Category Archives: Ocho Rios, Saint Ann

All posts relating to Ocho Rios, located in the parish of Saint Ann.

Boardwalk Bistro at Island Village, Ocho Rios

If you are looking for a stylish beachfront eatery with a finger-licking menu and authentic Blue Mountain Coffee, I have found the spot in the coolest corner of Ochi!

If you live or work in the surrounds of Ochi, the Boardwalk Bistro is ideal for when you to get away from it all and avoid the crush of the town. Visitors to Ocho Rios and passengers from the nearby cruise ship pier, will love the warm Jamaican hospitality and beautiful settings without having to hike for hours to get there.

Boardwalk Bistro – Island Village, Ocho Rios

If you haven’t been to Island Village before you are in for a treat! The Boardwalk Bistro is set among the wooden buildings and lush surroundings that make up the beautiful settings of the Island Village complex.

There is a selection of stores, cafe’s, restaurants and entertainment facilities set around a boardwalk that incorporates picturesque natural spring lagoons (seek them out to see the fish), tropical flowers and fruiting trees.

If you look around you, will see that this complex is dreamy and creates the ambiance of an authentic Jamaican village, I love it!

Boardwalk Bistro
Boardwalk Bistro

The Boardwalk Bistro, Ocho Rios

The Boardwalk Bistro is nestled at the far end of the shops and a mere 10 steps away from the private sandy beach at Island Village, in Ocho Rios. You can relax and people watch in the shaded alfresco eating area directly on the boardwalk whilst enjoying your meal, or take in some intimate Jamaican ambience by sitting inside the Bistro.

The interior of the Boardwalk Bistro has a warm and inviting, carefully thought out decor. The main feature being a stunningly fluid Jamaican Guango wood counter that wraps around one wall.

The Bistro’s open kitchen is situated in full view of the dining area, so you can watch the chefs in action and take in the sights and smells of the cooking before you get to sample the food. The sea breeze along with the huge extractor and ceiling fans helps to keep this area cool.

Take a moment between mouthfuls of food to admire the sweeping Guango wood counter and the tables and chairs which are smooth and weighty and handcrafted from locally produced Guango and Cedar wood.

Then take in the masks and pictures adorning the walls depicting early Jamaican and African scenes, which are gently lit by the stained glass wall sconces in the evenings.

The beach front location is ideal if you want to leave your older children nearby on the beach, whilst you take in a Blue Mountain Coffee or a Jamaican Red Stripe Beer on the cool and shady boardwalk!

 

Inside the Boardwalk Bistro Island Village Ocho Rios

 

The Menu at the Boardwalk Bistro

The Bistro is a champion of getting the right mix of local and international foods on the menu. So whether you are in the mood for something new, or an old favourite, you are sure to find something to tempt you.

Although you can get plated foods, the Boardwalk Bistro is an advocate of eating with your fingers. They serve many of the foods in paper stuffed into decorative wire racks forming cones, with ramekins for dips on the side. Ideal for finger dipping!

Jamaican Flavours on the Menu

  • Breakfast: Jamaican style, served with boiled yam, banana and dumpling
  • Jerk Chicken or Pork
  • Curried Mutton
  • Brown Stew Oxtail
  • Snapper (fish)
  • Coconut Curried Shrimp
  • Salt-Fish Balls
  • Soup
  • Rasta Pasta
  • Chefs Salad
  • Chicken Bites
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast
  • Bammy, Rice and Peas, Sweet Potato Fries, Plantain Chips, Johnny Cakes, Festival

 

International Flavours on the Menu

  • Breakfast: English, Continental, Eggs Your Way, Waffles
  • Cheese Burger
  • Cheese wonton
  • Pita Pizzas
  • Boardwalk Pitas (filled pita bread)
  • Wraps
  • White Rice, Potato Wedges

 

Soda Float Boardwalk Bistro
Soda Float Boardwalk Bistro

Drinks and Desserts

The Boardwalk Bistro serves a their own brand of  100% Blue Mountain Coffee, the much celebrated ‘Strawberry Hill’ coffee brand, alongside teas and iced coffees. Plus they have a range of smoothies, shakes, juices, soda floats, sodas and water.

If you want something alcoholic they have wine, beers, cocktails and many ways of serving the Jamaican staple Rum! If you have any room left, they also have a small selection of desserts on offer.

 

My Experience of Eating at the Boardwalk Bistro

I visited the Boardwalk Bistro for a lunch date with a friend and we took residence on one of the much coveted teak tables on the boardwalk overlooking the beach. We were served  in good time by a smiling waitress who handed us menus with botanical illustrations of Jamaican fruits and trees on the front, which I absolutely adore (I know I have weird Art crushes!).

We decided to go for finger foods to share, so we selected some Jamaican and International side order options from the menu.

We went for Salt-Fish Balls, Cheese Wontons, Bammy and some Plantain Chips.

As soon as I saw it on the menu I couldn’t resist ordering a Cream Soda Float, which reminded me of my Dad, who used to make them for us as children. It didn’t disappoint and the ice-cream was nice and creamy.

The food was served in paper covered baskets and wire racks, so we took a basket each and filled it with a few of the fried delights and started tasting! Overall the food was really good.

I especially loved the Salt-Fish Balls, which were a perfect mixture of juicy, salty, bouncy, frittery crispy deliciousness and the Plantain Chips, which tasted as though they had dropped straight off the tree to the chopping board. The Cheesy Wontons were suitably crispy and cheesy and gave a little international edge to the other Jamaican side orders.

Despite ordering fried foods which were presented in unforgiving paper packaging, I noted there was a distinct lack of oil on the paper. Which I always use as a good measure of whether the food will be overly greasy and dripping in fat. So full marks to the Chef for achieving the crunch without the grease!

If I had to find one little fault about the whole experience, it would unfortunately be the bammy. Which is one of my all time favourite Jamaican side orders. It was a bit tough, like it hadn’t quite been soaked long enough before it was fried. But non-withstanding we ate most of it anyway!

We were full after eating the food, so I slipped the paper out of the rack with the remaining Plantain Chips (too good to waste!) and took them with me to nibble on whilst wandering around the Island Village shops afterwards… Delicious!

Our meal including drinks, came in at around $1,800 (Jamaican), not including the tip we added. We thought the cost was very reasonable for the ambiance, service and what we ordered. Highly recommended!

 

NYAM Boardwalk Bistro
NYAM Boardwalk Bistro

 Want to Visit the Boardwalk Bistro?

The Boardwalk Bistro can be found in Island Village Plaza, at the far west end of Ocho Rios Town Centre.

There is ample Parking and clean Washrooms located in Island Village Plaza. The Car park, Washrooms and The Boardwalk Bistro are fully accessible by wheel chair users. 

If entering the plaza through the car park entrance, you will pass the washrooms (stop first if you want to refresh yourself before finding a table) as you walk through the archway. Immediately turn right and follow the boardwalk towards the sea. The Boardwalk Bistro is the last shop on the right-hand side.

If you are coming from the Cruise Ship Pier, head straight down the street passing Oceans 11 and take the first right across a small bridge to the boardwalk, which leads to the sandy beach. The Boardwalk Bistro is the first shop you pass on the corner, conveniently located directly opposite the beach.

If you are coming through the main entrance, walk past the cinema and down the steps, continue past the water feature, lawn and washrooms and follow the boardwalk towards the sea. The Boardwalk Bistro is the last shop on the right-hand side.

Boardwalk Bistro Address

Shop 1/2 Island Village Plaza, Turtle Towers Road, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Phone

(876) 398-2582 / (876) 384-9578

 

Maybe I will see you there when I come back! 

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join us…

FaceBook Page

Twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul 

Instagram

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you ever visited the Boardwalk Bistro in Ocho Rios, Jamaica? Who did you go with and what did you eat?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Reviews Head Over Here…

Visiting Ocho Rios and want to learn more about what is has to offer? Head over here…




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

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

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

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Keep the Conversation Going…

Have you been to Little Dunn’s River? Where is your favourite beach in Jamaica? Get in touch below we look forward to hearing from you…




Calabash Ital Rastarant – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

If you want to try authentic Jamaican food with a twist, then you must try ‘Ital Food’. Nowadays following a ‘clean diet’ is all the rage, but Ital food has been following these principles since its inception. Tasty, healthy, Vegetarian and Vegan dishes are cooked with a flair that is innately Jamaican. Calabash Ital Rastarant is located in Ocho Rios town centre and offers a selection of dishes for breakfast, through lunch and to dinnertime and beyond.

Calabash Ital Rastarant

I am a Vegetarian, so it is a real treat to go to a restaurant where I can choose anything off the menu. Calabash Ital Rastarant is one of my favourite Vegetarian eating spots in Ocho Rios because of the sheer choice and my hardcore meat eating friends love it here too. They have a wide and varied menu with a lot of familiar Jamaican dishes cooked in a meat free format. Including, Vege Chunks, Tofu, Steamed Vegetables, Curried Chickpeas, Ackee, Porridge, Soups, Stews, Vege Burgers and more. If you can’t decide what to order ask for a mixed box, this is a selection of all the different foods cooked on the day served with rice and peas, or hard food (boiled provisions). The food is fresh and delicious and surprisingly affordable. The restaurant has a clean seating area inside and a few tables out on the balcony, alternatively you can buy take away food and they even do delivery in the Ocho Rios region. They have a selection of natural juices on offer too alongside coconut water and other beverages.

Calabash also sell natural products, supplements, t-shirts, incense, accessories, DVD’s, books, posters and beauty products to name a few of the items on offer.

 

Calabash Ital Rastarant Location and Opening Hours

Shop 8
7 James Avenue
Ocho Rios
Jamaica

Telephone Number: 876-570-5565

Calabash also offer a delivery service in the Ocho Rios region.

Opening Hours

Mondays to Thursday  7:00am- 10:30pm

Friday and Saturday  7:00am- 11:30pm

Sunday  9:00am- 9:00pm

 

Calabash Ital Rastarant
Calabash Ital Rastarant

Food Prices at Calabash Ital Rastarant

  • $380 small food
  • $450 medium food
  • $500 large food

What is ‘Ital Food’?

The word ‘Ital’ is derived from the word vital. As Rastafari believe that food and the health and well being of the consumer are all connected. It is part of the faith of the Rastafari in Jamaica and there are certain ‘rules’ of preparing, serving and cooking certain foods stuffs. ‘Ital Food’ is Vegetarian and Vegan based and is considered a ‘clean’ diet, as it contains no preservatives, colourings, flavourings, tinned foods and in many cases even salt is omitted. The food is delicious, fresh and full of nutrients to increase ‘Livity’, or our life energy.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

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

 

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you visited this Rastarant and want to share your experience? Where is your favourite dish at Calabash Ital Rastarant? Join the Comments Below….

 




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

[divider_1px_dashed]

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

[divider_1px_dashed]

 

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

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]

 

[divider_1px]

 

[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]

 

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

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • 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

[/list]

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