Oristano, now called Bluefields Bay, was a supply source of food and water for the Spanish galleons that sailed the seas between Spain and her wealthy colonies of South and Central America. Its function continued under the English and it was from here that Henry Morgan sailed to capture Panama City from the Spanish in 1671. Tucked along the western portion of Bluefields Bay is Paradise Park, a quiet, tranquil, 1000 acre private estate that today provides a respite from peddlers and crowds as only 10 riders are allowed to tour the property at the same time.
You will not find this exquisite park in most of the guide books because it is primarily a cattle and dairy farm that has been owned and operated by the same family for over a hundred years. The sprawling 18th Century estate is located on a tropical savanna with lush, grassy pastures and brilliantly colored flowering trees and shrubs. Close by the sea are tangled scrublands, a natural palm jungle and mangroves where the Sweet River empties into the bay. It is best viewed at a sedate pace on horseback. No galloping is allowed and a tour of the property takes about 1 ½ hours. Afterwards you are invited to enjoy the park at your leisure. Explore the trails of a tropical forest that has been left intact to preserve the birdlife, laze under the shade of a giant cotton tree, taste a freshly picked, tree-ripened mango (May-June), swim in the azure waters of Bluefields Bay, picnic in the park (picnic benches and grills are provided), or refresh yourself in the cool, crystal clear waters of the Sweet River. You will experience how the property got its name. Paradise!
Load image: River scape (33K)
Best Times to Go: Anytime! This is a delightful change from the sun and sea vacations for which Jamaica is known. The land is more verdant in the rainy season (May - October) and the tropical sun is less intense in the cooler season (November - March).
Getting There: Paradise Park is located about 1 mile west of Ferris Cross along the main road (A2) from Negril to Black River. It is 18 miles east of Negril and 30 miles south of Montego Bay.
Clothing/Gear: Comfortable clothing, swim suit, towel, sturdy shoes, hat with brim, suntan lotion, insect repellent, camera, and a picnic lunch. Drinks can be purchased on site.
Load image: Sea scape (33K)
General Information: The Park entrance fee is currently US$5. A riding tour of the estate costs US$30 and includes the park entrance fee. Plan on spending at least 3 to 4 hours. A full day is wonderful for just relaxing.
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