48 Hours in St. Elizabeth w/ @travelwithtoniann
St. Elizabeth is one of those untouched parishes that has its distinct taste. Though not considered a popular tourist destination, St. Elizabeth has some unique excursions that you won’t find anywhere else. This slowly placed parish is renowned for its vegetation, rivers, and natural resources. The one thing that any Jamaican can say St. Elizabeth is known for, is its famous peppered shrimp. I took a two-day excursion to the parish to discover the best of St. Elizabeth. Here is my entire itinerary.
I headed out from Kingston at about 6:30 am, taking the toll road, which cost around JMD$650. It’s an easy straight journey with the help of Google Maps.
Breakfast at Melrose Yam Park
I stopped for breakfast at Melrose Yam Park, located at the halfway point of Manchester. Melrose Yam Park is famous for selling the best roast yam in Jamaica. I had roast yam and ackee and saltfish. Please be prepared for this heavy breakfast, it’s no joke! If you don’t eat ackee or yam, you can get roast potato or saltfish.
You can sit at the designated seated area and enjoy your food; it has a scenic view. There is also a bathroom facility.
Stop at the Iconic Holland Bamboo
This iconic area, also known as Bamboo Avenue, is the most photographed spot. A few vendors there, sell coconut water, peanuts, or snacks. This lovely stretch of the bamboo pathway is 4 kilometres long and is a heritage site. It was planted by the owners of Holland Estate and dates to the mid-1700s. Make sure to take your photos capturing the lovely bamboo in the background.
Visit the YS Falls
I arrived at the YS Falls around 10:30 am. Parking is available at no extra cost. The property has a lot of green areas for you to walk around and enjoy the scenic views. There are several picnic tables around the area, perfect for a picnic. I walked around the property taking lots of photos of the beautiful scenery. There are seven falls in total, which you can climb, with the assistance of guides, who also doubles as your photographer. I climbed to the highest point, where I swung off the makeshift rope into the natural pool. Other parts of the property include two medium-sized children’s friendly pools. You can do other activities on the property, including zip-lining across the scenic falls.
On property, there is a main bathroom and changing area. There are also lockers to store your extra load for a cost. The property also has a gift shop to purchase souvenirs. There is no need to worry about food, as there is food for sale on the property.
If you are a nature lover, you would truly appreciate this place!
Location: YS Falls, St Elizabeth
Hours: 9.30am – 3.30pm – Closed: Mondays & Public Holidays
Phone: (876) 997-6360
Cost: Jamaican residents with valid ID: Adults JMD$1750 • Children: JMD$1000
Non-residents: Adults USD$20 • Children: USD$12
Things to note: Carry your camera, sunscreen, and water shoe (for climbing the falls). Be mindful of the time of year to go, as the rainy season can make the water brown. Get there early to get some nice shots and to avoid the crowd.
Visit J Charles Swaby Black River Safari
Who would think you would find a safari in Jamaica? If you are interested in wildlife and seeing exotic fauna, then this is the excursion for you. The Black River safari has been in Jamaica for over 30 years, it is one of the most unique excursions in St. Elizabeth. The tour runs every hour, so be sure to call and make reservations before you get there.
You will board the boat that will take you along the wetlands for adventurous sightseeing. See the river’s inhabitants, such as crocodiles, birds, and mangroves. The captain, who is also the guide, will give you useful information about the area. The boat occasionally stops for you to take photos. The tour ends with visiting the crocodile sanctuary.
Location: 1 Crane Road Black River St. Elizabeth
Hours: Mondays-Sundays: 9am. • 11am • 12.30pm • 2pm. • 3.30pm • Phone: (876) 965-2513
Cost: Jamaican residents with valid ID: JMD$2000 • Children: JMD$1000 (3-11 years)
Non-residents: Adults JMD$3300 • Children: JMD$1800
Stop for food at Border St. Elizabeth
After a long day, we decided to stop at a place called “Border” for some traditional fried fish and bammy. It is a street food vibe, with a lot of vendors selling their food. You can also get soup and shrimp if you wish. It is one of the main food stops for those heading to Negril. There is a small area to sit down and eat by the fishing village if you have the time.
Overnight at Lashings Boutique Hotel
I decided to overnight at Lashings, as I love small boutique hotels. This hotel has 11 rooms with a large restaurant, an entertainment area with amazing views, and a play area for children. Lashing’s décor has a rustic laid back vibe. Nostalgic photos with a mix of modern art pieces are tastefully displayed around the hotel.
The small, air-conditioned rooms have the necessities of the TV with cable. The bathrooms are large with a big walk-in shower. What was impressive was the lovely view from the rooms.
Things to note: Please do not use Google Maps, as the location was completely wrong. Here is a link on how to get there.
This is not an all-inclusive hotel, but there is a restaurant on the property to purchase food, or you can visit other restaurants in the area.
Room Bookings: +1 876 512 4476 | +1 876 903 6369 • For reservations: email@example.com
Take a tour at the Appleton Rum Estate
Day two of my adventure in St. Elizabeth took me to two more spots. First, I ventured off to the Appleton Estate Rum Tour, approximately 50 minutes from Lashings. The tour is about one hour and 30 minutes long. When you get there, you are greeted with a complimentary cocktail to start. There is a 15-minute video presentation highlighting the history of rum in Jamaica. What I appreciated about this tour, is that I got to learn about the process of rum-making in Jamaica. I had the opportunity to see a rum distillery for the very first time. The tour would not be complete without a proper rum tasting, sampling the old-aged Appleton rum.
After the tour, I had lunch on the property, and you can also purchase souvenirs at the gift shop.
If you are a rum fan, then this is the tour for you.
Location: Siloah P.O Appleton Estate
Hours: 9 am – 3 pm – Thursdays – Saturdays
Phone: (876) 850-0090 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: https://appletonestate.com/
Things to note: This is an adult-only tour, you must be 18 years or older to participate in tasting or alcohol consumption. Carry your camera, tours run every hour and a half. Call and book before you head there.
Escape to Floyd’s Pelican Bar
The one thing you must put on your bucket list if you visit St. Elizabeth is visiting Pelican Bar. This was my second time here, and I must say it was worth it. The bar is in the middle of the sea, conveniently located in shallow water to take a swim. It’s a great hangout spot to chill, drink and eat some good food.
To get to Pelican Bar, you must board a boat at Treasure Beach, it’s about a 20-minute boat ride to get to the bar. Once there, you will most likely see the owner Floyd playing dominos. The thatched bar is decorated with memorabilia from around the world, it makes a great backdrop for taking photos, so make sure to capture that perfect shot. A little souvenir section is set up for you to purchase items. I highly recommend this excursion.
Discover the best of St. Elizabeth, and you won’t be disappointed at what this parish has to offer.
Toni-Ann is a Jamaican content creator, travel junkie, photographer, and coffee-lover. Check out her Instagram here.