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Things To Do

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Arts & Culture Experiences

Paint ‘N Sip – A 2-hour activity where Master Maroon visual artists guide you to bring out the inner artist within you. Imagine sitting down under the shade of a Katawud Village gazebo, while sipping on Katawud natural juices or cocktails infused with juices from community-grown fruits, while you create an original painting to take back home! We provide the canvas, aprons, paint brushes, and eco-friendly paints, so that you can sit back, relax and paint scenes that you’ll see from the natural and cultural world of the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Arts & Craft – In this under 2-hour experience, Master Maroon artisans will guide you to make a usable craft item such as a coaster or jewelry, using natural materials like straw, bamboo, or seeds from the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Maroon Music & Drumming: In this 1-hour experience, Master musicians from the community will demonstrate some of the rudiments of Maroon and other forms of traditional Jamaican music, drumming, song, and dance styles. At the end of this immersive demonstration, you will join the instructors in playing the drums and singing a traditional song that you learned in the workshop

Kromanti Instrumental
00:00 / 00:16
Bongo Maroon Kumina Instrumental
00:00 / 00:18

Tours & Excursions

Come explore the natural, historical, cultural, and built environment of the Rio Grande Valley through several tour packages that we offer withing the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site. This includes Historical Sites Tours, Architecture Tours, Waterfalls Tours, and Farm Tours. We invite groups or individuals who are nature lovers, history buffs, culture enthusiasts, educational groups (schools, universities, researchers, etc.), corporate employees, vacationers, or just the curious traveler to experience Maroon history, culture, geography, and village environment first-hand.  Group tours are kept to a number to minimize negative cultural and environmental impacts.

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Historical Sites Tours:  This 4 – 6-hour tour is one of the highlights of the Katawud Village experience. Our community tour guides will accompany you to places that have played a major role in Maroon history for hundreds of years, as well as more contemporary markers of our history and culture, including the National Monument to Nanny of the Maroons and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Monument in Moore Town; the Moore Town Maroon Museum; the former British garrison and current Maroon community of Cornwall Barracks; Fellowship; Pumpkin Hill; and Watch Hill, which served as a look-out point for the early Maroons under Queen Nanny’s command to keep tabs on British troop movements.

Farm Tour: 5-hours or overnight option. Take a short hike with one of our farmer-tour guides to one of our Katawud Village Farms, or other farm located in the Rio Grande Valley. Our Katawud Village Farm on the outskirts of the Maroon community of Comfort Castle is a 20 - 30-minute hike (one-way). Along the way, you’ll pass the mighty Rio Grande and several of its tributaries, as well as other farms. Your guide, who is also a farmer on this plot of land, will point out the names and uses of various plants and trees, as well as historical sites. You will spend around 5-hours touring the farm, which includes discussions of how crops such as bananas, plantains, apples, coconuts, dasheen, and yams are grown and consumed. Your farmer-tour guides will prepare a lunch meal on the spot, using the available produce from the farm, which you will help to harvest. An overnight option is available where you can camp in our tents or bamboo lodges, and head back to Katawud Village or your lodging accommodation in the morning. Please note that this tour is weather-permitting

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Architecture Tour – On this 4 – 6-hour tour, you will explore the amazing built environment withing the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site, focusing on bridges, as well as traditional and modern houses and other structures. Crisscrossing several communities on both sides of the Rio Grande, this tour includes visits to and information about iconic bridges including the Swinging Bridge and Alligator Church Bridge; traditional bamboo, wood, and Wattle and Daub structures that have been used in Maroon home and kitchen construction for hundreds of years; and several of the colorful modern homes that make up the unique architectural landscape of the Rio Grande Valley. We will also stop at particular homes to speak with the talented local builders who own, or who have designed, built and painted these traditional and modern structures.

Waterfalls Tour – The Rio Grande Valley has a concentration of more waterfalls than any other part of Jamaica. This includes large waterfalls gushing over riverine cliffs, to smaller waterfalls cascading from the sides of the mountains and burrowing through rocks. Nourished by the mighty Rio Grande and its many tributaries, most of these pristine waterfalls are unknown to the rest of the world. On this 4-hour tour, we will visit two waterfalls in the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site, beginning with Nanny Falls in Moore Town (named after our founding ancestor Queen Nanny of the Maroons), and ending at Cestan Springs Waterfalls in Ginger House. The refreshing waters of the Cestan Springs Waterfalls drops off and swirls into natural jacuzzies that the Falls has carved out at its base. Other waterfalls in communities such as Comfort Castle and Millbank can be substituted for any of the aforementioned ones. The Waterfalls tour includes lunch at the Katawud Village.

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Herbal Health & Wellness Tour – This 2-hour walking tour of the Rio Grande Valley is led by one of our experienced traditional Maroon herbalists and healers, who will identify and explain the historical, cultural, spiritual, culinary, and medicinal uses of a variety of herbs, plants, trees, roots, seeds and other natural specimens around the community. Our Maroon herbalists are well-known locally, nationally, and internationally for their deep knowledge of the flora within the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site. This knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation over hundreds of years. At the end of the tour, each participant will receive a choice of an herbal “bush” tea package, or a bottle of a Roots beverage - all these products are made from locally sourced herbs, etc.

Hiking – The Rio Grande Valley has a variety of awesome natural trails for hiking, sightseeing, birdwatching, and other activities. On these hikes, our experienced tour guides will help you spot some of the many endemic species of flora and fauna that earned the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park its UNESCO World Heritage Site status as a mixed site. Hikes can range from shorter, relatively easy-to-do 1-hour trails, to hours-long, rugged trails that require more preparation and stamina. Our most famous hiking trails are the Nanny Town Heritage Route, part of which is the Cunha Cunha Pass Trail. The Cunha Cunha Pass Trail is a 5-mile long stretch of forest that meanders through the Blue Mountains, connecting the parishes of Portland and St. Thomas. This mistic mountain pass served as a strategic location and look-out point for Maroon guerilla warfare against the British in the 17th and 18th century. This trial also contains historical markers for some of the most iconic individuals in Jamaica’s colonial history, including the 18th century Maroon leader Three Finger Jack, AKA Jack Mansong or the Jamaican Robin Hood.

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Camping at Katawud KampgrungWe offer both camping and glamping experiences at our Katawud Kampgrung sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Our covered glamping site (which has restroom facilities) at Katawud Village is perched on a small hill above the refreshing waters of the Dry River in Ginger House. Meals (including breakfast) and beverages are available from the Katawud Village Kitchen, Jerk-Inna-Di-Rock jerk pit, and juice bar. For the more adventurous visitor who wants to be closer to nature, we have Katawud Kampgrung sites further away from the populated communities throughout the National Park. We also rent tents, comfortable sleeping bags, airbeds, camping chairs and other camping gear.

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