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Jamaican Public Gardens

Updated on January 24, 2012

Jamaican Public Gardens, Botanical Gardens and Scenic Highways

Jamaican Gardens can be interpreted as people's home gardens in Jamaica, Botanical Gardens, National Parks and gardens found in resorts and great homes. Check how the idea of a garden is interpreted throughout the Caribbean island of Jamaica.

In 2008, the Jamaican government distributed 10,000 free backyard gardening kits in an effort to encourage its citizens to grow food crops in their gardens as a response to high food prices. This is part of an Urban Backyard Garden Programme, with kits containing seeds, soil nutrients, planting instructions and gardening tools. Portmore and Spanish Town residents participating in the program are required to devote 40 square feet to this gardening, sowing 2 to 4 crops yearly and being monitored over a 3-month period.

The newspaper Jamaica Gleaner supported the program, printing an article about how nutritious vegetables such as callaloo, tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers, okra, lettuce, hot peppers and thyme can be grown in small spaces. They put forth organic principles such as recycling water and using grass cuttings and leaves on gardens to discourage evaporation and weed growth.

Jamaican Orchids on Amazon

Jamaica boasts a dizzying array of indigenous orchids. Purchase your own orchid plants online at Amazon.

  • The Royal Palm Preserve is home to over 114 species of plants and offers hiking, horseback riding, birdwatching, fishing and weddings.
  • Mayfield Falls features 2 waterfalls, 21 natural pools for swimming, 52 fern varieties.

You have to dig a little to find information on Negril's Royal Palm Reserve. At one time they had a website, but its been taken over by one of those 'spammy' landing pages that has nothing at all to do with the facility. Tripadvisor reviews of the Royal Palm Reserve are mixed, with the bad review stating the park is rundown and not worth the money. The lack of a website would indicate this in my opinion. Negril Travel Guide offers a bit of explanation: The Royal Palm Reserve is located within the Negril Great Morass. It offers a museum and a boardwalk trail through the swamp morass. The slideshow taken at the Royal Palm Reserve looks like a pleasant enough nature trip.

Watch the video. I wouldn't mind going there!

Mayfield Falls is located in Glenbrook, Jamaica (an hour's drive east from Negril or an hour and a half southwest from Montego Bay). On the riverwalk tour, you cross a bamboo bridge to visit natural jacuzzis, waterfalls, and a riverside feast in a thatched-roof hut. Drive through sugar cane fields on the way to Mayfield Falls.

A quick search of YouTube for 'Rocklands Bird Sanctuary' offers many home-movies of people hand-feeding Doctor birds and hummingbirds. The "HouseJeanie" site offers a review of a trip to Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, saying "We were only there for about a half an hour to an hour but it made our trip to Jamaica successful."

John and Helen Baines give us some excellent reviews and photos in their piece about Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. This reports assures that Rocklands is only 5 miles away, taking just 1/2 hour by taxi to get there!

Lethe Estate - in Hanover, Montego Bay

Lethe Estate offers mountain views, horseback riding, swimming in the Great River, fishing and plantation & great house tours.

The owners of Lethe Estate also operate "Mountain Valley River Rafting" if you are interested in a relaxing raft ride down the river. Lethe Estate is also home to "Rhea's World" which includes botanical gardens, a small zoo, water garden and a banana plantation tour.

  • Coyaba River Garden and Museum features the Mahoe Falls, Jamaican-Spanish architecture, a lookout point over Ocho Rios Bay, a water garden, an island history museum, Banyan and Cedar trees and a natural aquarium.
  • Rainforest Trams Mystic Mountain lets you fully experience Ocho Rios scenery with aerial trams, ziplining, gravity-powered bobsledding from Dunn's River Falls to Mystic Mountain and view's of Jamaica's north coast including St. Ann's valleys.
  • Shaw Park Gardens has 25 acres of lush, tropical scenery and a waterfall. Originally a sugar cane plantation, it began exporting oranges to New Orleans in 1892 and is now a botanical garden.
  • Turtle River Park was reclaimed recently from its use as a bus station and now features gazebos, a pond stocked with fish & turtles and flower beds.

The Coyaba River Garden and Museum has its own website. The Mahoe Falls are lovely and feature some photos of the falls as well as lobster-claw heliconia and ginger flowers. Coyaba River Garden and Museum even offers a 3-bedroom villa with a swimming pool and view of the Bay of Ocho Rios.

The word Coyaba means "paradise" in the Arawak language.

Mystic Mountain - Ocho Rios

Rainforest Trams covers over 100 acres of land, from near Dunns River Falls to the peak of Mystic Mountain. This eco-friendly tourist attraction features: Sky Lift Explorer, Bobsled Jamaica and Tranopy. The Mystic Mountain "Railway Station" has a lookout tower offering fine views of the surrounding locale.

Shaw Park Gardens - Ocho Rios

Shaw Park Gardens covers 25 acres, featuring a waterfall and many flowers. The property was originally built in 1821 to produce sugar cane, but was converted for exporting oranges to New Orleans in 1892. The property's Great House was transformed into a resort boasting 40 rooms in 1940.

Guided tours of the property are provided daily between 8am and 4pm. Complete wedding and picnic services are both provided at Shaw Park Gardens. You can also stay at the resort which is located in the gardens and only a 10-minute drive from the ocean.

Turtle River Park
Turtle River Park

Turtle River Park

Ocho Rios

  • Enchanted Gardens and Aviary
  • Cranbrook Flower Forest

Enchanted Gardens and Aviary - St. Ann's Bay

The Enchanted Gardens has its own website. It boasts numerous natural wonders including: 14 cascading waterfalls, a natural spring-fed pool, large walk-in aviary of tropical birds, lily pond, koi pond, flower gardens. The Enchanted Gardens and Aviary also features a tropical swimming pool with a swim-up bar.

Guided Tour through Cranbrook Flower Forest - Runaway Bay

Check out the official website for the Cranbrook Flower Forest and River Head Adventure Trail. This site offers wading in the Little River, bird watching, nature walks, pond fishing, volleyball and a children's play area.

Castleton Gardens, St. Mary, Jamaica
Castleton Gardens, St. Mary, Jamaica

Castleton Gardens

St. Mary

Castleton Gardens was established by an English botanist with help from London's Kew Gardens. Swimming is available in the Wag River.

Devon House Gardens - Kingston

Cinchona Botanical Gardens
Cinchona Botanical Gardens

Forres Park's website recommends a trip to the Cinchona Botanical Gardens. This trip has an hour from Forres Park in an ATV, followed by a hike to Cinchona Botanical Gardens. Check out these photos!

Limetreefarm gives us a great photo set from Cinchona gardens and more through In fact, Lime Tree Farm offers day trips to Cinchona Gardens.

  • cactus garden
  • orchid house
  • ornamental pond
  • "Palm Avenue" of Sago Palms
  • greenhouses
  • forest garden
  • bougainvillea walk
  • zoo
  • fountains
  • lily pond
  • plant nursery

Hope Botanical Gardens is the largest botanic garden in the Caribbean.

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Hope span 230 acres. 200 acres of the current property were set aside in 1880 to plant and test crops such as pineapple, cocoa, coffee and tobacco.

Staff from Kew Gardens in England arrived at Hope Gardens to lay out 60 acres of land as a "formal" garden. Queen Elizabeth's visit to the Hope Botanical Gardens in the 1950s prompted her to allow the garden to call itself the "Royal Botanic Gardens."

Serenity Park
Serenity Park

Serenity Park

St. Catherine

This beautiful slideshow of images taken at Guardsman Serenity Park in Bushy Park, St. Catherine, Jamaica gives a good feel of the color, birds, flowers and landscapes you'll find there. This fishing and wildlife sanctuary starts off giving you a tractor ride through mango orchards and vegetable plots to finish to the "animal collection", featuring exotic birds and a petting zoo.

Spring Village also showcases a history of Guardsman Serenity Park along with scans of the brochures.

Waterfalls and Offroading in Holywell

This 300-acre park sitting at 3,500 ft. above sea level is the gateway to the Blue and John Crow mountains. Getting to Holywell takes a 90-minute drive from Kingston. There are 4 hiking areas within the park as well as picnic areas and a "Kids Discovery Zone". The region is home to both the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly and the Jamaican Boa Constrictor. England's Prince Charles has visited Holywell Park and inquired about the invasive wild ginger plant as well as efforts made to reforest the park after damage caused by several recent hurricanes.

Jamaican Trees - Create your own Jamaican forest preserve

Typical trees in Jamaica include the Royal Palm, Wild Lime, Cedar, Oak, Mahogany and Jamaican Dogwood. Choosing appropriate trees to plant in your garden can make your Jamaican oasis more authentic.

Fern Gulley Road

Fern Gully, close to Ocho Rios, is 4 kilometres of road flanked by many species of ferns on both sides and canopied by tall trees meeting overhead and filtering out most of the sun. A cool rain forest condition ensues. While this is not a public garden, it is a botanical wonder.

Love Palm Trees? - Tropical palm tree décor

No matter what season you're in or what part of the world, bring some palm trees into your life with these housewares.

More Books on Jamaican Gardens

If this lens has whet your appetite for Jamaican sightseeing or Jamaican gardening, you can check these reference books available on

Share These Jamaican Tourism Ideas

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Have you ever visited gardens in Jamaica? Are you planning a trip there? Maybe you're just visiting this lens for inspiration in your own tropical garden design. Whatever the reason for your visit, please leave your feedback here.

Contact Laura Schofield

*If you would like to suggest any links or have your own photos and / or stories published, please send me an email. I can be contacted through my personal homepage, If you enjoy the work I've done here, I do offer professional copy writing, photo restoration / manipulation, search engine optimization and web design services. I can again be contacted for any of these services through my website.

Contact this page's author or leave a comment - How does your Jamaican Garden grow?

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    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      Some gorgeous looking places. About as close as I want to get to a zip line is watching a video about one!

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 

      7 years ago

      Wow! Jamaica has always been a dreamy destination for me⦠I loved your lens!!!

      I am currently trying to complete a project with the museums of Greece. I would appreciate it if you stopped there for a while leaving your opinion comments and it would be very important for me if you liked it. Here is my lens .

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What a gorgeous lens! Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • CruiseReady profile image


      8 years ago from East Central Florida

      Wwhat a beautiful lens ... I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it! Of course, I am lensrolling this one!

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      You've put together a beautiful lens, Laura! The Jamaica Tourist Bureau should put you on their payroll. :) I've given you some stars and favorited this. I've never been to Jamaica, but you've sure made it look extra inviting.


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