On our soft adventure tour of Jamaica – our journey took us from Kingston to Port Antonio to Ocho Rios to Montego Bay to Negril and back to Kingston.

Day one – Imagine barreling down a sparsely used country road on a mountain bike through the Grand Rio Valley of Jamaica’ Blue Mountain range. The coordinator of our tour arranged for us to join a group organized by Blue Mountain Bike Tours. After serving us breakfast, the trip leader assigned us to van and drove us into the Blue Mountains, unloaded and parceled out the bikes and helmets and away we went, coasting through lushly covered hillsides, past pristine streams, waterfalls, misty slopes, a wide variety of Jamaican birds and wildflowers, through local villages and the welcoming waves of the residents.

About half way through our 10 mile journey, we stopped at a coffee plantation where we got a primer on the cultivation and processing of the world renowned Blue Mountain coffee bean as well as a chance to check out their tasting bar. The trip was crowned with a river swim under and around a gorgeous pristine cascading waterfall. What a refreshing and invigorating conclusion to our hardy biking excursion.

One part of the trip that had been planned but time did not permit us to experience was the bareback horseback riding in the sea. That really looked like so much fun and its something I look forward to experience on my return trip.

Day two and three. After scaling Dunn’s River Falls in the Ochos Rio section of Jamaica, imagine the thrill of zooming through the rainforest on a zipline or bobsled. I got a chance to try both of them at Jamaica’s Mystic Mountain Resort Center and they were a blast. Then we went swimming with dolphins and sharks at Dolphin Cove Park located in Treasure Reef

Day Four –  Near Montego Bay, we went tube rafting down the picturesque Martha Brea River. This outing was orchestrated by the Chukka Adventure Center, which also offers a wide variety of soft adventure options such as ziplining, dune buggy rides and kayaking at their Falmouth facility which is located on The Good Hope Estate, a 2,000 acre former plantation and their operation was smoothly run by smart and gracious staff members. After our water tubing safari, we were loaded onto an open-air jitney and were driven up to the “Great House,” the palatial hillside home of the plantation’s former owner, John Tharpe, which was built in 1700’s and recently restored in its entirety, replete with paintings, period furniture and antiques. After our tour of the home and lush surrounding we were served scrumptious gourmet meal on one of the patios.  How ironic, for the sons and daughters of former slaves to find ourselves dining in elegance, on the estate of a former slave owner and operator of Jamaica’s largest plantation.

Days five and six – Negril – where we jumped off the cliff near Rick’s Café and took a yoga class and had dinner at Jackies by the Reef. We traipsed around her spacious and serene compound in search of perfect Kodak moments and many were easily found in her beachside sculpture garden, saltwater pool, meditation center, octagon yurt and bee farm.

Then finally traveled back to Kingston to fly home.

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