It’s here on the plateau that you will find the agricultural lands, farming communities and fruit orchards. The ortanique, a cross between the orange and tangerine, was propagated, here; and the Irish potato was first introduced to Jamaica right here also, in 1902. Other major activities include coffee cultivation and cattle-rearing. Manchester is also bauxite country and you will see the mined-out hills and red mud lakes. There are several rivers and streams, even waterfalls, and the occasional blue hole. The parish boasts over 100 caves, including the deepest, Smoky Hole.
The coastal region is virtually uninhabited, with a few small, remote fishing villages. Manchester boasts some of the most well-kept communities in Jamaica and Mandeville, ‘cool, green and clean’ has been voted one of the best. In colonial days it served as a hillside retreat due to its temperate climate (it can go down to 45 degrees). Then in 1940 it became something of a boom town when the multinational alumina companies started mining bauxite in the hills. It was known more for its flowers, than street hustlers, and had no slums only beautiful gardens and parks.
HISTORIC SITES, CULTURAL TOURS AND SPORTS
Mandeville Court House
Manchester Parish Church
Oldest building in Mandeville square built in 1817.
A beautiful brick building, it is a national landmark. It was built in 1814 and has a rich history.
18th century building located in Weir, known as ‘duppy church.’
A range of tours tailored to the interest and budget of visitors, for individuals as well as groups. 876-507-6326
Held annually in May.
Located in Shooters Hill, the first Jamaican condiment to be mass produced and bottled locally.
The oldest golf course on the island, ( 9-hole); tennis and squash. Bar. 876-962-2403
ADVENTURE TOURS AND LANDSCAPES
Roxborough- Birthplace of a Hero
The largest stretch of sand dunes on the island, it is an important fishing beach in Jamaica, and also a popular place for entertainment events.
Canoe Valley is a forest reserve and covers over 5000 acres in Manchester, extending into the parish of Clarendon. It got its name from the Taino, who used the trunks of the silk cotton trees in the area to make their canoes. A magnificent place, it is one of the unsung wonders and a naturalist’s paradise. It is a unique eco-system including a 7-mile strip of red mangrove swamp, marshlands, dense forests, deep grottoes, wild rugged cliffs, caves and immense sink holes, and the last remaining stand of palm thatch. But it’s a rough, mostly inaccessible landscape and sparsely populated.
The place is teeming with wildlife. At Alligator Hole River there are crocodiles and American eels, you may even see a rare manatee swim upriver. Where the river flows out into the sea there are nesting turtles, and you may spot harpins, baraccudas and sharks off shore.
God’s Well is an ominous spot, not far from Alligator Hole. A small rocky platform looks down a sheer drop to some 76 ft below, where it is filled with clear fresh water. Experienced cavers tell us that it bends and continues further down to 240ft.
The entire coastal area is being developed as the Manchester Heritage Coast.
Gateway to Cockpit Country, hiking trails and caves.
Complex cave with underwater caverns.
Located near Christiana, the longest cave in Jamaica at 2.2 mile.
First community in Jamaica to be set up as a free village after Emancipation.
Birth place of Norman Manley, national hero and former Prime Minister.
Shooter’s Hill and the Spur Tree Hill, ridge and trail.
Located near Cross Keys, the deepest cave in Jamaica at 644ft.
A day trip well worth the journey is Little Ochi, a bright spot located at the edge of the sea at Alligator Pond. As you descend the mountain the air becomes hot and thick, and you make your way across the black sand beach to this unique open-air restaurant.
There are brightly-coloured fishing boats on stilts with thatched roofs and fitted with rustic tables and benches. If you are lucky you may just see the fishing boats heading back in with their catch of the day. The menu is everything seafood, fresh and cooked to order - lobster, fish, conch, shrimp, with side orders of bammy and festival.
876-610-6566 or 876-852-6430