Exploring the island these days is a navigation of protocols, huge anxiety and the foreboding sense that perhaps you really shouldn’t be travelling. But the itch just to see somewhere new or remember the ocean still exists are powerful motivators. We also believe you can have some nice drives in an afternoon of safe adventure.
Papine to Blue Mountains
Once past the claustrophobic centre of Papine and in the outskirts of St. Andrew’s cityscape the lovely winding roads of East Rural territory and the meandering curves of Irish Town is a drive worth the time. The 40 plus species of endemic natural forests and other plants bring a refreshing change from the buildings and streets of Kingston. You can stop for coffee or food at Café Blue or Eeits. Or pack a picnic and head all the way up to the Holywell National Park for an all-day activity with friends and family!
Ochi “Old Road”
We know the highway cuts travel time but if you want a more scenic route, the old road still holds a certain charm. It curves through the land’s natural contours along the Rio Cobre and thickets of forests and a wide variety of ferns that tower in tunnels of lush green. The scatterings of lost relics of the Ochi Road cultural spots seem caught in time. Vendors and artisans still sell ‘sizable’ rastas, tropical patterned cloths and wooden art objects that take us back to slower travel times.
Palisadoes and back
Even in Kingston one can find a quick breather from city life. Driving to Norman Manley International Airport takes you along the warm breeze of the harbour seas. You perhaps don’t notice it if you live here. But this underrated view of Kingston sprawling out on the edge of the seas is the first sight visitors get after arrival. And what a sight it is! Park at a clearing and take a moment to look wide-eyed at the city we live in for the first time.
With the collapse of the Gordon Town road late last year, works have been underway to link Irish Town and Gordon Town with a shortcut for residents so they won’t have to skirt most of East Rural St. Andrew, Silver Hill and the like. This journey isn’t for the faint-hearted as the name suggests. There are steep inclines and many sharp curves, but the views are stunning. The rolling hills surround you at every turn, with the city beneath it all. The bamboo leans over to rustle gently in the always present breeze. This road may not make you feel at ease immediately but it definitely has beautiful moments.
Treasure Beach -Negril
If you ever need a reminder that you live on a beautiful island, roll your windows down and take this drive along the rugged Southern coastline. The sea will be lapping the sides of the shore the whole way and the reputation for good food spots at every corner will not disappoint. A truly beautiful reminder of the natural gem we circle daily.
Stony Hill to Annotto Bay
A spectacular mountain drive for the really adventurous. With the fulfilled promises of thick forestry and towering trees, it also offers wonderful glimpses of the Wag Water River in the valleys below. An optional stop at the Castleton Botanical Gardens should always be considered! You will find delicious soup and great tasting corn.