There is no commercial airport in Mandeville. Travelers usually arrive in Kingston and rent a car to make the two-hour drive to Mandeville.
Car & Jeep Rentals
Away from the main tourist areas, rental cars are scarce. Mandeville has just a few companies.
CAR RENTAL AGENCIES
Maxdan Car Rentals & Tours
876-962-5341 (6 North Race Course Road)
876-962-3542 (3 Villa Road)
Moon Glow Car Rental
876-962-9097 (3 Caledonia Road)
Jamaica Estate Tours
876-963-9215 or 876-963-9508, fax 876-963-9218
or check with your hotels tour desk
Hours: 9 am-3:30 pm daily, except Sundays
Sugarcane is a major agricultural product in this region and for nearly 250 years the Appleton Estate has produced one of the island’s top exports made from it. Take a tour of the rum distillery Monday through Saturday. Visitors receive a complimentary bottle of rum at the end of the tour.
876-962-3725, 876-962-3265 or 800/JAMAICA
Tours by reservation only
Okay, a tour of a bauxite mine doesn’t float everyone’s boat, but if you are interested in tours of Alcan Jamaica, they can be arranged with a day’s notice. Offered on weekdays only.
Contact your hotel desk or call Countrystyle at
876-962-7979 or 876-962-3265, fax 876-962-1461 or 800/JAMAICA
(Countrystyle is the only company that organizes these trips.)
Hours: Open Tuesday and Wednesday only
Bammy is a staple in the Jamaican diet, a delicacy made from the cassava root that dates back to the days of the Arawak Indians. Tours of the Bammy Factory, housed in Mr. Clem Bloomfields home, are given on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
BLACK RIVER SAFARI CRUISE
This is a popular day trip that takes travelers up the Black River, whose waters contain snook and tarpon, some weighing up to 200 pounds. You may see spear fishermen with a snorkel, mask and speargun, swimming in the dark water stained by peat deposits. Among their catch are tiny brine shrimp, sold by women in the St. Elizabeth parish along the roadside. Highly salted and spiced, the shrimp are a popular snack. The fishermen’s canoes are hand-hewn and burned out using a generations-old technique. The biggest attraction on the Black River is the crocodiles. This protected species can live as long as 100 years, and some of the old-timers have become known by local residents. One 15-foot-long croc named Lester is seen nightly.
COUNTRYSTYLE VACATIONS AND TOURS
PO Box 60 62, Ward Avenue
These unique tours specialize in community visits. You can set your own itinerary and visit those establishments you’re interested in – whether that means local churches, hospitals, roadside bars, discos, gardens, schools, farms or private homes. Along with tours, CountryStyle also offers packages with accommodations in small hotels, guest houses and even private homes. This operation is headed by Diana McIntyre-Pike, one of the dynamos of Jamaica tourism and a fountain of information and contacts. We highly recommend this company as a way to step off the beaten path and get to know Jamaica on a one-to-one basis.
JACANA AQUA TOURS LTD
Hours: 8:30-5 daily
Jacana offers a safari boat tour on the Black River. The package includes a trip to YS Falls. You’ll learn that the Salt Spring River meets the Black River and that this waterway was, for many decades, the main transportation route for rum and sugarcane. The cruise takes you past many mangroves, which need 15% saltwater to survive. In these waters pancake lilies, blue Marie crabs and bullrush thrive. The tide sometimes rises as much as 18 inches so saltwater comes in and mixes with the freshwater fed in by the tributaries. Flooding isn’t a problem because of the surrounding fields of peat, which serve as a giant sponge to soak up the excess moisture. Bird lovers will find many sights along the tour as well, including one spot where over 3,000 cattle egrets live in the trees.
MARVELOUS MANDEVILLE TOUR
876-962-7979, 876-962-3265 or 800-JAMAICA, fax 876-962-1461
Tours by reservation only
A Marvelous Mandeville Tour (US $40) includes a welcome get-together at a local home, tour of Mandeville, shopping, lunch and high tea. The tour is operated by Diana McIntyre-Pike, owner of the Astra Country Inn and Restaurant and founder of Countrystyle Tours (see above).
MRS. STEPHENSON’S GARDEN TOUR
876-962-7979 or 876-962-3265 or 800/JAMAICA, fax 876-962-1461
Open by appointment only
Mrs. Stephenson has won many prizes from the Mandeville Horticulture Society. Her gardens are filled with orchids as well as the unique ortanique, a citrus fruit that combines orange and tangerine.
PICKAPEPPA SAUCE FACTORY TOUR
Tours by appointment only
Near Mandeville, Shooters Hill is the home to one of Jamaica’s best known (and one of our best loved) exports: Pickapeppa Sauce. It is used by cooks to spice up eggs, meats and sauces, and is a mix of tamarind, onions, tomatoes, sugarcane vinegar, mangoes, raisins and other spices. Pickapeppa Sauce is prepared in this small, nondescript factory. Tours aren’t scheduled, but if you’re interested, call Countrystyle (876- 962-7979 or 962-3265) to see if they can help you get a look at this fragrant operation.
ST. ELIZABETH SAFARIS
Hours: 8:30 am-5 pm daily
Tours (1½ hours) of the Black River and YS Falls are available from this large operator. The trip includes an excursion up the river for a chance to see crocodiles, birds and fishermen. River trips leave daily at 9, 11, 2 and 3:30; YS tours leave every half-hour from 9 to 3:30.
These guided tours give travelers a real taste of Jamaica with hikes, historic site visits, fishing, and more.
SOUTH COAST SAFARI LTD
876-965-2513, fax 876-965-2086
Tour times: 9 and 11 am, 12:30, 2 and 3:30 pm daily
This excellent tour company runs a boat tour six miles up the Black River for a chance to see crocodiles as well as rural life. There’s also an excursion to the remote YS Falls. On this tour you’ll have the opportunity to spot some of the 100 species of birds that have been identified on the Black River as well as vegetation such as mangrove, thatch palms and royal palms. The tour takes 1½ hours and includes a buffet lunch as well as admission to the falls.