Rafting on the Rio Grande

Gabrielle McDowell

Tuesday, August 21, 2012    

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BESIDES being renowned for its Boston Jerked foods, Portland houses the Rio Grande river.

This major free-flowing river has been utilised for bamboo rafting for many generations. It had attracted many users in the past, one of which included the late Australian actor, Errol Flynn.

Originally, rafting on the Rio Grande was used to transport farm produce. In particular, bananas were transported from the hills to Boundbrook Wharf for exportation.

However, in the early 20th century Flynn popularised rafting for leisure rather than for work purposes. Nowadays, managed by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), it is considered to be an official recreational activity for both locals and tourists alike.

How do you get there?

Typically, the Rio Grande tour starts from the Berrydale community in the hills. Then the tour guides will take you through a descension to the point of boarding.

What happens next?

A 20-foot bamboo raft is used to travel down the river from either Berrydale or Grants Level then stops at Rafters' Rest on the coast. Each raft is capable of carrying two adults, a child and of course a professional licensed raft captain. A two to three hour cruise which allows you to enjoy the simple pleasures of Jamaican fauna and flora, attracts many foreigners to Jamaica each year. While rafting, you will have the option of either: swimming, having meals on the river banks, or stopping at the souvenir outlets.

So how do you get back to your car after this excursion?

At the end of the tour, TPDCo staff are made available to drive your vehicle to the mouth of the river. Perhaps if you are uncomfortable with that idea, taxi cars are also an option for patrons to utilise for transport back to the starting point.



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