When in Trelawny, Jamaica, ?
September 25, 2008 1:50 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any insight into the township of Brampton, in the Trelawney Parish district of Jamaica? Beginning Friday, I'm spending the next 10 days there.

On Friday, I fly from Miami to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where I am being met by friends to drive me to Brampton for the purpose of installing the local primary school's first-ever computers and internet. This is my first visit to the island of Jamaica.

Brampton is an hour or so from the coast as I understand, and I am told I should make a point to visit Negril, as well as the Windor caves. I know that recent Olympian superhero Usain Bolt is from Trelawny, and I hear there are vegetarian and fish delicacies to be enjoyed, as well as excellent fresh water streams.

Any other suggestions, recommendations, or helpful tips?
posted by humannaire to Travel & Transportation around Jamaica (4 answers total)
Response by poster: Hmm, just looked Negril up, sounds nice but not that different to Key West. The friend who recommended Negril must have thought visiting a Key West-type setting would be of interest to me. Actually, however, no. So scratch Negril. There's plenty of the "geared to tourist trade" stuff here if I wanted it.

The Windsor caves, however, seems more appealing than ever!
posted by humannaire at 2:00 AM on September 25, 2008

I would skip Negril, Ocho Rios, and the tourist strip in Montego Bay, since you are coming from a similarly touristed area. The small towns along the north coast, though, have some really nice bays for snorkeling and diving, if you are a water person.

With that short of time, though, I'd suggest really immersing yourself in the Cockpit Country, including its history, the caves and sinkholes, the food, the music, etc. The author Russel Banks, for example, has at least two books set partly in the Cockpit Country, The Book of Jamaica and Rule of the Bone.
posted by Forktine at 7:07 AM on September 25, 2008

Best answer: I've been to Jamaica a few times, and stayed in Trelawny parish most of those times as my wife's family is from the region. Here are a few things I've tried that I like:

- From what I remember, Negril is mostly only known for it's (nude) beaches. I've been. Meh. However, I do recommend Rick's Cafe in Negril. It will be very touristy, but it's still neat. Go approaching sunset, jump into the ocean from the cliffs and have a drink. Negril is far from Trelawny though.

- Check out a jerk pit. I believe the more famous one in Trelawny is called Nanny's Jerk Pit. In case you're unaware, a jerk pit serves up jerked chicken and pork. It's usually spicy but not insanely so.

- Head to Falmouth and order some meat loaf from one of the more popular Jamaican patty restaurants. The name of the best place in town escapes me, but if they're out of stock at the time you go, you found the right place! The meat loaf is not what you're thinking. It's the same meat used in a Jamaican patty but the dough they use is made with yeast. Very delicious.

- Head to the Glistening Waters Marina for a night time skinny dip. The water here has phosphorescent organisms, so when you agitate the water, it glows. It's pretty neat, and sort of an offbeat tourist thing to do.

- The green grottos are kinda cool. Fairly commercial though.

- Rafting down the Martha Brae is OK, but be warned you'll be pressured to buy your guide's shitty sculptures.

- One day a week (I forget which day) there is a big market in Falmouth. Lots of cheap stuff for sale. Don't pay the price they tell you. No one does. Haggle.

Other notable things. Jamaica is very cheap to get around. Only stupid tourists rent cars. The drivers in Jamaica are a special breed. You'll see what I mean. The official taxi service is ridiculously cheap, but careful because everyone with a car will offer you a ride. I'm not sure if it's changed, but the easy way to tell an official taxi driver is by their red license plate. If you want to rent the services of a driver (to go to say Negril), confirm a price upfront, and only pay when you get back to your room/hotel.
posted by xmattxfx at 12:27 PM on September 25, 2008

Response by poster: Alright. I'm back. And here's my take on things.

One, Brampton is rural. Half an hour from the coast, it is in the mountains. There are no stores other than the (very) small shops owned and operated in front of/attached to people's homes.

It is a friendly place, but it goes far to have business in Brampton or to know someone there. Possible problems otherwise. (I am considered "a white," and this consideration can be odious/less than pleasant if such things bother you.)

The area is gorgeous. Lush. Abundant. It rains frequently (at least it did Sept/Oct).

There is no towncenter, no main street, no strip, nada. It's homes and farms, and the amount of untended/pristine green lands and rainforest is breathtaking.

There are many animals, ranging from livestock (goats, chickens, some pigs, some donkey) to birds, reptiles, insects and mongoose. There is a particularly "talky" red-winged blackbird.

THERE ARE MOSQUITOS! Unless you are resistant, or don't mind wearing repellent (especially at night), netting at bed is required.

Water runs intermittently, roughly half the time. Electricity is fairly consistent.

I made it out for jerk once, to the jerk place across from the Green Grottoes. And it was quite appealing, memorable even. Highly recommended.

Nearest shopping is in Jacksontown, around four miles away. Further off is Brownstown, half hour away down very winding roads of a beautiful drive

There is a primary school and a high school. There are no landlines. Cel phone service is spotty. No internet to speak of, and it wasn't clear whether wireless service from the States would or would not work. Jamaica does not offer wireless presently, or if it does it has only just begun and is relatively unknown.

Thanks to all for the insights, particularly xmattxfx. (Seconding everything xmattxfx said.)
posted by humannaire at 8:13 PM on October 8, 2008

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