radio stations in Jamaica, including Irie FM. The song has also been getting air play in the UK and I recently  did an interview with VRL Radio to promote the single.

How much creative control do you have over your music?

As an unsigned artist, I have full control over my music and sound, especially when it comes to style, lyrics, rhythms and direction. I think it’s important for an artist to be able to exercise this right because it’s that freedom that allows a person’s artistry to show and can be related to by their fans. When it comes to my music, I work with producers to custom make sounds that represent and showcases  the many sides of Petraa. Also because I write my own songs, it allows me to be able to discuss topics and issues close to me and my fans.

What sort of image does your music portray?

My music portrays a sweet, sexy, rude gyal style.  Because I grew up experiencing both sides of the track. I’ve experienced struggle and success and my style, sound, and swag is a representation of that. When it comes to my image, how I am is a true representation of who I am.

As an Artist, is there anything special you would like to accomplish?

Yea, there is a lot I would love to accomplish, just wanna make sure there is enough time lol… Honestly, I would love to accomplish and create a great body of musical works, with the type of sound that can be played and enjoyed by people in years to come. Also I want to use my artistry to do some philanthropic pursuits, starting with giving back and making donations to schools and educational institutions in Jamaica.  

 

What can people expect to see at your live performances?

Well,  fans can expect to see an energetic, lively stage show. I’m an artist that likes to go hard with my performances. I want my fans to not only hear me, but feel me. Whether I’m accompanied by a live band or  backing track,  you’re gonna see an artist that isn’t afraid to bring it and be immersed in the music. When I go on stage I try to put myself in the shoes of my audience and bring them the kind of performance I would go and pay money to see myself.

 

Tell us about your single?

‘Love is Eternal’ is a R’n’B and Reggae song influenced by the genre of Lovers rock. It talks about the innocence of meeting someone and enjoying that real connection.

What was your inspiration for the track?

Lol, Mmmm, it’s based on a past relationship. It was written at a time when I was very much in love. Even though the relationship didn’t last, at least I have a song capturing what it was.

Why did you choose to record this track in Jamaica?

I felt Jamaica was the best place to record because nowhere in the world knows reggae music and its sound like Jamaica. Because my music is heavily influenced by Reggae and Dancehall, it only seemed fitting that I recorded my music in the land of where it originated. Not to mention, the Sound quality is amazing in Jamaica. When it comes to making sound recordings, the engineers are great at creating that live sound using various music programmes.

Where did you record the track and who are you currently working with?

I recorded the track  with Christopher Coombs at ‘Di Lab Records’ in Exchange, St. Ann, Jamaica. I am currently working with Raymond Dizzle from ‘Dizzle Entertainment’ to set the wheels in motion to promote ‘Love is Eternal’ and other up and coming ‘Petraa’ releases.

 

Petraa Love is Eternal
Petraa Love is Eternal

 

What do you have planned for 2016?

I would like to travel  with my music, and hopefully get a chance to do performances and shows in other countries. My aim is to release my singles and do a few collaborations with more established artists in Jamaica, allowing me to showcase my versatility. By the end of the year, I would like to be able to look back and see my accomplishments for the year.  I also would like to increase my fan support online and on road, to be able to build a relationship with them so they can go on this musical journey with me.

 

When and where can we buy the Song?

Well, the song is currently available for listening on YouTube. Type in ‘Petraa  ‘Love is Eternal’ (new reggae 2016)’ and it will pop up.  The single will be available for download on iTunes and other musical distribution sites in the next few weeks.

 

Petraa in the beginning
Petraa in the beginning

 

What artists do you enjoy listening to?

That’s like one of the hardest questions to ask me, I listen to such a variety of artists. Let me see… I enjoy listening to Marcia Griffiths, Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, Chronixx, Aidonia, Popcaan, Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Nikki Minaj, Drake, Rihanna, Future. I also love eras of music like the jazz, rhythm and blues era of the 1930s in America like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald,  Motown, Reggae from the 50s to 70s and  R’n’B  from the 90s.

 

If you could perform with 10 artists dead or alive who would it be?

  1. Marcia Griffiths
  2. Bob Marley
  3. Jah Cure
  4. Mavado
  5. Aidonia
  6. Popcaan
  7. Chronixx
  8. Erykah Badu
  9. Nikki Minaj
  10. Drake

 

Name your Top 10 favourite tracks of all time?

  1. Marcia Griffiths – Dreamland
  2. Stevie Wonder – Ribbon in the sky
  3.  Lauryn Hill – Zion
  4. Bob Marley – Forever loving Jah
  5. Erykah Badu – Tyrone
  6. Floetry – Say Yes
  7. Mary J Blige – Share my World
  8. Maxwell – This Woman’s Work
  9. Luther Vandross – If Only for One Night
  10. Minnie Riperton – Loving You

 

How can fans keep up to date with what you are doing next?

Well, my fans are welcome to stay in touch through social media to keep up to date with everything I am doing, be it shows, single releases or Petraa News in general. They can do this by following me on:

Official Website: www.petraamusic.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/petraamusic

Twitter: www.twitter.com/petraamusic

Instagram: www.instagram.com/petraamusic

 

 

The National Gallery of Jamaica

National Art Gallery of Jamaica

The National Gallery of Jamaica is located on the Waterfront in Downtown Kingston and is well worth a visit. The entrance is found on Orange Street, where a large statue sits outside the entrance. Internally the layout of the Gallery is light and airy with an open plan area downstairs with double height ceiling which is utilised for exhibitions. There is an unusual double staircase leading up to the second floor which due to the double height ceiling, forms a mezzanine floor, come wrap around balcony effect, enabling you to look down to the open plan floor below. This would give a great birds eye view of the proceedings when an exhibition is being held. The mezzanine floor has artworks along all the walls, with several rooms extending from it that house the permanent collections. The National Gallery houses different genres of art to appeal to all ages and tastes, from Taino artworks and artifacts, to work from Edna Manley and the great Mallica ‘Kapo’ Reynolds, to modern and contemporary artworks.

The permanent Galleries include:

Art in Jamaica, c1000 – c1900.
Jamaican Art – The Twentieth Century.
The Edna Manley Gallery.
The ‘Kapo’ Gallery.
The AD Scott Collection.

 

Where to get the National Gallery of Jamaica Latest Updates

There is also a regular exhibition programme, which is advertised on the National Gallery of Jamaica Blog which compliments the Permanent Galleries and takes over the main space in the gallery. You can also check out the newly refurbished National Gallery of Jamaica Website which gives more information about the galleries and the artists. Although the National Gallery is not vast in size, the overall quality of the content of the Gallery more than makes up for it, and the visit can easily be tacked onto a day of sight seeing in Kingston. Depending on how much of an art aficionado you are you could view the Gallery in a couple of hours, non-withstanding visits to the Coffee Shop, come Gift Shop, which you pass through on the way out. I love this Gallery and cannot wait to visit again.

 

Copyright National Gallery of Jamaica
Copyright National Gallery of Jamaica

 

General Information about the National Gallery of Jamaica

Opening hours:

Tuesdays to Thursdays: 10 am to 4:30 pm
Fridays: 10 am to 4 pm
Saturdays: 10 am to 3 pm
Last Sundays: the NGJ is open every last Sunday of the month, 11 am to 4 pm

Admission:

Adults: JA$400
Senior Citizens and Teachers accompanying student groups: JA$200
Children and Students with ID: free
Guided tours: JA$3,000 (general); JA$2,000 (schools) – by appointment only

 

Contact Numbers:

1.876.922-1561/3 (Lime fixed line);

1.876.618-0654/5 (Digicel fixed line)

Location of the NATIONAL GALLERY OF JAMAICA

12 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston (entrance on Orange Street). On the waterfront in Kingston, look out for the large Digicel building which is located nearby.

Food and Drinks:

As a general rule, food and drinks are not allowed in the galleries and refreshments can be bought and consumed in our coffee shop. During receptions and other functions, food and drinks may be allowed in certain designated areas.

Bags:

Large bags and backpacks are not allowed inside the NGJ and must be left with the security desk. Our Security Staff is authorised to search handbags, parcels or other items being taken into or out of the NGJ and we ask for your kind co-operation when a search is requested.

Parking:

Parking is usually available on the adjoining UDC parking lot. An hourly rate applies on weekdays – free on Saturdays. Entrance to the parking lot is on Orange street, first entrance on the left after passing the NGJ building.

Curbside parking is not permitted in most of the areas around the NGJ.

Copyright National Gallery of Jamaica
Copyright National Gallery of Jamaica

 

Disclaimer:

ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF JAMAICA AND HAVE BEEN REPRODUCED ON THIS WEBSITE FOR PURPOSES OF ILLUSTRATION ONLY. WE TAKE NO CREDIT FOR THESE IMAGES.

Jamaica Featured in Trip Advisor Awards

Jamaica is becoming a more affordable ‘bucket list’ holiday destination, with the news in the UK Budget about the price of flights reducing next year. All you will need now is somewhere fabulous to stay to suit your needs. Jamaican hotspots have been featured in many of the categories for both the 2013 and 2014 ‘Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Awards’, which could give you a head start in choosing from the huge amount of choice on the island. In case you’re wondering, Trip Advisor is the world’s largest travel website that helps people book trips based on millions of travellers unbiased reviews of the places they have travelled to, including accommodation, food and places to visit.

‘Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Awards’

TripAdvisor collated all the opinions and reviews that travellers have given about each destination and the amenities offered there, which puts them in order of ranking based on points. Each year the highest ranking entries are compiled into Top 10 and Top 25 Award Winners Lists which are published on their site. It is no surprise to me that Jamaican resorts featured favourably throughout the winners, with some resorts and areas being placed in multiple categories.

Here are the Travellers’ Choice Award Winners in Jamaica

 

Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean 2014

 Jamaica has really put its stamp on this category with four (4) winners placed in the 25 Top Hotels in the Caribbean, all of which are along the north coast.

 

Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean 2014
Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean 2014

 

 

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Best 25 Beaches in the Caribbean 2014

The Caribbean has been blessed with a plethora of beautiful beaches, with powder white sand and turquoise water. Negril, on Jamaica’s most western coast has a famous stretch of sand that pleases the senses and was ranked in again, at 10 out of 25 entries.

Best 25 Beaches in the Caribbean 2014

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*NEWS FLASH!*

Update as of 11th April 2014. Another category has been collated and the 2014 Winners announced…

Top 10 Destinations in the Caribbean 2014

Both Ocho Rios and Negril have been voted for by travellers and have even beaten their ranking from last year’s results. Well Done!

Top 10 Destinations in the Caribbean 2014
Top 10 Destinations in the Caribbean 2014

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Top 10 World Hotels for Families 2013

If you are taking advantage of the cost savings on flights for families visiting Jamaica, family friendly accommodation is in order. Negril comes up trumps again for Jamaica, with this resort making it into the Top 10 Hotels in the World.

Top 10 World Hotels for Families 2013

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Top 25 Bargain Hotels in the Caribbean 2013

Budget travellers will be pleased to know they haven’t been left out, as a hotel in Negril has been awarded in the Top Bargain Hotels category.

Top 25 Bargain Hotels in the Caribbean 2013

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Top 25 Small Hotels in the Caribbean 2013

Small boutique hotels are becoming popular as they tend to offer a more intimate setting, with elegant surroundings and are quieter than the mass appeal of the big hotel groups. Jamaica boasts a number of these establishments and has been awarded with four winners in this category. Negril on Jamaica’s West coast is once again featured, alongside Port Antonio which is on Jamaica’s East coast.

Top 25 Small Hotels in the Caribbean 2013
Top 25 Small Hotels in the Caribbean 2013

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Top 25 All-Inclusive Hotels in the Caribbean 2013

When many people think of visiting paradise, it has to include staying in an all-Inclusive resort. These resorts feature heavily in Jamaica and although they are more pricey, the experience can make for an ‘all out’, or ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to be remembered for ever. Three resorts where featured in the Top 25 All-Inclusive Hotels in the Caribbean, spread along the west and north coasts of Jamaica.

Top 25 All-Inclusive Hotels in the Caribbean

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Top 10 Destinations in the Caribbean 2013

With all the destinations in the Caribbean to choose from, it pleases me to announce that Jamaica has been featured twice in the Top 10 destinations in the Caribbean category. My home town of Ocho Rios and the top rated Negril  are on the list.

Top 10 Destinations in the Caribbean

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Top 25 Beaches in the Caribbean 2013

Seven Mile Beach in Negril is a clear favourite in the Caribbean as it is featured in both the 2013 and 2014 Top Beach category.

Top 25 Beaches in the Caribbean 2013
Top 25 Beaches in the Caribbean 2013

 

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Top 10 Landmarks in the Caribbean 2013

With all the Landmarks to visit in the Caribbean, Jamaica’s famous Rose Hall Great House came up in the Top 10 list last year.

 

Rose Hall Great House
Rose Hall Great House

Top 10 Landmarks in the Caribbean

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Sweet Jamaica Jules Contributes on TripAdvisor…

If you would like to read my reviews and opinions about places I have visited then check out the SweetJamaicaJules members page on TripAdvisor here…

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Images

All images used in this post have been copied from TripAdvisor and their partner websites. These images remain the property of this parties and have been used for demonstration purposes only. The link for TripAdvisor website can be found here.

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Trip Advisor Travellers Awards 2014

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Want more from Sweet Jamaica? Join Us!

Like our Sweet Jamaica FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers

Join our Sweet Jamaica Twitter feed for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica  @sweetjamaicajul

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Keep the Conversation Going…

Have you been to any of this award winning Jamaican destinations? Get in touch below we look forward to hearing from you…

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Ocho Rios Bay Beach

The main beach in Ocho Rios, situated on Jamaica’s north coast, is the wide white sand arch of Ocho Rios Bay Beach; which is also known as ‘Turtle Beach’. As many of the hotels along Main Street back onto the sand, it is a heavily used tourist beach and it’s popular with locals too. When the cruise ships are in town the beach also fills up with the passengers that flock to shore from the towering cruise ships that dock on the far side of the beach.

Cruise Ship Pier
Cruise Ship Pier

Directions to Ocho Rios Bay Beach and Entrance Fees

When driving down Main Street you will see Sandcastles Hotel on your left-hand side and then a couple of shopping plazas. Drive past and turn into the first car park on your LEFT, which has a barrier and a guard. The entrance to the beach is via the back of the car park through another gate. There is a fee for parking in the car park.

If you do not have a wrist band from your hotel there is a charge to enter the Ocho Rios Bay Beach (see below for full details of entrance fees). On paying the entrance fee the guard will stamp your wrist which allows you to leave and re-enter the beach later in the day if you choose the take a break and want to wander around the town. If the stamp is rubbing off ask them to re-stamp it before you leave the beach if you intend to return, as suntan lotion and sweaty skin will make it rub off quickly.

Hotels on Ocho Rios Bay Beach
Hotels on Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Ocho Rios Bay Beach Facilities

There are toilets and changing rooms, plus a restaurant and bar serving the beach goers. There are also seats and deck chairs available, where you can lounge or picnic in the shade of an Almond Tree. You will also see vendors plying their trade along the sand, which is convenient if you don’t want to leave your things to walk to the bar or craft market. If you don’t want anything a smile and a polite ‘I’m not shopping today’ or ‘I’m good thanks’, will see them walking on to the next punter.

The sand is regularly raked and is a pristine white colour. The sea has designated swimming areas and is shallow enough near the shoreline for children to play.  If you are into water-sports you will be spoilt for choice and jet ski’s are popular and readily available for rental.

There are two craft markets nearby to the Ocho Rios Bay Beach which can be found if walking along main street. Plus there is the sprawling Island Village complex, which has a huge choice of shops, supermarkets, banks, doctors, dentists, opticians, a post office and so on. Across the street there is also Burger King and KFC if you are wanting a break from Jamaican food.

Hotels on Ocho Rios Bay Beach
Hotels on Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Ocho Rios Bay Beach Entrance Fees and Opening Hours

Opening Hours:

Daily: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Entry Fee:
Residents

Adult J$200
Child (2-11 years old) J$100

Non-residents

Adult US$3 (or equivalent)
Child (2-11 years old) US$1

Contact Details:
Phone

(876) 656-8031 Telefax: (876) 974-2731

Email

cjackson@udcja.com

Contact Details:
Phone

(876) 656-8031 Telefax: (876) 974-2731

Email

cjackson@udcja.com

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Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join our FaceBook Page and Twitter Feed so you don’t miss out!

Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/sweetjamaica.co.uk

Join our twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica https://twitter.com/sweetjamaicajul

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you visited this beach, share your experience? Where is your favourite beach in Jamaica? Join the Comments Below….

 

Post Updated: January 2016

Michael Lynch – Jamaican Film Maker Interview

Michael Lynch is a modern-day story teller whose name is becoming synonymous with real life Jamaica tales. If you want unbiased, insider information about Jamaica, then the ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary could well be the answer to some of your questions about this diverse and often misunderstood Caribbean island. Far from the usual negative media uptake about Jamaica, Michael manages to uncover the truth about Jamaica, without using clichés or being sentimental.

If you want to learn more about Michael’s documentary, I wrote a post entitled ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary which not only introduces the film, but also includes the means to rent the film (for your viewing pleasure!) On the back of this I invited Michael to take part in a ‘Support Jamaica, Buy Jamaican’ interview, so we can get a behind the scenes insight to this creative and intriguing Film Maker. Michael has great plans to showcase the Documentary in the UK and Part Two is expected to be out in 2014 to continue the coverage of the island and it’s people. Can’t wait to watch it? You can download the documentary here!

1. Introduce yourself and your role in the company?

My name is Michael Lynch I am the Producer and Director of the company.

 2. When was your company established and why did you choose this career path?

The company was established in Jamaica in January 2001 and Uk in November 2012.

3. Tell me about your typical working day?

After checking, sending and reading emails, text and other social networks. I start work on organising music and video projects along with other technical consultant work for the company.

Michael Lynch (org. band 920)
Michael Lynch (org. band 920)

 4. What is your company philosophy?

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.

 5. How much of your work takes place in Jamaica?

At present very little but later in 2014 we plan to do a lot more filming and music production.

 6. Are you Jamaican?

I consider myself Jamaican but I was born in the UK to Jamaican parents.

7. Tell me your top 3 likes and dislikes about living and working in Jamaica?

Likes: Sunshine, people and food. Dislikes: roads, crime, mosquitos.

8. What new company plans and visions are you working on?

Working on setting up a training school for media and technology.

9. What is your personal favourite production that you have made and why?

“This is Jamaica documentary”, traveling and discovering Jamaica was very exciting for me, meeting and talking with the Jamaican people has learnt me a lot.

This is Jamaica Documentary Cover
This is Jamaica Documentary Cover

10. Who or what, is your inspiration or role model?

My inspiration and role model would have to be my mother who instilled in me great life lessons, love for all people and pride.

11. Where can we buy your productions in Jamaica and overseas?

At present rental through the website http://computamax/thisisjamaica and Amazon video on demand for rental, sale and download.

12. How do you love to spend your free time in Jamaica?

Chillin out at any of the many beautiful locations.

13. If you could be Prime Minister of Jamaica for a day, what would you do?

Set up a mass education and training program for all Jamaicans especially those in poor areas and the challenged.

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey

14. Which Jamaican, dead or alive, do you feel made the biggest contribution to Jamaica and why?

Marcus Garvey for his strength leadership and commitment to his people.

15. If you could impart one piece of advice to inspire young Jamaicans to start their own businesses or succeed in their chosen career, what would it be?

Believe in what you do, think positive at all times have faith and never give up! Prayer, Practise, Patience and Persistence.

16. Apart from your own company, what is your favourite Jamaican company and why?

I would have to say Digicel for opening up new markets for providing an alternative mobile solution for the Jamaican people.

17. What do you feel you and your company has to offer viewers and listeners in international and home markets, over and above your competitors?

We are proud to be a company producing positive awareness of Jamaica and its people we aim to provide more discovery of our identity, history and culture to all people with any connections or interest in Jamaica.

18. How do you believe we as a nation can help to build Jamaica?

By coming together as one people, to put aside trivial matters, I believe education is one of the key factors, to look at the many great things the island has to offer and decide to work together with a common aim and strengthen the motto (out of many one people).

19. What are your aspirations for Jamaica?

To see Jamaica become completely independent, for crime to diminish.

20. What are your thoughts on the ‘SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN!’ post on Sweet Jamaica’s blog?

I believe whole heartedly in that our home grown food is the best. Eat what we grow, grow what we eat every time!

Read the SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN! post here…

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Want to find out more?

Read Sweet Jamaica’s review of the ‘This is Jamaica Documentary’ in this post…

Check out the official website for Computamax Productions here.

On 24th November 2013 Michael Lynch created column inches in The Gleaner, a national newspaper in Jamaica when staff reporter Sadeke Brooks produced a article based on an interview with Michael, which can be read here.

If you would like to hear more about Michael Lynch and his documentary, he has also been featured on a BBC Radio Derby Interview here with Devon Daley .

If you would like to rent a copy of Michael Lynch’s  ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary for 7 days it costs US$1.99, click here.

Check out the Facebook page and click like here!

Inspirational Love Songs back
Inspirational Love Songs back

Dover Raceway St. Ann Jamaica

If you are looking for a day out then why not give Dover Raceway located near to Browns Town, St. Ann, Jamaica a try? Offering  enthralling first class entertainment watching Motorbike, Motor Car Racing and Kart Racing. They have major Meets taking place monthly between April and November, which generally take place to celebrate the Jamaican Public Holidays throughout the year. Dover Raceway makes a change from the usual attractions on offer in Jamaica and appeals to the whole family as there are lots of things going on to keep all ages occupied.

With lively and knowledgeable comperes and a DJ playing the latest tunes between races, Dover Raceway is a fun day out and a must see in Jamaica. We have witnessed aerial shows with remote-controlled helicopters, dance competitions for the youngsters and celebratory antics on the track with the cars doing donuts and wheel spins! The whole of Dover Raceway is well thought out, clean and welcoming with great amenities on site, such as toilets, hot food vendors, bars and drink sellers and well as stands and promotional items to wander among. It is said that Dover Raceway is the most challenging in all the Caribbean and with twists and turns and two long runs to pick up speed you will be flag waving and cheering with the warm and receptive crowds that flock to watch these thrilling and exciting events.

Pedestrian Entrance Dover Raceway
Pedestrian Entrance Dover Raceway

History of Dover Raceway, Jamaica

When I started researching about the founder of Dover Raceway, Mr Alfred Chen, I found very little information online about him. He was of Chinese decent and is credited as people person who worked tirelessly in philanthropic and political roles right up to his untimely death. Mr Chen sadly passed away at the age of just 49 in a self piloted helicopter crash in Trelawny, Jamaica on 11th October 2000 when he crashed into hills shortly after taking off. He was greatly mourned, but his legacy lives on as Dover Raceway continues to draw in the crowds and introduce world-class racing drivers to the world at large.

The following information has been taken from other websites, with the original source mentioned:

About Alfred Chen

To fulfil his desire to race, Alfred Chen built a race track in his backyard. It became known as Dover Raceway later. Other race fans were invited to join him to race and before long, it became very popular. It is now the circuit racing track in Jamaica. It is also named the most challenging and most difficult in the Caribbean. Bike races are also held at this location. I have no knowledge of car drivers dying from accidents on this track, but at least 1 bike rider have died on this course. The raceway is 1.4 miles long with a front stretch of about 0.25 miles and a back stretch of 0.24miles. The track record is held by David Summerbell in a time of about 1 min 20 sec followed by Doug ‘Hollywood’ Gore.

Find the Source Here at Google Forums, written by: G. Lawrence

About Dover Raceway

The track is a road course which has 12 curves and a straightaway that allows top speeds of over 100 mph. There is one hairpin, 180 degree turn at turn number 5 that is always a fan favourite during tight races. There are many viewpoints from which to see the races including the main gallery where you can see the 2nd half of the straightaway where the cars are at full speed and turns 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. This vantage point offers the widest view of the track with the most turns.

On the opposite side of the track, you can see turns 9, 10, 11 & 12 where they will accelerate up a steep hill onto the straightaway. Another popular spot is the VIP Race Tower. If you have the right wristbands, you can climb the 3 story tower for a 360 degree view of the race track. It is also quite a bit cooler up there because of the shade and you will get a nice breeze on most days at the higher elevation.

Find the Source here at wikimapia

Compere and DJ Stand Dover Raceway
Compere and DJ Stand Dover Raceway

How to find Dover Raceway, Jamaica

You can find Dover Raceway just north of Browns Town, St. Ann. If you are driving from the north coast, turn off the North Coast Highway at either Runaway or Discovery Bay and head inland towards Browns Town. There is a large sign letting you know where to turn off the main road heading into Browns Town, but we warned it is a long way to walk up a steep, winding and sometimes pot-holed road before you reach the raceway. If you reach into Browns Town itself you have come too far, turn back! If you are coming from the other direction, head out of Browns Town towards Runaway Bay / Discovery Bay about 5 minutes down the road you will see the sign post for Dover Raceway.

What is on offer at Dover Raceway, Jamaica?

But when you do reach the top it is a sight to see! There is ample parking on a grassy area, with security guards and Police Officers in attendance they ensure the safety of patrons and their vehicles. Once you head towards the ticket booth you will be given the option of a standard entry fee, or a VIP entry fee and children under 12 come in free, which is great if you have a family. They do offer pre-sold tickets at various outlets across Jamaica, which are listed further down the article. Cross over the pedestrian bridge and your nose will direct you towards mouth-watering delicious food, drink (alcohol is on sale) vendors, and some stands profiling related products, such as the sponsor of the event and engine oil and so on.

There are some seating stands which are open to the general public and others that need VIP passes to gain entry, but they fill up early and don’t give you much elbow room. However, I feel the most fun can be had by staking a plot on the grassy area right at the front. You will need to get here early to get a good spot and I would recommend wearing a hat at the very least as the sun can be scorching.

At lot of people bring tents (portable gazebos), umbrellas, seats and an igloo (cool box) filled with ice and drinks and plenty of food. Ideal foods to bring would be Jamaican Escovitch Fried Fish, Saltfish Fritters (Stamp and Go),  Fried or Jerk Chicken, Hard Dough Bread or Fried Dumplings, if you really want to get a plateful you could bring some Jamaican Rice and Peas, Jamaican Coleslaw or Jamaican Potato Salad too!

If you forget anything, don’t worry there are plenty of walking vendors selling sun hats, fedora’s, umbrella’s, as well as the obligatory cold drinks, nuts and snacks.

Motor Bike Dover Raceway
Motor Bike Dover Raceway

Dover ‘Independence of Speed’

My first taste of Jamaican motor racing came at the Independence Day celebrations with the track meet being held on 4th August 2013. It was very hot and sunny and as we had never been before we wasn’t sure what you were allowed to bring inside the enclosure we didn’t come with much. However, after about 1/2 hour in the scorching sun we had to buy and umbrella to shade us as we didn’t want to sit in the stands. There were plenty of vendors walking past so just as you felt thirsty or peckish there was a cold drink or bag of freshly roasted peanuts on offer. After a few hours we were hungry and ambled over the food court and got some tasty fried fish and chicken with rice and peas.

Independence of Speed 2013
Independence of Speed 2013

Dover ‘Heroes of Speed’

The second exciting driving meet that I attended at Dover was on October 21st 2013 and was titled ‘Dover Heroes of Speed’ to commemorate Heroes Day In Jamaica.  It was the last Meet on the 2013 season, so we were filled with anticipation for the days events. We came more prepared this time and brought back the umbrella we had bought the first time we came. We also brought a big bottle of frozen water, some good old Jamaican Wray and Nephew White Rum, a couple of icy cold sodas and some fish and crackers and other snacks!
This information was taken from The Jamaica Race Drivers Club Facebook page:
Dover Heroes of Speed Back on track! The deciding race meet for the Jamaica Race Drivers Club 2013 circuit racing championship See the return of Doug Gore’s Petcom Audi TT, David Summerbell’s Total Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Peter Rae’s Shell Mazda RX7, Natasha Chang’s Texaco Honda Civic. Witness the daring bikers Andre Norman, Adrian Blake, Stefan Chin and Robert McDonald Monday, October 21 starting at 10am Dover Raceway, St Ann Bring the entire family. Presold tickets available @ • Petcom Dunrobin • Petcom Ocho Rios • Tile City Kingston • Performance Centre Mobay • Campbell’s Wholesale Mandeville • Williams Auto Parts May Pen & Old Harbour.

Top Tips for Dover Raceway, Jamaica

  1. You can bring food, drink (including alcohol) so come armed and ready!
  2. Bring an umbrella, hat or portable gazebos and / or  sunscreen as it gets scorching hot watching the races in the midday and afternoon Jamaican sun.
  3. Many people bring seats, cushions or anything else they can find to sit on and make the viewing more comfortable.
  4. Get there early, there are qualifying races happening and the covered seating stands and good spots on the open grassy areas fill up quickly.
  5. Bring your own igloo (cool box) and fill it with ice and drinks, don’t forget some water and food to keep you going if you are drinking alcohol in the sun. If you don’t have an igloo, try freezing a bottle of water and / or a couple of sodas and bring them with you. As they melt out in the sun you will be provided with cool drinks all day, and if you have food it will help keep it cool until you are ready to eat it.
  6. If you don’t want to bring anything with you there are promotional stands, walking vendors selling hats, umbrellas, nuts, drinks, name it! Plus there is a good choice of food and drink stands to keep you watered and fed.
  7. Look out for the Jamaican favourite driver Natasha Chang, she is a bullish driver and is sure to always get the crowds on their feet with her exploits on the track!

 

Spectator Stands Dover Raceway
Spectator Stands Dover Raceway

 

About the Jamaican Racing Drivers Club – JRDC

The following information about the JRDC has been copied from the official JRDC website which can be found here.

The Jamaica Race Drivers Club was revived in 2003 to organize and promote motor racing, primarily at the Dover Raceway located just north of Brown’s Town, St. Ann. The Club has an active membership of approximately 80 competitors, led by an executive body comprised of 9 members. Events are held primarily on holiday weekends: Easter Monday; Labour Day; Independence Day and Heroes Day. The Dover events are usually two day events with qualifying on the first day followed by a full calendar of races in a variety of classes, including a special street car class, motorcycles and full fledged race cars, and attract crowds of between 4,000 to 14,000 spectators.

The Club improved the physical infrastructure at the track, including but not limited to:

  • The erection of a new pedestrian bridge at the spectator entrance.
  • The renovation of the current pedestrian bridge on the front straight.
  • The improvement of the track access road.
  • The expansion of the parking area.
  • The erection of vendor facilities
  • The provision of covered spectator stands.
  • The increase in the numbers of Bays
  • The provision of Media monitors (tele communications)
  • Live Broadcast Streaming.
  • The provision of wireless routing for the internet savy
  • The creation of a new access road
  • The increase of vending stalls
  • The increase of exhibit booths

The prize monies paid to winners in our events has also been raised and has increased the quality and quantity of the competitor entries. The JRDC plans to continue the innovations debuted in 2006 with respect to Race Driving schools held at the Track to encourage and develop nascent competitors in a safe and organized manner.

The JRDC would also like to increase our partnerships with corporate Jamaica, as we see many mutually beneficial linkages which exploit the rapidly growing subculture of automobile racing, both locally and internationally.

Contact: Jamaica Race Driver’s Club, 54 Molynes Rd Kingston 10 Ph. 758-JRDC (5732).

Office is in the Deluxe Medical Centre complex beside YP Seaton.

Find the JRDC website here:  http://www.jrdc.org/

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Motor Cars Dover Raceway
Motor Cars Dover Raceway

Jamaican Motorsports

http://jamaicamotorsports.com/

Dover Raceway (t): 975-2127

‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary

Jamaica Land We Love

There is something about Jamaica that steals a little piece of your heart the first time you visit. If you are truly afflicted the feeling will seep into your very existence and nag at your sub-conscience to return again, such is the draw of this Caribbean island. With its beguiling qualities and beautiful looks this could well lead to a full-on love affair that will have you telling all who will listen of ‘your Jamaica’ (sounds like me!).  It is therefore  no surprise that Jamaica has inspired some of the most talented and creative people to flourish with its natural backdrop of uplifting people, lush greenery, fruitful lands, cool rivers, picture perfect beaches and rich history.

One such person is Michael Lynch, who was born and raised in the Midlands, England to Jamaican parents. Michael decided to move to Jamaica in 2000 after his parents passed away, where he got married to a local woman and lived there happily for the next 12 years.  This coming home struck a chord with Michael who had spent his formative years in the UK absorbing the media’s perception of Jamaica which wasn’t always the most complimentary, or honest. Inspired to tell others about what he had experienced he decided to produce an independent documentary about ‘his Jamaica’, with the aim of enlightening people to what Jamaica is really all about outside of the scaremongering and shiny hotels.

The documentary champions the everyday person in Jamaica through whistle stop tours over much of the island and interviews with  members of the local communities and settlers, such as the Maroons, Indians and Germans. Michael is able to skilfully unravel the meaning behind the Jamaican motto ‘Out of Many, One People’, which is a testament to the multi-cultural inhabitants of the island, who lives are peacefully intertwined. Hear about Jamaica in the words of its people and revel in some of the sights and sites that are covered in this documentary, so that you too can transported into the very heartbeat of Jamaica.

By watching this documentary Michael hopes to inspire creative, educated entrepeneurs to give Jamaica a chance and consider moving here. By encouraging this talent pool to Jamaica to set up businesses, they will bring their wealth of knowledge and employment opportunities to further the country as a whole. The sentiment is one I believe in too, and therefore I wholeheartedly support Michael and his teams endeavours with this informative and engaging documentary that helps to demystify Jamaica.

You can view the trailer below and when that whets your appetite for more, you can rent the 53 minute long documentary for  just US$2.99 through Jamaican Movies. This way you are paying the film maker directly and supporting their craft. Sweet Jamaica has not been endorsed for writing this post or supplying links, but we appreciate you supporting this independent British / Jamaican film maker.

Who is Behind ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary

Michael Lynch is creative by nature and has been a published artist since the mid eighties where he started his career working as a session musician and producer with London based Orbitone Records. This lead to work with US based Jamdung Media, where he worked on many music videos and short film projects. No stranger to film producing, Michael produced his first short film in Jamaica in 2002 with Jesoco Productions which was distributed throughout the island by ‘Novelty Traders’. Fast forward to 2010 where he teamed up with local Montego Bay photographer Lenworth Brown and in 2011 set out to film this documentary assisted also by a young talented presenter Taneisha Ingram. He returned to the UK in 2012 to edit the film which was released on 3rd November 2013 and is currently available for rent through selected online outlets.

  • Producer/Director – Michael Lynch
  • Director of photography – Lenworth Brown
  • Presenter/narrator – Taneisha Ingram

Media Coverage

Don’t just take it from us, Michael has been featured in some other media channels too…

Check out the official website for Computamax Productions here.

On 24th November 2013 Michael Lynch created column inches in The Gleaner, a national newspaper in Jamaica when staff reporter Sadeke Brooks produced a article based on an interview with Michael, which can be read here.

If you would like to hear more about Michael Lynch and his documentary, he has also been featured on a BBC Radio Derby Interview here with Devon Daley .

If you would like to rent a digital copy of Michael Lynch’s  ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary it costs US$2.99 from Jamaican Movies, click here.

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Prospect Plantation – Jamaica

 

[text_justify]Prospect Plantation is picturesque and full of Jamaican flora, facts and history. There are a few surprises too, it’s not all about sedate jitney rides through the grounds….[text_justify]

 

Things to Do in Jamaica

[text_justify] This well thought out offering from Dolphin Cove Ltd gives you a glimpse into agricultural life in Jamaica and can be found on the A3 between Reggae Beach and White River, St. Mary. If you are coming from the direction of Ocho Rios it is about ½ mile from White River, there is a sign and you have to pull off of the main road to the right hand side and approach the Plantation’s Driveway. Once the guard lifts the barrier, follow the driveway until you reach the car park and ‘reception’ area. There is a clean  bar area, restrooms and a gift shop and you can pay for your excursions here. I would recommend telephoning in advance to let them know you are coming and perhaps book the tour you would like.[/text_justify]

 

[text_justify]When I visited in the week, it was deserted apart from our party of three people, but they still welcomed us and gave us a sugary cane juice drink when we arrived. We were offered a jitney ride around the plantation, which is basically a tractor pulling an open sided truck with long bench seating onboard. When we embarked on the tour, we also had a guide and a security guard onboard and the three of them made a jovial group stopping and pointing out different crops and points of interest along the route and generally keeping us amused, entertained and informed.[/text_justify]

 

Prospect Plantation - Coconut Climber
Prospect Plantation – Coconut Climber

 

[text_justify]The jitney made several stops throughout the plantation and we were shown various crops and a grove where various dignitaries and celebrities have planted different tropical fruit trees over the years. We were also able to get off the jitney on a few occasions, first by the Ostriches which you can feed if you wish. Here we also watched Farmer Joe climb a 30ft Coconut tree and we were introduced to tropical fruits and invited to eat some coconut. We were told that Farmer Joe ate the Ostrich eggs, which might explain how he managed to climb the tree with such speed and ease! An Ostrich egg is also presented to you to stand on and take a picture, which unbelievably does not break. If you choose you can take some small notes as a tip was expected.[/text_justify]

History of Jamaica

[text_justify]We next made a stop by the Great House where you are free to walk around the lower floor of the property laid out in the original style. We were also able to walk through the beautiful and extensive gardens. There are bubbling water features and many unusual plant specimens and it is tranquil and fragrant with panoramic views to the ocean. The great Mahogany Tree which was planted by Sir Winston Churchill in 1953, takes centre stage in the front garden.[/text_justify]

 

[text_justify]Back in the jitney we ambled along until we came to a clearing where they had camels with their proud and able trainers. There was a cute and noisy young Camel in the paddock, who got most of the attention. If you choose you can take pictures with the camels and for an additional charge you are also able to ride them. Off again we made our way, slowing down by a Church in the grounds, before finishing the tour back were we started. The tour guide invited us to give him a tip too when we neared the reception area.[/text_justify]

 

Prospect Plantation - Jamaican Fruits
Prospect Plantation – Jamaican Fruits

 

[text_justify] Prospect Plantation is beautiful and worth a visit if you are in the area. Although it isn’t as fast paced as some of the other attractions in Jamaica, it feels more authentic and doesn’t feel like it has been overly ‘plasticised’ like some of the other tourist traps. If you have thrill seekers in the group, telephone in advance and book a camel, horse, Segway or you can bike and hike around the plantation, which might just get the teenagers involved! There is also a ‘Flavours of Jamaica’ cooking course if you want to try your hand at making some traditional Jamaican cuisine, which you get to eat afterwards… Yum![/text_justify]

 

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[text_justify]Prospect Plantation

 

Prospect Plantation Address and Contact Details:

Address: Prospect, St. Mary, Jamaica

Telephone: (876) 994 1058

Or check out their website here: http://www.prospectoutbackadventures.com/ [/text_justify]

 

Bob Marley and The Wailers Kaya Album Released

Kaya has been reworked as a Deluxe Edition, if you didn’t hear it the first time it was released, don’t miss it this time round…

Continue reading Bob Marley and The Wailers Kaya Album Released

James Bond Beach – Jamaica

If you are looking for a laid back attraction in Jamaica, or simply want to relax at an exclusive beach, then James Bond Beach in St Mary could well fit the bill…

Visiting James Bond Beach

James Bond Beach sounds suitably glamorous for an initial dip in the ocean and it provided us with an opportunity to get a drive out of Ochi, St. Ann and eastwards towards Oracabessa, St. Mary. The drive is a pleasant one along the highway which takes in ocean views along some parts of the road, whilst the farming enterprises of coconut and banana walks (plantations) that stretch as far as the eye can see make up the majority of the scenery on the journey. There are two gas stations along the highway near to Ochi, the first of which is a large PetCom gas (petrol) station just past Irie FM (on the by-pass in Ochi), that has a Pharmacy, supermarket, ATM and W.C.’s attached to it, the second one is a Texaco and is near to White River, just before the turn off for Exchange and has which has lesser facilities.

How to get to James Bond Beach – Oracabessa…

Driving along the highway leaving Ochi (Ocho Rios) the road is straight with no turn offs and it takes about 25 – 30 minutes to reach the beach, driving at the legal speed of course. There is a  large and hopeful road sign on the highway that depicts that James Bond Beach is 1km away, which is a vast underestimation as it was more like 5km when we checked it on the second visit.

Directions

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  • After passing the PetCom gas (petrol) station in Ocho Rios, drive along the highway and about 15km you will pass Ian Fleming Airport.  It was previously known as Boscobel Aerodrome and had a somewhat controversial name change after the renovations that saw it re-open in January 2011; however the new name further sets the scene as we search for the elusive James Bond Beach…
  • Keep driving along the same highway towards Oracabessa and you will eventually come to a deep corner about 1.5km past the aerodrome, where you will cross a bridge, continue forward. The beach is hard to find as the sign that lets you know where to turn off of the highway has blown down
  • Look out for a Shell Gas Station on the right hand side of the road and shortly after the road will bend and you will see a marl (white gravel) side road on the LEFT HAND SIDE, with a large sign for James Bond Beach and a wooden shop (where a Rasta sells fruits on the corner) TURN HERE; if you come to Oracabessa Crossroads you have come too far
  • Once you find the side road you have to travel about another 1 – 1.5KM to reach the entrance to the beach, so be warned if you are walking! Travel up to the end of the side road until you pass Jah Willy’s and you will be forced to turn right passing the unassuming fisherman’s Beach which is much more low-key and has a little shop serving beach goers
  • At the end of the road you will see the entrance which has ‘James Bond Beach’ written across the top of the gates, you found it!

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What is James Bond Beach All About?

James Bond Beach has an interesting story to tell… Owned by non other than Chris Blackwell, of Island Records and Island Outpost fame, who not only had a successful music and movie company, but who also has several high-end and exclusive resorts under his mantle such as:

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  • GoldenEye; Ian Flemings former home
  • Jake’s; Treasure Beach
  • The Caves; Negril
  • Strawberry Hill; Blue Mountains

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Chris Blackwell’s mother Blanche was born into a powerful family that made their money and livelihood in sugar and rum in Jamaica in the 20th Century. Blanche owned several thousand acres of land near Oracabessa and later sold some of it to both Ian Fleming and Noel Coward, who made homes there. She was considered to be the love of Ian Flemings later life and who he refered to as his Jamaican wife and muse, and who was said to be the inspiration for the James Bond character ‘Pussy Galore’. James Bond Beach also has the claim to fame of being the beach in which a young Ursula Andrews cavorted in the James Bond movie ‘Dr. No’.

Wash Rooms James Bond Beach
Wash Rooms James Bond Beach

What Is Offered at James Bond Beach?

You can drive your vehicle inside the complex and find somewhere to park; if there isn’t an attendant at the gate to take your entrance fee they will shortly appear before you can get out of the vehicle to take the money from you; we paid about $400 per person. James Bond Beach has a nice set up with a small but clean and sandy beach which boasts crystal clear waters, and has a few complimentary wooden loungers and a couple of picnic tables scattered about. As the sandy beach area is small the seating goes quickly and you may want to bring a beach mat or extra towel to lie or sit down on if it is busy.

If the beach isn’t your thing, or it is too busy for you, there is also a winding terrace that has been constructed over the rocks surrounding the beach and which offers up a larger area in which to sun yourself; although it could do with some repairs in places, as the sea seems to want to reclaim it. On both occasions we came there were only a few other groups present, which made it feel more secluded and quiet for a beach in Jamaica.

There is no gift shop or vendors on the beach, so once you pay for your entrance fee you will be limited to splashing the cash in the bar and restaurant…

Sunset Swimming James Bond Beach
Sunset Swimming James Bond Beach

Moonraker Bar and Restaurant

The large Moonraker Bar is prettily made from wood, is open on all sides and boasts a fabulous upstairs seating area that has scenic views across the ocean and the grassy area. The bar is well stocked and they had plenty of ice; a flask of Wray & Nephew costs about $700. There is also a restaurant with lots of fish (and chicken) dishes on offer, which cost around $1,000 – $2,000 per main dish dependant on what you ordered; but we didn’t eat there on either occasion we visited. A point to note is that the restaurant doesn’t look as though it opens when there a little or few people around.  A large grassy area that is surrounded by the clear blue sea on three sides affords you a change from the beach area and a stroll to look at the boats. The lawn and bar are packed full of people and really come alive and into their own when the venue plays home to the large stage shows and events that are held periodically.

The other amenities include large separate male and female changing facilities, offering a shower, communal changing areas with benches, wash basins and toilets; on both occasions we found them to be clean and with soap and tissues available. The beach normally closes at sundown, and I’m told it is busier at weekends when more of the locals and even Chris Blackwell and friends sometimes frequent it.

On the whole I would recommend James Bond Beach and feel it was worth the drive as it was clean, secluded, friendly, peaceful and with good vibes and amenities. The entry price wasn’t too expensive either and was indicative on what was on offer there. All round it was a nice experience…. I will definitely come again and will have to try the food next time though!

Jamaica 'One Love' James Bond Beach
Jamaica ‘One Love’ James Bond Beach

 

 

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Keep the Conversation Going….

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Post Updated January 2016

Turtle River Park – Ocho Rios

Turtle River Park is worth a visit if you are in Ocho Rios, the beautiful landscaped park right in the middle of the town centre covers 3 hectares of land and offers a few surprises for visitors young and old.

Giving Jamaican’s and visitors a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the town and sit and relax in peaceful tranquility, the park is free to members of the public and open every day of the week. The park was opened on 18 June 2004 by  Prime Minister P J Patterson (PM of the time) after the (UDC) Urban Development Corporation decided the old bus park was ideal for redevelopment.

 

Turtle River Park Facilities

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  • Free Entrance to members of the public
  • Open all week
  • Clean Toilets
  • Snack Outlet
  • Childrens Swing Area
  • Seating areas / Picnic Tables
  • Landscaped Gardens
  • Ponds and water features
  • Parking – fee payable; free parking spots are available down the end of the road past the main entrance on Milford Road (do NOT park where you see yellow lines or  parking restrictions!)
  • Security – Wardens patrol park ensuring park rules are upheld

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Are There Any Turtles? 

Due to the name of the park I was intrigued to find out if there were turtles lurking anywhere, so I made two visits to look for them as it was too dark to fully investigate the park the first evening. I did notice on the first visit that there was a  barrier set across a bridge which gave access to a central island, which contained a smaller pond in the centre… I would have to investigate further in the daylight to find out why the barrier was there and if there were turtles here somewhere.

The second time I walked through the park I made sure it was daylight hours so that I could get some pictures and investigate the ponds when it would be easier to spot turtles if there were any to be found.

 

Palm Lined Walkway

After walking in the large main entrance on Milford Road, there is a long walkway which gives a glimpse of the ponds at the end.

The walkway is lined with palm trees and small hedges to either side, halfway down the walkway a central water feature starts to bubble and flow down towards the ponds.

Manicured lawns to either side of the walkway carry numerous ‘keep off the grass’ signs, which  I can only assume to keep the lawns in their magnificent state of lushness!

 

What is available at the Park?

There are gazebos scattered around the park, where groups of people sit quietly or talk, sing and recite from the bible, lovers young and old share a tender word and touch and everyday people just sit and chill out. Palm trees, bushes and planting leads you along pathways cut through the beautiful lawns to other areas of the park.

There is a children’s play area which has a couple of playhouses on stilts and some swings, although when I visited only a few of the swings had seats, but the children there enjoyed themselves none the less.

The turtle theme carries on through the park and I saw these cute little turtles sitting in a row across the lawn, maybe to create a division from the children’s area behind it. I noticed a trampoline with an enclosure, but  couldn’t see anyone attending to it and I assumed it wasn’t free to use.

Along some of the pathways there is a turtle emblem stamped into the concrete to break up the blandness and continue with the turtle theme.

Scenic Ponds and Waterways

 The park boasts a large man-made pond which is beautifully designed and has large specimens of what look like coy carp fish swimming in the  shallows.  Large trees, palms, clipped bushes, flowers and rockstone are tastefully scattered around to create a natural looking atmospheric area, which doesn’t look overdone.

A small bridge carries you over the larger pond that creates a moat effect, as there is an island in the centre which also has a pond with smaller fish swimming amongst the lily pads. A pathway leads you around the pond to an even smaller pond that had a fence around it….. Mmmmm what was in there?

 

At Last I found the Turtles!

There is a small waterfall that cascaded into the last pond and a small grassed area with rocks near to the water’s edge for the turtles to sun themselves on, or have a break from the water. A second waterfall left the pond and flowed down into the central pond, although a grill across the waterfall prevented the turtles from escaping any further into the other ponds.

A tree at the back of the enclosure provided partial shade to the pond giving the turtles some respite from the scorching Jamaican sunshine.

There were at least 10 turtles in the pond and one in particular took an interest and came out of the pond to walk over to the fence to see what was going on. The others looked on in mild interest and scattered if they felt frightened when you moved too quickly. The shells of the turtles were covered with a green algae but it didn’t seem to bother them as they looked happy and healthy swimming or lolling about in their watery enclosure.

As the fish in the ponds looked like fresh water fish I can only assume these specimens must be a form of fresh water turtle. There were small fish bundled up on the bottom of the pond, but it didn’t seem to be the turtle food? I did wonder what they fed them on though as there was no sign of food anywhere.

I spent a while with the turtles but as the night came down the park wardens came over and put the barrier back over the small bridge and ushered people back over into the main areas of the park before it closed shortly afterwards. I was happy that I found the turtles and that the park’s namesakes really did reside in the park’s ‘river’.

On leaving the park we walked through the entrance on Main Street which has the wardens hut and public restrooms, which I found to be clean and tidy, but lacking tissue, soap and hand towels!

All together the park is a nice attraction and looks as though it is manicured on a daily basis, as it is so beautifully kept. I would recommend a visit to the park especially if you want some peace and quiet, or if you have young children who would enjoy the turtles and play area provided.

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on weekends from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Entry:     
Free

Parking Rates: J$50 per hour and J$150 daily

Contact Information:     
Turtle River Park
Main Street
Ocho Rios, St. Ann
(876) 795 0078, 974 5015, 974 2612
Telefax (876) 974 2731