Jamaica is known worldwide for its white sandy beaches, however, there’s more. Not only… but also it’s known for delicious cuisines, culture, historic sites, and much more.
In addition to this, expect breathtaking sunset views, lush tropical landscapes, and even natural attractions like the Roaring River Cave and Nature Park in Shrewsbury, Petersfield.
Roaring River Park is a heritage and nature park located near the Petersfield community. The river travels underground from the mountains, before appearing in the park, a section known as “The Head“.
The park’s main attraction is the Roaring River Cave. This natural attraction features a series of limestone caverns and a natural mineral spring where visitors can swim.
A local community group, with the assistance of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDco), manages the attraction. Daily guided tours are offered for a contribution of $15USD.
History of the park dates back many centuries, as a result, the cave gives a glimpse of Jamaica’s history. For instance, tales of elders suggest the cave was once a place where slaves sought refuge.
Experts believe the water travels hundreds… if not thousands; of miles underground. Cascading glistening natural quartz stones, thus, giving the water healing properties.
There is no scientific research on this claim, however, a quick dip might have you believe this local myth. To put it differently, it’s an awesome and refreshing feeling.
This is a tour ideal for nature lovers, if you are thrill seeker consider not doing this, as you will have a bad experience.
ROARING RIVER HISTORY OVERVIEW
Roaring River Nature Park is on-site of the Roaring River Estate, a 17th-century slavery plantation.
Owned by Colonel Peter Beckford, horse trader and Lieutenant-General of Jamaica in 1702 and William Beckford, a writer, and sugarcane farmer.
Peter Beckford emigrated to Jamaica in 1662. He became active in island politics and served as the first Custos of Kingston. He died some fifty-odd years later when he intervened in a riot in the Jamaica House of Assembly.
Historic data states the Roaring River Estate was one of the largest sugarcane plantations in the colony, as a result, much of his success came from profits generated by the estate.
During the 18th century, injured slaves would escape to the underground caverns at night seeking the mineral springs, in the hope that, its properties would heal injuries.
The plantation is geographically located in the Georges Plain area of Westmoreland. A fertile area for sugarcane growth, because of the natural irrigation provided by the Roaring River.
Peter Beckwith, a plantation owner control most of this fertile area as well as influence in the Parish. In the long run, the town got its name after him.
THE RIVER AND GARDEN TOUR
One of the first experiences of the Nature tour is the Blue Hole. A mineral-filled pool that looks very inviting. Yes! as the photo illustrates it’s actual naturally “Blue”.
The tour takes you through the community, learn about the numerous plants in the garden and hike the nature trail to where the river emerges from underground.
Go off the beaten path on a nature trail. You will see an abundance of fruits, and vegetables. At the end of the trail is the source (The Head) of all three springs. Fresh and pure out of the rocks, untouched from under the earth.
There are many inviting pools along the hike, if you wish to take a dip, your guide will tell you where is the ideal spot to swim.
THE ROARING RIVER CAVE TOUR
Once you’ve seen the river and park, its time to explore the underground cathedral-like caverns.
A footpath that leads to steps takes you to the entrance with a green iron gate. The gate is closed each night to stop visitors from entering without a guide since it would be dangerous to an outsider.
The cave descends some 21 meters (69 feet) underground. Once you enter, the guide tells you “eyes down and keep to the left”.
After descending the stairs, you will realize that the caverns are quite larger than you expected. There is a small amount of electric light placed strategically out of sight for an ambient glow.
At first, it will be pitch black. However, once your eyes have adjusted to the dark everything is more visible.
Your guide will direct you to the impressive array of the natural formation of rocks. There are icicle-shaped formations hanging from the ceiling of the cave, produced by precipitation over time.
There are several rocks, according to the guide, are natural formations that look like animals, and other objects.
During the tour, you will be taken to different rooms. These include the “prayer room”, “meditation room”, which the guide suggests people who lost their memory can regain it in this room.
Most guides are careful enough to tell you when to bend, stand still, or hold on to the railings, so you don’t fall.
Underground Healing Water
After walking underground for a while, you’ll come upon a river running through the cave. This river is claimed to be, and the guide will also tell you, healing water. Feel free to take a quick dip, or wash your face.
The river runs to a section of the cave, in which the guide claim to be “bottomless”. He even attests to seeing international divers attempting to reach the bottom, with no avail.
A Quick Limestone Massage
If you are lucky, you might just be able to get a rejuvenating limestone massage. A local massage therapist and herbal healer normally offer massages on the tour.
Limestone deposits are used to rub into the skin. According to our guide, it rejuvenates the skin. Afterward, you can wash off in the “healing water”.
WHERE IS ROARING RIVER PARK LOCATED IN JAMAICA?
Roaring River Park is located approximately 24.4km (15.16 miles) northeast of Savanna-la-mar (Coordinates: 18°17′06″N 78°03′17″W ).
Roaring River Pricing & Contact Information:
- Telephone: (876) 648 – 6401 / (876) 848-7766
- E-mail: None
- Operating Hours: 8am – 5pm
- Tour Duration: 45 minutes
- Price: $15USD per person ($1500 Jamaican) (Adults)
- $8USD per person ($800 Jamaican) – (Children)
- (Citizen price: $500 Jamaican)
Getting to Roaring River is an adventurous journey by itself, in other words, expect to commute on dirt roads, passing sugarcane fields, and rural communities. You’ll get a glimpse of everyday Jamaican life, expect to see a lot of smiling faces and friendly waves.
HOW TO GET TO ROARING RIVER FROM:
Equally important, your journey may be longer depending on which resort you are staying in the town.
- Negril: 1 Hr (40km)
- Montego Bay: 1 Hr & 10 minutes (47.1km)
- Bloody Bay: 1 Hr & 10 minutes (47km)
- Ocho Rios: 2 Hrs & 43 minutes (143km)
- Falmouth Cruise Ship Port: 1 Hr & 40 minutes (76.4km)
RASTA SAFARI EXPERIENCE AT ROARING RIVER
Alternatively, there’s another option to experience Roaring River. Even though it’s not apart of the park’s normal tours, this is an exciting way to explore.
The Rasta Safari Experience offers a unique and adventurous way to explore the roaring river community. In this case, you will get to explore the countryside on an ATV tour.
This tour takes you through rural Jamaica, riding an all-terrain vehicle. In this case, ATVs give access to rugged country roads.
Learn about rural communities from your local guide, meet the people, sample fruits, while passing scenic mountains, farms, rivers, and rain forests.
Rasta Safari Experience Tour Details:
- Contact Information:
- Telephone: 876-822-5333
- E-mail: Not Available
- Tour Information:
- Duration: 3 hours
- Included: Lunch, Bottled Water, Guide, ATV helmet, Hotel Pickup
- Price: $163
WHAT TO BRING:
Bringing a few essentials will make a better experience, so, here are a few recommendations.
- Comfortable/Hiking Boots:
- Water shoes: *if you will be swimming*
In conclusion, the Rasta Safari experience transformed a boring nature trail into a more exciting and adventurous one. In general, it is a truly rugged, outdoor Jamaican experience.