When I imagine Jamaica, I think of people going there to lay around on the beaches. While I love being outdoors, I get bored quick at beaches (unless there’s beer available!). When I saw a chance to go river rafting down the Martha Bae in Jamaica, I knew that was my activity.
In Ocho Rios, I got picked up by a bus driver who was exactly what I pictured Jamaicans to be like (which was loosely based off the characters in the movie “Cool Runnings”). She was nice, funny, and remembered every single person’s name on the bus. The hospitality of every Jamaican I encountered on my trip was incredible. I’d never felt so welcomed to a country before and wanted to come back before I’d even left.
We wound our way up the road from Ocho Rios to the Martha Brae River. Our host told us about the history of Jamaica, including the area we were in. About 45 minutes later, we were at the river. Everyone was given a cup of punch to refresh ourselves before we got on the river. We got to interact with the locals selling jewelry and clothing. Another man provided entertainment with his guitar while singing along to popular Jamaican songs.
After that, we headed down to the river where two of us would get on a raft at a time. These were no ordinary rafts – they were made completely out of bamboo! I knew that material was strong, but had no idea they could make it into a raft. There was a little seat where we could sit without getting wet while the driver navigated us through the river.
The river was really slow moving, so the ride was extremely relaxing. As we went down the river, bamboo trees were everywhere on either side of the banks. It made sense now where they got all the bamboo from for the trees. Our guide told us that they last for quite awhile, and when they get old the material starts to absorb the water, so they retire the raft.
Once we got further down the river, locals were on the side of the river selling food, beverages, and souvenirs. It was like a little river market! We wanted coconut water, so our driver pulled over to a lady who took a whole coconut, sliced it open, and put a straw in it. That was the freshest coconut water I’ve ever tasted.
I love beer and particularly love a good Red Stripe beer on a hot day (which is from Jamaica). When I saw they had that, I knew I had to get one. We pulled over again to get the beer from a local and once again were on our way. I normally love adventure activities, but I really enjoyed how relaxing this was. How can you complain if you’re on a river with fresh coconut water and a beer?
While I’d love to explore more of the outdoor activities in Jamaica, this was the perfect activity to do at the end of a busy trip. My time was short here since I was with Princess Cruises, but I plan to come back to discover more of this beautiful country!
This post was sponsored by Princess Cruises, but all opinions are my own.
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