Jamaican tourism is built on pristine beaches, all-inclusive resorts, waterfalls and reggae music. But if you want to get to know a bit more about Jamaica’s culture you should endeavor off the beaten path to the parish on the Southwestern coast of Jamaica, St. Elizabeth. St. Elizabeth is one of the more laid back parishes on the island, with peaceful beaches, waterfalls, fishing villages, cliffs, lush vegetations and untouched countrysides.
Heres a list of some of the best parts of St. Elizabeth that will make you want to spend a long weekend in the “Breadbasket Parish” on your next trip to Jamaica.
Floyds Pelican Bar
Located just off a town called Parottee near Treasure Beach and Black River, a thatched roof bar built on a shoal about 4 miles into the sea, owned by local fisherman from the fishing village of Parottee. Visitors get to the bar by a 20-minute boat ride from veteran boatman Bernard, the pelican bar is the ideal spot to chill and watch the sunset with a Red Stripe, go snorkeling or simply enjoy the 360-degree view. Bask in the miles of the sun-baked beachfront and seaside homes during the ride to and from Pelican Bar.
Though not the most popular, YS Falls is considered by many visitors to be the most breathtaking waterfall. YS Falls is a seven-tiered waterfall separated by freshwater pools ideal for swimming. The water cascades 120 feet over towering limestone rocks surrounded by lush foliage. YS Fall is located in a valley on a private property but is open to the public for a fee. The property was once a sugarcane plantation, and visitors get to the falls area on a 10-minute tractor ride and a wooden walkway takes you to the top where you get to enjoy spectacular views or a canopy ride to the base. At the base, there is a playground and picnic tables amid tropical gardens and trees. Lifeguards are on duty and visitors receive safety instructions and are harnessed in and ushered by guides. Accompanied tube rides on the river are also available.
The best location to base your visit is east of the Capital City Black River, where the coastline is ornamented with small bays. The center of this beach town is the four-mile stretch of fishing coves along Frenchman’s Bay, Calabash Bay, and Billy’s Bay, popularly known as Treasure Beach, which is more of a region than a village. You won't find large hotels and nightclubs here, but this is the ideal destination if you are looking for a relaxed and authentic vacation experience. The bay areas provide strong currents perfect for surfing. You can take a gentle hike along the footpaths, the town also has a lot of bars and restaurants serving up authentic Jamaican food. The town is also very close to Floyd’s Pelican Bar if you are down for some adventure. Calabash Bay is another one of the more prominent beaches in the area. Locates in a secluded cove, it is perfect for swimming sunbathing and even fishing as well. Further along from Calabash Bay is the Old Wharf. The most private of the four beaches in the area. Be sure to bring your sandals or water shoes as the darker sand in this area gets really hot in the afternoon sun.
Alligator Pond is a small fishing village on the southwestern coast of St. Elizabeth and got its name from the Don Figuerero Mountain range viewed from the beach, which some locals say resembles bumps on an alligator’s back. Technically it is located in the Parish of Manchester but it is right on the border of St. Elizabeth. The fisherman in Alligator Pond catches some of the best fish on the Island, along with conch, oyster, lobsters, shrimp and more. Hut-like bookshops and bars border the sand but Alligator Pond is mostly known for the very popular Little Ochi Seafood Restaurant. Here you can select the fish that you want from their aquarium and how you would like it to be prepared and relax at your table in a bungalow and your meal will be served, freshly cooked. Alligator Pond is also home to an annual Seafood Festival — an ideal event for seafood enthusiasts.
Appleton Estate Rum Tour
Appleton Estate has been blending rum in Jamaica since 1749 (The Oldest In Jamaica) and is situated in the Nassau Valley, between the Nassau Mountains and the Cockpit Country. The rums bear the name of the Estate which is now owned by J. Wray & Nephew, Jamaica’s largest producers of rum. Visitors get a tour of their time-honored manufacturing and bottling process, after which they will be treated to complimentary samples of cane juice, wine, and all types of flavored rum they produce. The tour is available from Monday - Tuesday.