JAMWEST

An ad­ven­ture park driven by au­to­mo­tives

Jamaica Gleaner - - AUTOMOTIVES - Kareem LaTouche Au­to­mo­tives Co­or­di­na­tor

JAMWEST HAS steadily be­come syn­ony­mous with rac­ing. How­ever, there is also a thriv­ing at­trac­tion park on the 300-plus acres of land that is lo­cated in the in­te­rior of West­more­land. To visit this

“We have a long his­tory in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try and so my fa­ther spear­headed this project to build our tour ve­hi­cles us­ing a Jeep chas­sis. We wanted some­thing that was dif­fer­ent from ev­ery other tour and the only way to ac­com­plish that was to do our own thing.

beauty, most per­sons will have to travel a far dis­tance, which the pro­pri­etors are aware of. Hence, they have in­cor­po­rated sev­eral means of trans­porta­tion for per­sons to ac­cess the prop­erty.

“We have a good re­la­tion­ship with Knutsford Ex­press, which is very con­ve­nient for per­sons who want to visit us from Kingston or MoBay. The bus will drop them off in Ne­gril or Sa­vanna-la-Mar, and our bus will pick them up once there is a reser­va­tion,” dis­closed Shyiann Gordon, manag­ing di­rec­tor.

Once per­sons have ar­rived, they are brought to the club­house, which is sur­rounded by the gift shop and din­ing area. There, the host talks about the var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties that are avail­able, most of which in­clude au­to­mo­tives of some kind.

CRE­AT­ING THEIR OWN TOUR VE­HI­CLE

One of the favourite op­tions is the Sa­fari Tour, which is done in a ve­hi­cle that is dec­o­rated at the front to look like an owl, while the side is plas­tered with the Jamwest logo. “I came up with the con­cept be­cause I wanted our tour ve­hi­cles to blend with the en­vi­ron­ment, and as you know, we have a lot of birds on prop­erty, hence the de­sign on the front,” shared Gordon.

Un­like tra­di­tional tour ve­hi­cles that are usu­ally trac­tors and car­riages that give a very harsh ride, Jamwest as­sem­bled its tour ve­hi­cles. “We have a long his­tory in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, and so my fa­ther spear­headed this project to build our tour ve­hi­cles us­ing a Jeep chas­sis. We wanted some­thing that was dif­fer­ent from ev­ery other tour, and the only way to ac­com­plish this was to do our own thing,” Gordon said.

This is an achieve­ment that she is very proud of as she con­tin­ued, “We have got calls from other tourist at­trac­tions that want us to make sim­i­lar ve­hi­cles for them, es­pe­cially for the pas­sen­ger sec­tion, which we de­signed and built.”

The rear is de­signed with padded seats and a canopy to pro­tect pas­sen­gers from the sun. Once ev­ery­one is seated, the tour guide, As­ton, who is also a botanist, sets up his mi­cro­phone and speaker ap­pa­ra­tus.

“In the past, per­sons would come here for rac­ing, and after­wards, they would be bored, so we started look­ing for other things to de­velop. We dis­cov­ered there were two nat­u­ral ponds on the prop­erty, so we de­cided to de­velop the area into an at­trac­tion for the en­tire fam­ily to en­joy,” stated Gordon.

The 90-minute tour car­ries per­sons through var­i­ous wet­lands where they get to see ex­otic rep­tiles along with learn­ing about the habi­tat that is home to over 90 species of birds. There are two ma­jor stops along the tour where per­sons get to in­ter­act with the el­e­ments of na­ture. This in­cludes the Ja­maica Boa snake, which is en­demic to the is­land, and the Chi­nese Duck. Both can be seen at a sec­tion of the tour called Lit­tle Jack, which is a wet­land area that has a board­walk that leads to a lake.

GET­TING AC­TIVE WITH THE ATV

To get the adren­a­line pump­ing, the au­to­matic Po­laris ATV quad bikes and dune bug­gies are well tuned and easy to ma­noeu­vre. At first, ev­ery­one gets a hel­met with a vi­sor and a safety tu­to­rial, which is ex­pected to be taken se­ri­ously as the crew has a no-tol­er­ance rule for any­one try­ing to do any tricks on the ma­chines.

“Be­cause our tour path is very wind­ing and chal­leng­ing, we have to take safety very se­ri­ously. We have a very

ex­ten­sive test­ing area to en­sure per­sons can man­age the ve­hi­cles. If any­one is strug­gling, they can be­come a pil­lion pas­sen­ger on any of our tour guide ve­hi­cles,” dis­closed Gordon.

When the tour starts, per­sons must pre­pare for a lot of dust as they jour­ney through the sin­u­ous path­way that in­cludes a lot of red dirt and rocks. For­tu­nately, the sus­pen­sions of the ATVs are very good at ab­sorb­ing bumps, which should be a re­lief to per­sons who suf­fer from back pains. Pe­ri­od­i­cally, the lead tour guide will look around to see if any­one is strug­gling or not fol­low­ing the rules.

The most scenic part of the jour­ney hap­pens when the ATVs are driven along the sea shore with the cool breeze blow­ing against your face. There is also a quick rest stop then a ‘U-turn’ in the sand to­wards a sec­tion of the prop­erty that has a 15-me­tre man-made wa­ter pud­dle. Luck­ily, it is not high enough to wet any­one’s shoes.

Once the tour is over, per­sons are cov­ered with dust. How­ever, for all the en­joy­ment, is worth it.

The one-seater dune bug is a favourite for many per­sons.

They of­fer a ser­vice that can pick up per­sons from Ne­gril or Sa­vanna-la-Mar once a reser­va­tion has been made.

Ian Gordon, with his vast au­to­mo­tive back­ground, spear­headed the as­sem­bling of his own tour tucks to en­sure they were durable and comfortable

The most scenic part of the ATV tour is driv­ing against the seashore.

LEFT: The in­spi­ra­tion for the owl de­sign on their tour bus came from the fact that the prop­erty is home to a lot of birds.

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