Coyaba River Garden
Located at the Shaw Park Estate, Shaw Park, Ridge Road, Ocho Rios, is a small but nice museum and botanical garden, the Coyaba River Garden and Museum. The museum covers the history of Jamaica from the pre-Columbian time of the Arawak Indians up to the present day of the island's development. It also exhibits many cultural influences that have contributed to the creation of “the one”, which brought the national motto of Jamaica, “Out of Many, One People”.
The real splendor of this attraction in Ocho Rios is the beautiful and lush 3-acre garden, located 1½ miles south of Ocho Rios. Visitors will be guided on a 45-minute tour and will be introduced to the flora and fauna of Jamaica.
What Will You Find at the Coyaba River Garden and Museum?
- A genuine water garden, with its serenity being fed by the streams that rise on the property
- Exquisite Jamaican Spanish architecture
- The spectacular Mahoe waterfalls
- A Museum of Island History focusing on the forgotten Taino/Arawak culture of Jamaica's first inhabitants
- A Shop of island curios and crafts, rums and coffees
- Ysassis Lookout Point which offers breathtaking views of the Bay of Ocho Rios and the cruise ship terminals
- The shade of giant banyan and cedar trees
- Blue Mountain Coffee served in a cut-stone courtyard
- A natural aquarium filled with koi carp, mullet, snappers and turtles
- Coyaba River Garden and Museum at Any Season of the Year
- A new encounter with beauty, curiosity, and nature awaits tourists in each of their visit to Coyaba. Newly flowering plants and trees mark the seasons. The reflection of sunlight on the water also tells the time of the day. Take a guided tour through the garden, amidst meandering streams an ponds. Climb the Mahoe Falls and dip in the pool at the base of the waterfall.
Beginning in 1936, this was a working plantation producing pimentos, allspice, and limes, all of it held together by its Scotland-born owner, Sir Harold Mitchell, who died in 1983. Since his death, its 405 hectares (1,000 acres) have been maintained as an eco-sensitive destination for tour groups, who climb into jitneys for 90-minute jaunts through the rolling highlands of its fertile terrain. Here you can ride camels, drive Segways, and take tours through a plantation and experience what life was like on a real working Jamaican plantation.
If you opt to come here, you won't be alone: Some of the trees on the property bear signs indicating that they were planted by, among others, Winston Churchill, Henry Kissinger, Charlie Chaplin, Pierre Trudeau, Noël Coward, Edward Heath, and (incongruously) movie star Drew Barrymore.
The sprawling property passes through several different climate zones; takes you high enough for sweeping views out toward the point where Christopher Columbus was shipwrecked for more than a year during his fourth visit to the new world in the 1500s; passes a colony of (caged) African ostriches; and meanders through fields devoted, respectively, to sugar cane, coffee, and chocolate.
Within semi-private compounds on the property is a semi-military boy's academy (Prospect Academy, established as a philanthropic act in 1956 by Sir Harold Mitchell, maintains one of the most stringent academic curriculums in Jamaica). There is also the gracefully proportioned Prospect Chapel, a non-denominational church fashioned from limestone and timber derived from the acreage nearby.
A visit to this property is an educational, relaxing, and enjoyable experience. You'll learn about and see pimento (allspice), bananas, cassava, sugar cane, coffee, cocoa, coconut, pineapple, and the famous Leucaena ("Tree of Life"). You'll even see Jamaica's first hydroelectric plant, imported from Canada in 1939 by the plantation's founder, and sample some of the exotic fruit and drinks at the big, tipi-shaped bar and gift shop near each tour's point of origin.
Chukka Tours offers a wide variety of tours and activities for everyone! You can choose a guided tour through the jungle and beach on an ATV, horseback, dune buggy, jeep, or bicycle. You can enjoy river tubing, a glass bottom boat ride, or a zip-line adventure through the jungle canopy. Chukka Cove also offers a Appleton Rum Tasting experience or a tour through a colonial village to learn about Jamaican history.