Date: 10th-20th April 2009
Location: Jamaica W.I.
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There's a lot to both see and do in Jamaica beyond the Carnival experience ... Dunns River Falls, Bob Marley Experience, Hellshire, Beaches galore .... and the list of things can go on and on. But, you'll definitely need more than a weekend to see it all.
Lucky for us, we arrived a week earlier to experience Beach J'Ouvert, which took place in Ocho Rios, allowing us to catch popular sites such as "Faiths Pen" and "Fern Gully" on our way to and from Kingston before doing the behind the scenes at Bacchanal Jamaica Mas Camp, and taking a little tour of New Kingston.
A popular route between Ocho Rios and Kingston is Fern Gully (a four-mile expanse of road that was originally a riverbed), where enormous walls of vegetation feature over six hundred species of the finest varieties of ferns in all shapes and sizes.
Along the journey is a roadside food stop known as Faiths Pen, a fast-food service station, Jamaican style. What started as a congregation of roadside huts has been organized by the government into a row of neat wooden structures with colorful signs announcing their names and specialties such as Ackee and Salt Fish and Jerk Chicken. It is home to the often-mentioned Ragamuffin Roots Tonic juice bar, a fastidiously clean operation complete with fresh juice, sex tonics and a good collection of reggae dub music.