Black River



Located on the southwest coast of the country and 100 mi/160 km west of Kingston, Black River, Jamaica, makes a convenient place to stop if you're traveling between Kingston and Negril.

The largest town is St. Elizabeth. In the mid-19th century it derived its wealth from exporting logwood, which was used to produce black and dark-blue dyes for textiles. The main attraction now is the Black River Safari, a short trip through the largest remaining crocodile refuge in Jamaica. Have a drink at the bar of the Bridgehouse Inn or try its restaurant for reasonably priced local cuisine.

Just 20 mi/32 km west of Black River is Bluefields, a lovely beach visited mostly by Jamaicans. This area has some lovely private villas for rent, as well as an all-inclusive resort.

Nearby, the Font Hill Beach Park and Wildlife Sanctuary has boardwalks leading into mangroves for crocodile- and bird-watching.

At the corner of Main and North streets, St. Elizabeth Parish Church is a splendid example of Gothic architecture. Built in 1837, the church was actually built on the site of an older church believed to date back to the 1700s. Many of the notable figures in the history of Black River are buried on the grounds of the church.

North of Black River is the settlement of Middle Quarters, where you can buy hot peppered shrimp from roadside vendors. But beware: They're very peppery.

Just east of Middle Quarters is Bamboo Avenue (Highway A-2, also called Holland Bamboo), a 3-mi-/5-km-long glade where feathery giant bamboo arches over the road and forms a picturesque tunnel.

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