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Runaway Bay Travel Guide, Jamaica

Runaway Bay, situated at 16km (10 miles) west of Ocho Rios, has gained its status as a destination for those who want get away from the crowded towns, such as Ocho Rios with its cruise ship tourists.

You can get around Runaway Bay’s tight and narrow streets by car. The main roads are very crowded with vehicles and even domestic animals, but using the safety belt you want have any problem. You must be at least 21 years old in order to drive and the US drivers license is valid in Jamaica for one year. If you’re interested in exploring the region, it is advisable to rent a SUB due to the poor condition of the countryside roads.

The first settlers of this region were the Arawaks and Jamaica's North Coast was the first part of the island seen by Columbus, thus becoming the first Spanish settlement until 1655 when the British conquered it. Runaway Bay with its beautiful beach got its name as it was used by runaway slaves to escape. The Discovery Bay situated near Runaway Bay was visited by Christopher Columbus in 1494.

There are many sites to be visited. Columbus Park Museum, situated between the coast road and Discovery Bay, presents a series of exhibits such as a stone cross placed once on the Barrett Estate (14km/8 3/4 miles east of Montego Bay) by the brother of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a canoe of the Arawaks made from cottonwood, a tally used to count bananas and carry them to ships. There are many other exhibits in the museum: a fish pot made from bamboo, cannons and a Spanish water cooler.

Seville Great House was built in 1745 by the British. It presents artifacts from Jamaican history used from natives of the region to African slaves. A 15 minute film presents the history of the house.

This region is most famous for the village of Nine Mile, the place where the reggae artist Bob Marley was born and also buried. Here reggae fans that come each February to celebrate Marley’s birthday can also visit the Bob Marley Center & Mausoleum. You can enter the two-room shack where Marley lived from 6 to 13 and see family memorabilia. The mausoleum is the resting place of Marley and his half-brother, who was shot by police in Miami. There is a little shop where you can buy tapes with Marley’s music and a vegetarian restaurant to dine at.

If you want to see something beautiful, then go to Dunns River falls, a waterfall that starts at 1000 feet and ends on the beach. A guide leads you through this wonder of nature; you begin the adventure by climbing the mountain to the top. The first stop is at 200 ft; here you can relax a bit in one of the wading pools. It is advisable to wear "pool socks" because sandals and regular sport shoes can make you slip. Always crowded but relaxing, the river’s beach cools you off with mist from the waterfall and waters that originate from the mountains. The scenery reminds you that you're in a tropical paradise, and the waters are said to imbue healing powers.

Jamaica offers a wide range of activities starting from its cultural heritage and ending with reggae rhythms and the famous calypso. The white sand beaches, turquoise waters, exotic jungles, lovely mountainous regions, and flowing rivers represent a perfect place for outdoor activities.

Suggested even by the name, Runaway Bay is ideal for water sports such as kayaks, water-skiing, snorkeling and scuba driving, windsurfing and sailing. If you want to scuba dive in these crystal clear waters, you can rent the equipment. Lessons are available under the supervision of experimented instructors.

Beside water activities you can also rent bikes and take a bike ride, play cricket (after taking a few lessons with an instructor) or golf at Breezes Runaway Bay Resort & Golf Club.

The resorts offer also indoor activities for those who don’t want to stay out in the sun: cards, pool tables, skittle-table, table tennis and backgammon represent other means of relaxing.

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