Tidbits of Jamaica: Kingston and Other Parishes
January 1, 1970
by Colette Campbell
Welcome to the land of Reggae, vibes and excellent food. Jamaica, the third-largest Caribbean island, has a population of approximately 2.7 million people and with over 10, 299 sq. km, of vibes and beauty, for you to explore. Its previous Amerindian name ‘Xaymaca’, means and the island is referred as – “the Land of Wood and Water”. Jamaica’s greatest treasures are not only its people, but hidden places that veer off the beaten path. But nonetheless, we will get to them. Here… In stages… 🙂
There’s lots to explore – from misty mountains, scenic beaches and urban-rural landscapes, (if you can find them). However, that’s my job- to help you, get the most out of your stay in Jamaica.
With some of the warmest people, you will ever find, Jamaica is divided into 14 fourteen parishes. Here are my thoughts on each:
The life of the party will like it here. It’s busy, full of vibes and is party central for Jamaicans and tourists alike.The parish is actually apart of an area called Kingston and St. Andrew and is only a small fraction of the parish. Here lies Trench Town– birthplace of Reggae legend Peter Tosh, home to Bob Marley… and the Wailers.
This is one of Jamaica’s busiest and most diverse parishes. From scenic rural mountains to inner-city communities, there are many places that an adventurer could go and explore safely. There’s Hope Gardens and Zoo, Port Royal (or what’s left of it), the lofty heights of the Blue and John Crow Mountains and back to Half Way Tree, named after a large cotton tree that used to shelter rural travelers and acted as a landmark and replaced by a clock, is where the daily hustle and bustle thrives.
This is home to National Hero Paul Bogle, The 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion and the Bath Fountain, developed in 1669. Its gems are close, despite the lack of the development. Interestingly, the parish has the only river on the island that flows east-The Plantain Garden River and there’s surfing!
One of Jamaica’s most scenic and beautiful parishes, is a treasure trove for beach lovers. There is Frenchman’s Cove, San San Beach, The Errol Flynn Marina and the original place for Jerk– Boston Beach. The Blue and John Crow Mountain Range is mainly located here (The range spans: St. Andrew, St. Thomas and Portland) . The parish is home to many agricultural produce, the Trident Hotel and Geejam Studio, whose owner Chris Blackwell, formerly managed Bob Marley and produced some of his songs.
This is banana parish, if you like the sweet yellow fruit (like the Minions). It is also one of the smallest parishes in the island, but beaches, culture and friendly people are here. On the border with Kingston, is Castleton Botanical Gardens and Wag Water River, which is home to a wide variety of plant species. There is rafting on the parish’s many rivers; most notably the Rio Grande.
Known as the Garden Parish, St. Ann is famous for an area called Fern Gully, as the road goes through a fern forest, with many different varieties of the plant. What’s more interesting are the lessons in art and body dynamics, seen passing by the craft vendors located there. Ocho Rios is a busy area with a mix of business and pleasure, from quaint guest houses to award winning hotels, strung along its long coastline. A family can literally just dive in. After Christopher Columbus came to the West looking for the East, he first disembarked in 1494 at Discovery Bay, located in St. Ann.
Rum anyone? Here sugar cane and agriculture abounds. The parish is well known for the different variety of yams, produced for local markets. However, its most famous export, is the legendary Usain St. Leo Bolt, 8-time Olympic gold medalist and World Record Holder in the 100 and 200 meters, whose home town – Sherwood Content is located within its rural area. ‘To di worl’’
The ultimate tourist mecca for sun, sea and sand. Montego Bay, the capital is the island’s second city and nightlife hub. Home to the 1831-32 Christmas Rebellion, the parish is famous for one of its many slave plantations/great houses- the Rose Hall Great House. It is said that the mistress of the house – Annie Palmer – was a witch and poisoned her three husbands. She was killed in the a slave uprising, however the house is now an attraction. The parish is filled with many hotels and beaches, as well as golf courses. Go get them…Tiger!
Another small and very quiet parish, nonetheless rich in history and culture.
This parish is another tourist mecca, especially for it beaches and seafood. There is a natural sanctuary and and a lot of rivers.
Called the Bread Basket Parish, most foods that Jamaicans and tourists consume comes from this large parish. It has the Black River, which has a safari tour, is reported to be the first in the Western Hemisphere to get electricity and the seafood is great! It has the most famous Maroon settlement in the island- Accompong.
Parish for cold weather, as its hilly terrain makes interesting temperatures, for the tropics. Interestingly, it has no visible rivers or much beaches, but is culturally vibrant and is the main location for bauxite mining and agriculture.
Home to the island’s longest river, the Rio Minho, Clarendon is culturally productive, giving from seafood to ground produce and has an Asian history. It hosts every August 6- the Denbigh Agricultural Show, that attracts many persons. Clarendon has its own mineral spring and rivers.
This parish held the island’s first capital -St. Jago de la Vega, now called Spanish Town and was a central area for the two colonial powers that came to the island. Emancipation Square was the location where the paper freeing all slaves on the island in 1833, was read and now hosts a Taino Museum. The parish is diverse, with agriculture and manufacturing. The parish has the second longest river, the Rio Cobre – and its infamous bridge built by slaves is the site of many incidents of vehicles, plunging within its depths – runs the length of it, culminating into Hunts Bay. However, there’s a story of a golden table, which appears in the river at 12 noon. Would you like to try your luck?
Thanks for touring with me and see you soon!