The fairest isle mine eyes ever beheld.
These were the words attributed to Christopher Columbus upon landing on Jamaica's shores in 1494. Over 500 years later there are many people that would still agree with the famous explorer. Jamaica's natural beauty and rich history have created one of the best places on Earth. Perfect beaches, lush green mountainsides, beautiful waterfalls, and one of the strongest cultures in the world can all be found if you get past the cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts. There may be more to experience in Jamaica, pound-for-pound, than anywhere else. Imagine if Columbus could see this island now.
Jamaica is arguably the most recognizable country of its size in the world. Musically, there is no equal. From the legendary stylings of Bob Marley to the modern dancehall and reggae scenes, Jamaicans have always provided the world with great music. In athletics, the fastest human being in history hails from Trelawny parish, and Jamaicans finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the 200m sprint at the 2012 Olympics. Jamaica is also one of the best cricket nations in the world and has one of the best players to date (Chris Gayle). In film, Cool Runnings, Pirates of the Caribbean and Shottas are just a few of the many to feature Jamaica as the setting. You can also find the food of the island worldwide, along with the quintessential ONE LOVE vibe. Not bad for a country of only 3 million people.
At TREE we aim to get past the tourist spots and get into the land. We get into the lush green forests and picturesque waterfalls that islanders have long cherished and most tourists miss out on. We seek out beaches away from the crowds and get to know to people of this great country. We will, however, still see a couple of the well-known tourists spots because some places are just too good to pass up. Your Jamaica experience with TREE will be a unique exploration of some of the most beautiful forests, beaches, waterfalls. and cultures in the Caribbean. Your participation will also help contribute to sustainability and conservation efforts on the island. Can't wait to experience Jamaica? Neither can we! It's impossible to get enough of the fairest isle in the world.
Highlights of TREE Jamaica Expeditions
- Hike the famous Blue Mountains and learn about protected area management
- Waterfalls, upon waterfalls, upon waterfalls in beautiful surroundings
- Go upriver on a bamboo raft with crocodiles lining the shores
- Hike through tropical rainforest and arrive at beaches where less tourists frequent
- Surf the east coast with locals
- Learn about the impacts of tourism and the promise of sustainable ecotourism
- Learn about the trees, animals, and ecological connections of Jamaica's flora and fauna
- Experience the real contemporary culture of the countryside and in the capital of Kingston, where the art scene is rapidly expanding and the music is as good as ever
- Enjoy jerk chicken, rice & peas, bammy bread, coco bread, festival, patties, peanut porridge, ackee and saltfish, bullas, and more
- Jump from the famous Rick's Cafe after relaxing on famous 7 Mile Beach
- Rountrip airfare (exclulding short trips)
- Airport pick-up, drop-off, and all in-country transportation
- All meals and snacks
- All excursions, park entry fees, and guide fees
- All necessary equipment for excursions
- Expert-led discussions on sustainability and conservation
- Participation in local initiatives
- Immersion in local culture
- Country orientation
What´s Not Included:
- Travel/medical insurance (necessary for participation)
- Alcoholic beverages (TREE policy prohibits alcoholic beverages for anybody under legal drinking age and/or on school-associated trips)
Sample Expedition Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Montego Bay and travel to Luminous Lagoon. Spend the night with locals in the hills of Lilliput and enjoy a nice home-cooked meal.
Day 2: Visit Dornoch River Head, Green Grotto Caves, or Island Gully Falls. Stay in Runaway Bay, in-between Usain Bolt's childhood home and Bob Marley's birthplace, or stay in Ocho Rios.
Day 3, 4, and 5: Arrive at the foothills of the Blue Mountains and get into the lush green mountainsides while learning about biodiversity, ecological connections, and conservation strategies. Stay at an eco-lodge tucked into the mountains. Visit Scatter Falls, Fox Caves, Blue Lagoon, and Reach Falls. Hike through the forest and spend some time on the less crowded east coast beaches. Spend some time at Boston Bay and try an afternoon of surfing or exploring the coastal forests.
Day 6: Travel to Kingston, the capital, and immerse in the center of Jamaican culture. Visit street art projects and learn about the connections between art, music, and the environment. Enjoy some of the best views and food Jamaica has to offer. Stay at RafJams, a family owned eco-lodge just outside of the city with stunning nature surrounding the property.
Day 7: Drive the long stretch between Kingston and St. Elizabeth Parish. Visit Breadnut Valley falls, one of the most spectacular and less known places on the island, and take a raft ride down the Black River with crocodiles never far out of sight.
Day 8: Spend the last full day relaxing on the famous 7 Mile Beach in Negril after a week of rainforest exploration. Finish off the trip with a visit to the equally famous Rick's Cafe and see if you have the courage to jump from the cafe into the sea - 11 meters below!
Day 9: Depart from Montego Bay