Jamaica river rafting is yet another way for exploring Jamaica’s interior. It also is the most relaxing way to travel, lounging down the Martha Brae on a stable 30-foot long bamboo raft as the river bank slips quietly by.
The launching point for the Martha Brae, only about 3 miles from Falmouth, is the “Rafter’s Village,” a full recreational facility with bar, swimming pool and restrooms. Dress code is casual: t-shirts, shorts, sneakers or sandals and a swimsuit if you want to jump in. Use sunblock and consider wearing a hat.
Board the bamboo raft from a concrete pier as a guide brings it alongside. A quick shove off and the 3-mile, 1-hour float begins. The river guide does not stay at the back and pole but stands near the front of the raft. Only from this position can he maneuver the raft and push it past obstacles including tree branches and rocks. Depending on conditions, he may seem to whirl the long bamboo pole from side to side as easily as a majorette’s baton.
Along the way, gliding past the trees and bushes lining the river bank, the guide usually explains the various types of vegetation. And he surely will tell the tale of the Arawak witch, Martha Brae, for whom the river is named.
The speed of the river current determines the speed and duration of the trip. In fast water, after heavy rain, the trip could last less than an hour. The river ride ends at a place called “Martha’s Rest,” where your ride should be waiting.