In the beautiful parish of Portland, meanders the vast, choppy waters of the Rio Grande. The River got its name when the Spanish occupied Jamaica in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is one of the largest rivers in Jamaica at 3,034 km, and was named "Big River" (Rio Grande) by the Spanish. Today, it is one of the many tourist attractions in Port Antonio, mainly for rafting. This activity rounds out your bucket list as an experience like no other!
Rio Grande River Rafting began out of necessity, where bamboo rafts were originally used to transport produce, especially bananas from the interior of the parish to the coast for export. The famous 1950’s actor, Errol Flynn popularized bamboo rafting for fun, and soon it become one of the major attractions of Port Antonio to date. Today, Rio Grande River Rafting is one of the most popular attractions for visitors to Jamaica and Jamaicans alike.
Available 7 days a week, each raft carries two adults and one small child. You can even personalize your tour, with the addition of a lunch stop or break for swimming, simply by asking your raft captain. The tour begins with a 45-minute scenic drive from your Port Antonio area hotel, where your driver true to the tour guide that he is, will point out local points of interest along the way. Your driver will deliver you to your highly skilled and licensed Raft Captain, then wait for your arrival to “Rafters Rest” after your 2 - 3 hour excursion.
Your Captain will pole you down the river while you relax and absorb the beauty and allure of this lifeline to Port Antonio. On the raft, you lazily make your way through a lush valley, with wildlife on either side peeping out to say hello. The view was intoxicating and immensely relaxing as the beauty and allure of the glorious Rio Grande unfolds.
An intriguing sight to see is arguably the best spot to have lunch during the rafting tour at Melinda's. She treks down the mountain for over an hour daily to set up her fires and cook dishes on the side of the river at a stop about half way through the trip. Her curry goat, chicken stew, rice and beans, plantain, cassava and bammy are all delicious. Your knowledgeable raft captain will tell you about the area, the various plants and their uses, the history of the people and much more.
Giving an immersive look at Jamaica’s natural beauty and providing an ultra-relaxing afternoon, rafting on the Rio Grande is the ideal ‘all right’ experience.