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On May 4, 1494, Christopher Columbus arrived at the island of Jamaica. The Columbus Park in Discovery Bay marks the spot where Columbus is said to have put his foot when he first came to Jamaica.
Decorated with cannons and maritime artefacts this small park is a heavy touristÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gatherer from all places interested in the history of Jamaica. Columbus Park is an attractive three-acre (1.2-hectare) garden in scenic Discovery Bay in the St. Ann area.
One of the most scenic natural harbours in the Caribbean, Discovery Bay was renamed in 1947 to commemorate the place where it was once thought that Christopher Columbus first made his mark on Jamaican soil.
Dunn's River Falls is one of Jamaica's national treasures. Globally, it is as well-known as Reggae and equally stimulating. There are few places where the Arawak name "Xayamaca" - land of rivers and springs - is more apt. The Spaniards called the area "Las Chorreras" - the waterfalls or springs - and it is truly one of the most beautiful spots on the island. A stone's throw from Ocho Rios, one of Jamaica's fastest growing resort centres, Dunn's River Falls is unique. Described as a living and growing phenomenon, it continuously regenerates itself from deposits of travertine rock, the result of precipitation of calcium carbonate from the river, as it flows over the falls. The small dome-shaped cataracts are usually associated with thermal spring activity found in limestone caves. This, combined with its location near to the sea, gives Dunn's River the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the Caribbean, if not the world.
The name "Ocho Rios" has two possible origins: it is either a direct translation from Spanish meaning "eight rivers" or an adulteration of "las chorreras" (the spouts), reflecting the large number of waterfalls in the area. Ocho Rios is located in St. Ann's parish about 60 miles from Annotto to Discovery Bay on a half-moon shaped cove in the middle of Jamaica's northern coastline. It was formerly a fishing port and was also known for its banana exports. Now it is a pretty resort town with stunning waterfalls and beaches and interesting colonial-period buildings like the Geddes Memorial Church and the Anglican Church. The town's business and commercial center is Pineapple Place.
When not indulging in the many activities available--horseback riding, polo, golf, tennis, shopping, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, swimming or sunbathing--there are a number of interesting sights worth seeing in the environs of Ocho Rios:
Port Antonio was once a thriving banana shipping port. In fact, the well-known Banana Boat Song (â€˜Day-Oâ€™) originated here and was chanted by men and women as they loaded the boats.
Today, Port Antonio is a quaint seaside town that is perfect for romance. Visitors are surrounded by open seas and towering mountains, while the roadsides are framed with wild orchids, bananas, tree ferns â€¨and palms.
Port Antonio is a dream town that offers guests a glimpse into the natural world. Visitors will find adventure in the Blue Mountains, magic in the calming, â€˜bottomlessâ€™ Blue Lagoon and mystery in the Non-such Caves. Others may relax on a raft down the Rio Grande or marvel at two nearby waterfalls, Somerset and Reach Falls or spend a relaxing day at the breath-taking Frenchmanâ€™s Cove Beach.
Port Antonio also offers great one-day excursions that include gardens and mansions to tour or beaches for sunning and water sports. Errol Flynn said that Port Antonio was more beautiful than any woman he had ever seen. We are sure that you will agree.
Set between mountains and a double harbor, Port Antonio exudes the relaxed charm of a sleepy fishing village. Once a center for banana export, the area is distinctly less commercial than the other resort towns. Popular things to do here include hiking jungle trails, rafting the Rio Grande, taking a tour to Reach Falls, and snorkeling and diving the coral reefs. A favorite swimming spot is the beautiful 60-meter-deep Blue Lagoon, fed by freshwater springs.
Other highlights of the area include the 18th-century British stronghold of Fort George and beautiful Frenchman's Cove, where a fish-filled river flows into the sea. The beaches here are a wonderful mix of white sand, shallow waters, and lush outcroppings of land. Nearby, Daniel's River plunges through a gorge of natural rock in a series of cascades and pools known as Somerset Falls.
Set between Port Antonio's two harbors and reached by ferry, Navy Island was once owned by movie swashbuckler Errol Flynn. Today, the island is a favorite for picnics and day trips.
Jamaica's spicy "jerk-style" of cooking originated in the region and some of the best can be found at Boston Beach east of Port Antonio.
Our capital city, Kingston, is difficult to pin down; you just have to experience it for yourself. Here are a couple of things to know; from facts to handy tips, what clothes to pack and what you shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t leave without seeing.
One of the most iconic harbours in the Caribbean â€“ Port Royal on the south coast of Jamaica near Kingston â€“ is a historic site that includes a sunken city dating back to 1692.
In 2018, Port Royal is to be made accessible to cruise ships for the first time with the installation of floating pier system called SeaWalk. This will allow cruise vessels to berth in the 300-year-old harbour without impacting its fragile environment, and offer visitors to chance explore Port Royal and its environs. The first ships are expected to call in early 2019.
Under the direction of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, a sunken pirate ship has been identified and thousands of artefacts recovered, with plans for a new museum to showcase them. Unesco designation is pending for the Underwater City of Port Royal. Outside of Port Royal itself, there is plenty of scope for cruise passengers, with Kingston just the other side of the huge natural harbour. A short ride by bus or water taxi will take them to the Jamaican capital with its many visitor attractions including the National Gallery of Jamaica, the Bob Marley Museum and tours of the Blue Mountain Coffee plantation.
And, thanks to Jamaicaâ€™s newly completed north-south highway, passengers arriving at Port Royal will be able to reach north coast attractions like Dunnâ€™s River Falls in just an hour and a half â€“ less time than it takes to drive between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
Rich in pirate lore, Port Royal was once called â€˜the wickedest city on earthâ€™. An earthquake in 1692 swallowed two-thirds of the town, forming an underwater city that is now being actively investigated and preserved by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
The spit of sand that later became Port Royal was first used by the Taino people as a fishing camp. When the British invaded Jamaica in 1655, they realised its strategic importance and began to put in fortifications. During the 17th century it was the de facto capital of Jamaica as well as a convenient spot for buccaneers and pirates to discharge looted treasure.
By 1692 Port Royal was a key trading port, but in the summer of that year it was destroyed by an earthquake. The houses and fortifications of Port Royal were rebuilt, before a fire destroyed the whole town in 1703. Hurricanes in 1712, 1722 and 1726 followed, causing major devastation. In the course of the same century, Port Royal acquired new status as a naval base, however after the Napoleonic wars, it declined in importance, and suffered an earthquake in 1907 and Hurricane Charlie in 1951.
Today, with its sunken city and Naval remnants, it is considered one of the most important historical sites in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, it is the only sunken city in the entire Western Hemisphere, making it a truly unique and iconic Caribbean harbour.