Looking for a peaceful, tranquil getaway in Jamaica? Do consider Tapioca Village Retreat! A hidden gem in Devon Pen, St. Mary, Jamaica (East of St. Ann or North West of Kingston).
I was invited to stop by and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, It was great fun - especially since our (my family) visit coincided with the Jamaica50 special event they were having there - sponsored by the Lions Club of St. Mary.
Tapioca is not a resort, nor is it a posh hotel accommodation, but its as 'reeeeeal Jamaican' as you get!
Immediately upon entry we were greeted by the bubbling Errol Sinclair, proprietor. His warm and genuine personality set the tone for the rest of our stay.
By the way,they don't have wireless internet for guests as yet, but he volunteered to loan me his USB modem - quite a man!
Right after settling down, Mr. Sinclair started what became an
informal tour. He took us (we were joined by another family from
Kingston) around, showing the many interesting aspects of this little gem in the rural town of Devon Pen, St. Mary.
Among the other demonstrations, was taking us up to the spring, that supplies the property with all their water needs. The water is pumped from that spring, treated and distributed throughout the property.
According to him, there is at least 30,000 gallons of water that sits below that surface at any point in time!
By the way, I recognized that there were a few groups of campers spending time Not only do they host several school and church groups on weekends, many local schools make it a part of their educational retreat as well. One of their camping dorms actually house up to 40 persons.
Outside of the general ambient setting, the spring and flora, I noted a host of Jamaican fruits. Among them were,
coconut,and of course...
Other amenities include a lazy pool, table tennis board, pool table, and a tuck shop -just in case you forget those essentials.
So what impressed me most about Tapioca Village Retreat?
Just the general quaint and cozy feel, the ambiance, the history, and the friendly and supporting staff - including 'solgie' and the boss (Mr. Sinclair) himself.
It's truly the other side of Jamaica. If you adore nature, you'll love it here!
The Town Square
By the way, later in the evening we took a tour of the city square, 'Friendship Gap'. I was very impressed by the array of local food they had there.
Individual stalls had their own, but some of the dishes I noted were jerk pork, jerk chicken, corn soup, cow's skin soup, red peas and peanut soup, festivals and fried sprats (fish).
Marsha (our baby sister) savored the jerk pork (above) while my wife and I had peanut soup and crispy fried sprats!
Day 2 - The Jamaica50 Celebration Event
I was awaken by all the buzz of the Jamaica 50 activities that were getting started. Before you know it we were in the pic of things!
Having a hearty Jamaican breakfast; mine was roasted breadfruit with salted mackerel 'run-dung', a traditional Jamaican favorite! Tea was hot Jamaican chocolate, the same original steaming Jamaican one - where the creamy oil settles on the top!
We had other traditional Jamaican delicacies as well, including
duckuno (blue draws) and cornmeal pudding. I had a few jelly coconuts myself - quite a few :-) I even had a hand of dominoes and ludo!
So lot's of eating and fun while the DJ's entertained!
Traditional Jamaican Items
There were lots of old time Jamaican items on display as well.
How about A Video?
Sure! Here are some of the beautiful photos we managed to take, packaged into a video! Click on the 'play' symbol (below) to get it started.
Trip Well Spent
It was a trip well spent! The Jamaica50 event was just the icing on the cake, Tapioca is certainly a hidden gem, especially to the nature lovers and those who are looking for a break, some tranquility and connection with nature!
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