Our trip to the Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival gave us an excellent reason to spend some time on the North Coast and East End of Jamaica. We spent nearly a week on the road and we had a blast in doing so. We got to see some parts of the North Coast of Jamaica that we have never been to and also as far as Port Antonio where I have not been in some time. The Fat Tire Festival was schedule to begin on Feb 5th and we of course had plans to go the Bob Marley Birthday Bash at MXIII which turned out to be a huge disappointment. I am certain I would have much rather taken the time and either gone to 9 Mile for the real birthday celebration or gone riding with the SMORBA crew but I did not.
We took off early in the day on Thursday Feb 7th but were forced to spend a half day in Mobay as we had the brakes on the Vanette repaired. Thats another story there but we’ll skip it for now. Suffice it to say you should plan everything in Jamaica and if you give even a hint that you are in a rush or stuck without their help most Jamaican businesses will take advantage of you. I paid a premium to have my brakes repaired while we waited but they work great now. We rolled into Ocho Rios later in the day and I as unable to make the ride for that day. We ended up going to Cranbrook Flower Forest on the first day and had dinner at Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville on the first evening. We spent our first evening at Circle B Farm which is a super cool place to stay just outside of Ocho Rios in Priory. Look for my upcoming review of Circle B Farm if you are looking for inexpensive accommodations near Ocho Rios and want to spend a morning hiking around a beautiful Jamaica Plantation.
Our 2nd day in Ocho Rios was supposed to be spent at the White River Valley for some river tubing but when we arrived I was notified that the youngest riders age was 6 and Robby our 3 year old son was not allowed to float down the river in a tube with us no matter that I had life jackets for everyone so we were forced to bail on that and ended up going to Dunns Rivers Falls instead. We had much fun here and ended up spending most of the day running up and down the falls and swimming the reefs off the beach below. A blog post about Dunns Rivers is on the way. We liked Circle B so much we spent the 2nd night here as well.
Our 3rd day was spent at the Bicycle Bash in Oracabessa which is featured in the previous post. We had lots of fun at the Bicycle Bash and I realy do like the surrounding area. Oracabessa is another one of those quiet Jamaican fishing villages with nothing more than a few small shops and a few fancy resorts like GoldenEye and James Bond Beach. The area was made famous as the home of Ian Fleming while he wrote a majority of the James Bond books and thats their only claim to fame besides one of the best venues in the world for a concert at James Bond Beach. While in Oracabessa we spent two nights with Domenica at her home Nix Nax Resorts where she also has a school the Rainbow Isle of Light is a basic school offering local children a chance for a decent eduction. It’s a laid back hippie commune in many ways and one of the more popular places to stay in the area. I was told by a local Jamaican that if they ever see a white couple walking the beaches of Oracabessa they most likely stay at Nix Nax with Domenica.
I did take the time to head over to Robins Bay so we could see some things I was interested in. We stopped in at Green Castle Estate and Strawberry Fields to meet with the owners and talk about their properties. I was intrigued by what I read about Green Castle and I wanted to know more about their sustainable development plans for the 1600 acre plantation which dates back over 100 years. Another blog post about Green Castle should be up next week. On our way to Green Castle we stopped in at Strawberry Fields to visit with property owner Kim Chase to discuss her plans for a Strawberry Fields Reunion concert to be announced at some time in 2008. Here place is fabulous and it shot straight to the top of one of my fav places in Jamaica. The location is simply phenomenal and the property is nothing more than breath taking. The natural beauty of these two coves and private beaches is unmatched by any other property I have visited yet. The facility is laid out to perfection with beautiful little beach side cottages each with their own undisturbed view of the Carribean Sea and include some nicer upscale rooms as well as a full restaurant and bar for entertaining a few dozen friends and family.
After the bike riding and touring of the East coast we decided to move on towards home and we headed out for Duncans Bay where we spent two nights with Cher from Jamaica Jewel as we helped her with her new website and blog. Cher has a beautiful little spot just across from the beach at Duncans bay and offers apartments for rent in Trelawny at affordable rates. We toured the area and visited places like the Arawak Cave and Glistening Waters but we did not take the boat ride with Glistening Waters.
I think at that point in our trip we were overloaded by all we had done and we just did not need another trip on a boat at that time. We are going to have to go back soon to catch all the things we missed but I can say we certainly did a lot in our trip to Ochi last week. Look for a series of articles over the next week or so about things to do and places to visit on the North Coast and Ocho Rios.
When the time came to head back to Negril from Duncans Bay I decided that rather than ride through Mobay and Lucea as we usually do we would cut south at Mobay on the B2 highway and visit some places along the way. We stopped in at Rocklands Bird Sanctuary and had one of my best wildlife encounters in Jamaica to this date. It was simply to cool to hand feed the doctor birds at this bird feeding station and having a hummingbird land on your finder and sip sugar water from a bottle in your hand was one of the highlights of my trip thus far. I simple adore nature and the natural beauty of this country and Rocklands Bird Sanctuary has all of Jamaicas beauty right there in one place. They have a beautiful collection of rare and exotic flowers and during the peak of feeding times there hundreds of birds flying about feeding on the sugar and feed left by caretakers for the past 50 years. Yes, I have a blog post coming soon with some video from Rocklands Bird Sanctuary.
There is so much to do i the Ochi area that it would take us weeks to cover it all and a fortune to do so. We’ll bring you more about Ocho Rios in follow up posts about area attractions and resorts.Tags: 2008, bob marley, bob marley birthday bash, circle b, circle b farm, cranbrook, flowers, green castle, Jamaica, negril, ochi, ochi tour, ochi tour company, Ocho Rios, ocho rios day trip, ocho rios tours, re, resorts, rooms, smorba