Na­ture’s par­adise at Konoko Falls

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

DOWN THE me­an­der­ing steps to the cas­cad­ing wa­ter­falls, with tran­quil wa­ters rip­pling be­low, Konoko Falls and Gar­dens is na­ture at its best. Lo­cated in the hills over­look­ing the bustling town of Ocho Rios, St Ann, this par­adise brings your in­ner be­ing to life.

The crys­tal-clear wa­ters of sev­eral of the streams, with added path­ways and man-made bridges, take you through a unique and beau­ti­ful gar­den that boasts an abun­dance of Ja­maica’s rich flora, many of which are in­dige­nous to Ja­maica and other Caribbean is­lands.

These plants in­clude torch gin­ger, hon­ey­comb gin­ger, lob­ster claw he­li­co­nias, bird of par­adise, and many more.

The af­fa­ble tour guide, Nor­dia Ste­wart, ex­plained that a nat­u­ral spring that trav­els some 15 miles un­der­ground resur­faces in the gar­dens, me­an­der­ing through the prop­erty and then making its cap­ti­vat­ing de­scent over the in­ter­twin­ing rocks and into a stream at the foot of the falls.

With many cosy nooks to re­lax and en­joy the tran­quil at­mos­phere, the prop­erty also houses a mini zoo, with a va­ri­ety of birds en­demic to Ja­maica, in­clud­ing the Ja­maican barn owl, pea­cocks and yel­low-billed para­keets. These are also igua­nas, the Ja­maican boa and Amer­i­can croc­o­dile with which vis­i­tors are al­lowed to in­ter­act.

RICH HIS­TORY

If you are not fa­mil­iar with Ja­maica’s rich his­tory, the mu­seum’s cur­rent ex­hibit of­fers a look into our tur­bu­lent past, es­pe­cially the Tainos. Rare ar­ti­facts, maps and pic­tures il­lus­trate scripted sum­maries of all ma­jor pe­ri­ods, as well as lo­cal his­tory.

Tashj Haughton, op­er­a­tions man­ager at the prop­erty, said vis­i­tors are en­thralled with the unique­ness and in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion that they re­ceive when they tour the at­trac­tion.

“Not only are they cap­ti­vated by the rich nat­u­ral oa­sis that is here but it is a ther­a­peu­tic get­away with in­di­vid­u­alised and per­sonal at­ten­tion that they do not get any­where else. We en­sure that our vis­i­tors are com­fort­able dur­ing their visit here,” Haughton said.

The prop­erty is also per­fect for wed­dings, birth­day par­ties, cor­po­rate fun days and an­niver­saries. All book­ings are done by reser­va­tion only and at­tract an event fee.

Konoko Falls also boasts the Yassi Look­out Point for a breath­tak­ing and panoramic view of the town of Ocho Rios.

Colum­bus Café of­fers mouth-wa­ter­ing Ja­maican­themed dishes, in­clud­ing their sig­na­ture jerked pork and chicken menu.

Konoko is an Arawak word mean­ing ‘rain­for­est’ or ‘wooded area’. The 12-acre prop­erty is man­aged by the Guards­man Group.

En­try fee for Ja­maicans is $1,500 for adults and $1,000 for chil­dren. The prop­erty is opened daily, be­tween 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Konoko Falls in Ocho Rios.

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