Many of the more adventurous excursions were offered by Chukka Caribbean, one of the most popular tour operators in the region. Known for showcasing the natural side of the Caribbean, their signature tour is the Horseback Ride N' Swim. Earlier this year they launched a series of tours at their newest location, Good Hope. While I could have purchased tours directly with Chukka Caribbean as a hotel guest, they can only be booked by cruise passengers directly with the cruise lines as space is pre-sold to ships for their arrival dates.
Located only twenty minutes from Falmouth in Jamaica’s Trelawny Parish, the Good Hope estate was the basis of one of the largest sugar fortunes made in 19th century Jamaica and contains a rare inventory of restored historic buildings.
The Great House (pictured above), was built in 1755 by Thomas Williams for his bride Elizabeth, who died shortly after their marriage and was buried beneath the ground floor entryway. Subsequently purchased by John Tharp, who also acquired all the adjoining plantations, Good Hope eventually grew to 9,000 acres in its heyday. On today’s 2,000 acre estate, with a view overlooking the Queen of Spain Valley, the Martha Brae River, and the Cockpit Mountains, all rooms in the Great House are furnished with priceless 18th and 19th century Jamaican antiques and the estate affords an authentic glimpse into plantation life.
Cruise passengers whose itinerary includes a port call in Falmouth can choose from a variety of activities at Good Hope, including a horse and carriage ride through the grounds, river-tubing on the Martha Brae River, zip-lining through the canopy over the river (pictured at right), exploring the scenic countryside on an ATV, or a more sedate tour of the Great House, with or without lunch on the garden patio. A tour of the estate with tea is also offered. As noted above, tours operated by Chukka Caribbean cannot be purchased independently.
Cruise Diva wishes to extend her appreciation to Jerron Britton and Sharon Williams of the Jamaica Tourist Board, William Tatham of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Carl Hendricks of the Port of Falmouth, and Marina Delfos of Falmouth Heritage Walks for their hospitality and assistance during her day in Falmouth.
Photos © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com