One of the most fascinating ways to see what Jamaica has to offer is to drive the entire length of the South Coast from Negril to Kingston. Along the way there are opportunities to sample fishermen’s catch-of-the-day, take in the fearsome crocodiles of the Black River, and step back into the colonial past with a visit to the 19th-century buildings in Manchester.
Day 1 – Negril, White House, Black River, YS Falls, Bamboo Avenue, Treasure Beach
First on the itinerary is a stop at White House, a fishing village where you can watch fishermen bringing in their catch. After that, you will pass through two other quaint Jamaican towns: Bluefields with its lovely sea views and Belmont, home to the Peter Tosh Mausoleum and museum.
The major excursion on the first day is a stop at Black River, where you can adventure along in a riverboat safari and view some of Jamaica’s rich wildlife in its natural habitat. Sorry, no swimming here – the river is the home of more than 300 crocodiles!
Following your riverboat safari, you’ll head toward the island’s interior to YS Falls located in the so-called “Breadbasket Parish” of St. Elizabeth. At YS Falls, the waters cascade down seven tiers to arrive at a large wading pool that is fed by fresh underground springs. Inner-tubing on the river can be enjoyed here, along with canopy rides high above the falls that provide spectacular vistas of the jungle below. After these adventures, this is a good place to stop for lunch and relaxation. When you’re ready to get back on the road, you’ll travel down the aptly named Bamboo Avenue from Middle Quarters to Lacovia.
At the end of the first day, you’ll be ready for a delicious lobster dinner at Treasure Beach, where you will also spend the night before continuing your South Coast journey.
Day 2 – Treasure Beach, Mandeville, May Pen
Waking up in Treasure Beach is one of the great pleasures offered in this itinerary. Treasure Beach encompasses four difference coves and their settlements: Billy’s Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Calabash Bay and Great Pedro Bay. Take some time to walk the beach and visit Lover’s Leap, a high cliff with a sheer drop of 1,700 feet to the sea below where it is believed two lovers jumped to their death rather than be separated in life.
Mandeville, considered the “most English” of Jamaica’s cities, is situated on a hilltop plateau 628 meters (about 1,800 feet) high. The capital of Manchester Parish, Mandeville is the only parish capital in Jamaica that is not located on the sea or a river. Visit the Court House, which dates from 1820, the old city church, the clock tower, and other examples of 19th-century architecture. A not-to-be-missed experience in Mandeville is tasting the “ugi,” a hybrid orange that was developed in the parish.
The day ends in May Pen, which began as a plantation settlement on the Rio Minho River between 1660 and 1683, is the capital and largest city in Clarendon Parish. Music enthusiasts will know May Pen as the birthplace of singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert of Toots & the Maytals.
Day 3 – Spanish Town, Kingston
On the third day of your visit to the South Coast you’ll come to Spanish Town, and if you arrive on a Friday or Saturday, you can visit the weekly market held in the town square. Spanish Town is home to the Jamaica People’s Museum of Craft and Technology and the English Cathedral of San Jago de la Vega, both well worth a visit. You can lunch in one of the many local restaurants before moving on to Kingston.
In Jamaica’s capital city of Kingston, the many attractions vying for your attention include the Bob Marley Museum, Devon House, a 127-year-old mansion listed as a Jamaica’s National Heritage site, and the extensive crafts market. After exploring the city, you’ll be ready for a relaxing dinner in Port Royal, where you can dine at your leisure while partaking of beautiful ocean views.
We also recommend Little Ochi and The Lovers Leap Restaurant for Jamaican Food