While there are a number of things to do and see in Jamaica, you won’t want to miss some of the most beautiful gardens found in the world. Jamaica is home to numerous botanical gardens, including Castleton, Bath, Cinchona, Hope Gardens, and Clydesdale. www.travelrows.com
The Castleton Botanical Garden is located in St. Mary. It was established in 1862, and has a wide variety of plants. The garden was originally home to more than four thousand plants that originated from the English Garden at Kew. Special plants that were first introduced to Jamaica, starting here, include Navel Orange, Tangerine, Spathodea, Bombay Mango, and Poinciana. Here, you will also find Strychnos, which is what many medicines, as well as the poison Strychnine, are made of.
The Bath Botanical Gardens are much smaller than the Castleton Gardens, but they have historical value, as this was the second botanical garden to be developed in the western hemisphere. Bath is located in St. Thomas, but it was destroyed in the 19th century when the Sulphur River flooded. While it is still maintained, the project was relocated to Castleton in 1862.
The Cinchona Botanical Gardens were planted in 1868 in St. Andrew. Nothing is currently cultivated or studied here, however, there are plans to get things started here again in the near future. It is still worth a visit for the spectacular views of the Blue Mountains, the Liguanea Plains, Kingston, and Strawberry Hill.
The Hope Gardens were established in 1881 in St. Andrew, covering two hundred acres of the Hope Estate. The land was acquired by the Government for experimental gardening, where new varieties of sugar cane were planted, covering most of the gardens, with ten acres reserved for planting teak, Trinidad Cocoa, Pineapples, and Liberian Coffee.
The Clydesdale Gardens, in St. Andrew, has become a national park. It is very relaxing and secluded, and hidden in the hills of the Blue Mountains. Coffee was once produced here, and you can still see the water wheel and the barbecues.
Of all of the botanical gardens, the Castleton is the one that you definitely don’t want to miss, as this is the one that is still well maintained today. The Wag Water River runs through Castleton, and you are free to swim here.
There are other lush and beautiful parks throughout Jamaica that are not considered botanical gardens. These include the Hollywell National Park, National Heros Park, St. William Grant Park, Claude Stuart Park, Seville Heritage Park, Nelson Mandela Park, Wynter’s Park, Serenity Park, Independence Park, Blue Mountain Peak, and Long Mountain.
Of these parks, Blue Mountain Peak is not to be missed. From here, you can see points of the Caribbean Ocean as it meets Jamaica, and on a clear day, you can see all the way to Cuba. Seville Heritage Park is also something special. It is located in St. Ann, on the historic Seville Estate. Here, you will be able to view a collection of artifacts in the Great House from the Tainos culture, as well as the African and European cultures.