Ras Natango lives in a home/gallery / botanical garden that he and his wife Tamika built on a cliffside in the hills of Montego Bay. Right from the beginning, climbing the steep, short driveway to get up to the gallery is a great workout for some healthy buns of steel!
We were greeted by a smiling close-knit family and a small charm of hummingbirds who would literally fly up to our hands to drink syrupy water from a special container our hosts made. Those were special moments!
Tamika shared the story of how Ras had bought the cliffside property after falling in love with the view. Though she was not initially happy about it, she eventually grew to love the place. They built their home together, and carved the stone from the land, creating outdoor terraces where they eventually planted dozens of species of beautiful local flora.
Today, they are members of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame. This means they have won Certificates of Excellence from the company for five consecutive years, although they have actually won for 7 years in total.
When they had just moved into the area, Ras had won a contract with one of the local hotels to create paintings for some of their guest rooms. That contract eventually stretched out over a period of four years, producing more than 400 pieces. At some point, the hotel’s guests began driving up to his home in search of the gallery where they could buy his beautiful paintings. The gallery was eventually created based on the demand from these visiting tourists.
Over the years, between the paintings and the visits to the well-maintained and manicured gardens, Ahhh Ras Natango Gallery and Gardens has become an in-demand tourist destination, with enough activity to employ up to 12 of the local residents at a time. The owners are proud that they are the largest employers in their small village.
When you visit make sure to ask if you too can feed the hummingbirds. And make sure to let them know Calibe said hi!