Top 10 Ways for Your Team to Enjoy the Water
When you Finish Lying on the Beach
Jamaica is the “land of wood and water”. Water. Splash in it. Play in it. Float on it. Take photos of it. Most of all, enjoy it, even when you’re away from the beach.
1. Catamarans & Other Ways to Float
You’ll witness a natural phenomenon that occurs at only 3 places in the world. The water in this phosphorescent lagoon glows at night. When the microscopic organisms that live where the fresh water and the Caribbean sea intersect are disturbed by boats or people swimming, they give off a luminescent glow.
35 min. boat tours are available every night. After your tour, relax and enjoy treats from the full-service bar and authentic Jamaican cuisine. Just looking at the photos made me hungry.
Near Ocho Rios
Reggae & soca music, dancing, a scrumptious Jamaican buffet, and spectacular views. Need I say more. I thoroughly enjoyed it and so will your team.
- Night on the White River
Torches and drums create an electrifying setting as you travel in canoes along The White River. Your destination is an open park with stage and a huge dance floor. You’ll savour the delights of delicious Jamaican cuisine as you enjoy a cultural show. Then, you’ll dance under the stars to the reggae beat. This is a spectacular and memorable crowd pleaser. I really had a great time.
Near Port Antonio
- Rio Grande
It’s said that the British movie star Errol Flynn, who settled in Port Antonio, was responsible for introducing pleasure rafting to Jamaica. He modified the rafts that were used to float bananas downstream to the boats for export by fitting them with a seat for 2. The rest is history.
Rafting is one of the most relaxing experiences that you can have on water. All you have to do is sit back, breathe and take in the scenery. Be sure to bring your camera and some extra money for cool, refreshing drinks and tasty snacks from the floating bars.
- Martha Brae
Martha Brae was settled by the Spanish and it survived the 1655 British invasion. If your hotel is near Falmouth or Montego Bay, you can go rafting on the Martha Brae. It’s a shorter excursion than rafting on the Rio Grande but closer to where most tourists stay. Also, some of the raft captains have a great sense of humour.
3. Horse Riding on the Beach
I’ve done it many times and there is nothing like it. The guides are very friendly supportive and helpful to ensure the comfort of first-time riders.
Near Ocho Rios
- Hooves (at Seville)
We’ve talked about Hooves before. Now, join Dry Land Tourist as she goes horse riding in the ocean. You’ll notice that even her friend who was nervous in the video I shared in Part 1 is relaxed and comfortable.
You can follow Dry Land Tourist on Twitter @drylandtourist and also check out her Facebook Fan Page.
Near Montego Bay
- Half Moon Equestrian Centre
When you stay at Half Moon on one of their all-inclusive plans, the beach rides on horseback and the dolphin experience are included. You can enjoy these experiences without leaving the property. This will help you manage your time, provide a varied itinerary, and meet the needs of members of your team who want to spend a lot of time relaxing on the beach.
I highly recommend that you consider staying at the Half Moon Club Resort, particularly the villas.
During a recent stay the Half Moon Club with a group, we were pampered in the Royal Villas.
We didn’t have a thing to worry about as the butler, housekeeper and cook took care of everything from preparing breakfast to laundry and ironing.
It was great to return home with a suitcase filled with clean and neatly folded clothes for a change.
This is definitely my favourite water pleasure in Jamaica. True to its name, there are numerous waterfalls on the island but I will highlight a few places where you can climb waterfalls and soak yourself under them.
Near Ocho Rios
When I was in Jamaica a few months ago, when the rest of the group was enjoying Dunn’s River Falls, I took the opportunity to head up to The Enchanted Gardens. I had heard rumours that it was re-opening and I wasn’t disappointed.
I mentioned The Enchanted Gardens in Part 1 but, since it’s my favourite place on the planet, I want to highlight the fact that it has too many meandering streams to count and 14 waterfalls in a lush tropical garden in the mountains.
Trivia: This one was named after Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones.
If you love water, step into this tropical fantasy where you can soak in it, splash in it and climb the Ooh falls.
- Dunn’s River Falls
I climbed Dunn’s River Falls 2 years ago from bottom to top with my mother who is over 70. This is Jamaica’s most well-known waterfall and one of its iconic attractions but it’s not the only waterfall to conquer in Jamaica.
Coyaba used to be a banana plantation. Now visitors can enjoy the Spanish architecture, breathtaking views of Ocho Rios, the Mahoe waterfalls, gardens, and a Museum of Island History focusing on the forgotten culture of the Taino, Jamaica’s first inhabitants.
In the following video, Dry Land Tourist visits Coyaba. Her guide is Rainford Thomas. He is extremely knowledgeable about Jamaican vegetation and how it has been used historically and today. I learned a lot.
Now join Jamaica’s Dry Land Tourist on a tour of the museum and for a refreshing time splashing in the Mahoe waterfalls at Coyaba Gardens & Museum.
Near Port Antonio
Reach Falls emerge from one of the most beautiful natural springs in Jamaica. They are stunning and definitely less commercial than Dunn’s River. We all know how development works worldwide so the time to visit them is now. With the new road that has been constructed joining Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Port Antonio, the trip is a lot shorter than it was previously.
Also, if you spend some time in Kingston, you can arrange to return via the North East corner of Jamaica and visit Reach Falls and many of the other attractions near Port Antonio. When I was a girl, my mother used to take my sister and me to visit her uncle who was living in Port Antonio. It’s a gorgeous part of Jamaica and well worth the trip. I highly recommend exploring it.
A 7 tiered cascading waterfall featuring canopy tour with ziplines that take you over the falls, river tubing, gardens, and natural spring ponds. You can get there easily from Negril.
- Mayfield Falls – website is down
5. Caves & Underground Springs
Explore this intricately woven network of stalagmites and stalactites as well as a subterranean lake at this site that was once a hideaway for runaway slaves and pirates. You’ll recognize it as the location of Kanaga’s Lair from the James Bond movie Live & Let Die.
6. Waterparks (Manmade & Natural)
A number of hotels have waterparks but I’ll focus only on a couple that are accessible to the public.
Near Ocho Rios
- Tubing on the White River
Speaking of the White River, during the day it becomes, nature’s water park. Enjoy.
At this 5 acre waterpark, enjoy 10 amazing water slides, 1/4 mile lazy river and the adjacent Kool Kanoe Swamp Adventure. Kool Runnings Water Park is bordered by the Great Morass, a magnificent wetland that is home to 300 species of plants and 900 species of animals. Your team will have an opportunity to get up close and personal with Jamaica’s indigenous species that make the Morass their home.
7. Playing with Dolphins
- Swimming with the Dolphins at Half Moon Club Resort
- Dolphin Cove
8. Mineral Baths & Healing Streams
- Rockport Mineral Bath
- Milk River Mineral Bath & Spa
The Milk River bath opened in 1794. Of all the mineral baths in the world, the Milk River Mineral Bath has the highest curative powers.
Near Port Antonio
- Bath Foundation Mineral Springs
It’s the second oldest mineral bath in the Western hemisphere.
9. Iron Chef Inspired Gourmet Cooking Challenge
You’ve seen it on TV. Now give your team a chance to try it.
In Jamaica, you can take advantage of the perpetual summer and try out your culinary skills in the garden area of a villa that’s right beside the beach.You’ll get 4 mystery ingredients and access to a pantry of local species. Our team got duck, ackee, and okra.
We had great fun and with excellent teamwork, top notch cleanliness, and seasoning to perfection. Even though our presentation sucked, our team definitely deserved the coveted title. The chefs even complimented me on my ackee. 🙂
Brian Martenis is dead wrong. His team wasn’t robbed.
The following restaurants feature gourmet cuisine and spectacular views of the water or waterfalls that come right into them. There is a garden above the falls where you can stroll before or after your meal and enjoy the view.
- The Ruins at the Falls (Closed at Present)
An open air restaurant in a picturesque rainforest setting that was once part of a sugar mill on a huge estate. You can stroll in the gardens above the waterfall before or after your meal. There are some wonderful photo stops.
- The Sugar Mill Restaurant (at Half Moon Club Resort)
Enjoy gourmet cuisine and elegant dining at this restaurant that has the original working water wheel that powered the stream on this mid-17th century, 50,000 acres Running Gut sugar plantation.
- Bellfield 1794 Restaurant & Greathouse
The restaurant is an old sugar mill on what used to be a sugar estate. Guests normally have cocktails in the waiting area before touring the greathouse situated on Barnett Estate. The dining room has a thatched roof and no walls.
Kingston – Gone but Not Forgotten
- The Mill Restaurant, Manor Park Plaza
When I was working in Kingston, I used to love this restaurant located at Manor Park Plaza that at the time was known as The Mill. I was disappointed when it closed down. It lives on in my memories. If anyone knows what’s standing there now, please add your comments. I’d love to know for old times sake.
Brawta: Dogsledding in Jamaica
Dogsledding is no longer available in Jamaica but it was great. There was no snow in sight and participants were on dry land but, in Jamaica.
Yes, as featured in the movie Sun Dogs, there really was a Jamaican Dogsled Team. Here is how it got started.
Fitting it all in
So, you CAN have fun in Jamaica when you’re finished lying on the beach and there really is something for everyone.
Don’t let the variety of things to do overwhelm you. You can’t possibly fit it all into 1 trip. So when your trip is over, remember to “make it Jamaica again”. Here is how you can fit in some of the attractions we’ve been describing and still leave time for relaxation:
- Day 1: Arrive early, spend most of the day relaxing but try to explore Outameni.
If you’re heading to Ocho Rios, make it a rest stop on the way from the airport.
- Day 2: Fit in a Water Adventure & a Historical site
Relax in the Afternoon
- Day 3: Leave early to explore Kingston & stay overnight
- Day 4: Fit in a Mountain Adventure on your way back to the hotel
- Day 5: Relax, shop and head home late in the evening
If your stay is shorter, then save some activities for your next trip to Jamaica.
In Part 1 of Jamaica Incentive Travel, we discussed the fact that water is 1 of 2 essential elements in Jamaica’s name (meaning “land of wood and water”). We focused on exploring “wood” in all its forms from mountains to rainforest:
In Part 2, I’ll share a number of ways for your team to explore water. I’ve broken it down so that you can find something of interest that is close to where you are planning to stay.
Let Executive Oasis International Plan Your Executive Retreat in Jamaica
Executive Oasis International would be pleased to build a customized agenda for you based on your interests. We’ll be sure to give your group some down time to experience some of the attractions we’ve described.
- Island Survival: Marooned on Horseback in Jamaica’s Cockpit Country
An adventure that we offer with or without equestrian activities
- In the Footsteps of James Bond
Explore the places in Jamaica where some of the most memorable scenes in the James Bond movies were filmed including Kanaga’s Lair in Live and Let Die and the place where James Bond walked on the back of the crocodiles. This New York Times video gives you a glimpse of just a few of the locations you’ll visit. I wonder if they got the idea for this piece from me. On the Trail of James Bond’s Jamaica [New York Times Video]