Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae
Martha Brae - Trelawny parish, close to Falmouth
One of the most tranquil experiences in Trelawny Parish is taking a bamboo rafting trip down the Martha Brae River. Slow trips down a three mile stretch of the Martha Brae River depart all day. There are around 80 qualified rafting guides working at Martha Brae so there is always a guide ready and waiting for you whenever you are ready for your trip.
Trips begin at the village of Martha Brae and end three miles downstream at Martha's Rest, the trips are generally run at a very relaxed pace and take about 1 hour to ninety minutes. On your way you'll pass through dense jungle with trees bearing famous Jamaican fruits such as ackee, breadfruit and calabash. Most of the rafters are also skilled craftsmen and will offer to sell you carvings from their backpack as a souvenir of your trip.
Martha Brae village is a 6 acre horseshoe-shaped island. The village has been set up as the entrance to the Martha Brae rafting experience and features a bar, two gift shops, pool, gardens, picnic area and a herb garden named "Martha's Herb Garden" which displays local Jamaican herbs and gives information about the healing properties. This is a relaxing environment and a great place to stop and unwind before your rafting trip. The trip ends at Martha's Rest where the trucks are waiting to carry the bamboo rafts back up to Martha Brae. If you leave your car at Martha Brae then the truck drivers can give you a lift back to collect it.
The source of the Martha Brae River is at Windsor, deep in the Cockpit Country and the river enters the sea at Rock, a small community outside of Falmouth which is home to the boutique resort of Time 'n' Place. The name, Martha Brae, is a corruption of the Spanish name for the river, the Rio Mateberion. An alternative history of the name is that it comes from the legend of Martha Brae, a Taino witch who was tortured by Spanish settlers until she divulged the location of a stash of gold hidden in a cave along the path of the river. After divulging the location of the gold she changed the course of the river, killing the Spanish and blocking up the cave, where the gold is hidden to this day.
During the plantation era the river was used as a vital artery, connecting the sugar estates in Trelawny to the port town of Falmouth. Bamboo rafts were used to float sugar and other crops to the harbour before being loaded on to ships bound for Europe.© 2011 Jamaica Travel and Culture .com