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Whether clients are arriving by air or sea, Falmouth, Jamaica, offers them two very different — yet distinctly Jamaican — activities. Both options, Chukka’s Adventure Park & Falls and the Hampden Estate rum tour, provide visitors with a versatile experience for visitors of all ages.
“Hampden Estate and Chukka’s are must-do attractions,” said Donnie Dawson, deputy director of tourism for the Americas for the Jamaica Tourist Board. “They are rich historical and cultural touchpoints of the destination, and also provide a perfect group experience, accommodating small or large groups and multigenerational families.”
Chukka’s Adventure Park & FallsOriginally a sugar plantation, Good Hope Estate dates back to the 1700s. Today, the 2,000-plus-acre parcel, located close to Jamaica’s cruise hub in Falmouth, serves as the location for Chukka’s Adventure Park & Falls, the Caribbean’s first nature adventure park.
Named 2019 Attraction of the Year by the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, Chukka’s park offers a look into Jamaica’s past, and its lush landscape provides opportunities for outdoor activities such as ziplining, ATV adventures and jungle river-tubing.
Two 4-hour pass options feature experiences that include the park’s challenge course; hiking to 50-foot terraced waterfalls; trying out 300-foot waterslides; touring the Great House and bird aviary; and rum tasting. For clients looking for a full day of fun, the 6½-hour pass offers activities such as a canopy zipline, a river float and a traditional Jamaican lunch. The seven-hour pass also includes an ATV quad/dune buggy safari through the plantation grounds. Advisors should note that all passes are commissionable.
During my visit, the brave members of our group opted to zipline, while others preferred to lounge poolside. But before we went our separate ways, we all enjoyed tubing down Martha Brae River together. Accompanied by two knowledgeable — and entertaining — guides, we floated past terraced waterfalls, through ruins of the plantation’s sugar mill and under a beautiful old bridge made of ballast stones.
Hampden EstateBuilt in 1753, the Great House and distillery at Hampden Estate have been producing rum via the same method since their founding.
“If you’re looking for something authentic and real, this is the tour for you,” said our guide, Steve Watson. And he was right.
The first thing we learned is that 266 years ago, Hampden’s original rum-makers dug a hole in the ground to mix the three main ingredients used to make the liquor: water from an on-site freshwater source; dunder, which is the material left behind after rum is distilled (similar to whiskey mash); and sugarcane juice. Today, Watson says, the same hole is still in use. After combining the elements, the mixture then spends two weeks in the fermentation house, the oldest building on-site. Fermentation requires yeast, but Hampden doesn’t add any. Instead, it relies on the 200-year-old, naturally occurring yeast build-up on the rafters above the open-topped vats. Once fermented, the liquid passes through copper stills to become Hampden’s signature rum.
“If you’ve ever had Haagen-Dazs rum raisin ice cream, you’ve been tasting Hampden rum,” Watson said. “And if you own Chanel N°5, you’ve been wearing Hampden rum, because it’s an ingredient in the perfume.”
After the distillery tour and a delicious lunch of jerk chicken and “festivals” (deep-fried, donut-like dumplings), we finally tasted the rum. We sampled Hampden Gold, which Watson called a “sipper,” and Rum Fire, which is “the rum you take to a party.”
Both were delicious and, like Falmouth itself, provided us with an authentic taste of the island.
The DetailsChukka’s Adventure Park & Fallswww.chukka.com
Jamaica Tourist Boardwww.visitjamaica.co