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by Venesha Johnson| Associate
If one was to ask what Manchester, Jamaica is known for, the answer to that question would most definitely NOT be the beaches or rivers. Aside from being the haven for retirees and returning residents, there isn't much else that would appeal to a non-Jamaican. Back in the day, it was the centre of bauxite mining.
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Now its major town, Mandeville, is known for its cool weather, extravagant homes and many, many car marts that have such great deals that people travel from almost anywhere in Jamaica to make their car purchases.
But non of these reasons have much appeal to the yearly visitors we get to the island. The beach is far more appealing. And just by saying that, I feel I can anticipate your next question, "Are there beaches in Manchester?". If I was correct, then your answer is yes, of course there are. Jamaica is surrounded by the sea and there is a beach or beaches in every single parish, as there are no parishes that are inland, each parish has a coastline.
However, unlike the beaches in St. James, Hanover, St. Ann, Westmoreland and so many other parishes, the beaches in Manchester are not as popular and not as big.
There are only two beaches in Manchester. Here is a little bit about them.
Sea Riv is another name for the Alligator Pond River. In the parish of Manchester on Jamaica's southcentral coast, lies a fishing community called Alligator Pond. Alligator Pond's shoreline, in contrast to the tourist-focused coasts to the north of the country, is equally about labour and play.
Here, fishermen launch their boats to collect some of the island's most highly prized fish, while women handle the wholesale business of the catch. The sand's edge is lined with weathered restaurants and pubs that serve standard fare like curried goat and Red Stripe beer.
A seafood restaurant called The Little Ochie is housed in a number of beachside huts, some of which are constructed from old fishing boat hulls and have thatched roofs. It has increased in size to accommodate several hundred people and draws customers from all over, including several tour groups.
Sea Riv is situated in Alligator Pond, a neighbourhood bordering St. Elizabeth on Manchester's southernmost point. In fact, many Jamaicans were mistakenly taught at one point that the parish of Manchester doesn't have any rivers, hence it's frequently argued that the village is in St. Elizabeth.
Visiting Sea Riv is comes at no cost! There are a few benches and even a run-down bathroom/changing room available for $50JMD per person. The Don Figueroa Mountain range, which is shaped like an alligator's back when seen from the beach, is the source of the name Alligator Pond. However, there are no alligators in Jamaica; only crocodiles.
In Manchester, Jamaica, there is a river, a beach, and a tiny hamlet collectively known as the Gut River. Locals claim that the name comes from the German word for good.
This mostly underground river emerges into a deep, clean pool about 200 meters from the ocean. Accessible from the road is the swimming and diving pool with natural fresh water.
The beach is accessible by wading along the river and is located in the midst of Long Bay, Manchester, a 20-mile stretch of mostly desolate black sand.
There is a commercial beach property on the east bank of the river that has bar amenities. It can get busy on holidays but is typically fairly calm and allows access to the beach and the river mouth without wading. There is private property on the west bank. The hamlet appears to have no more than ten houses.
It has been debated in the past that Treasure Beach, a popular stretch of beaches in the Manchester's neighbouring parish of St. Elizabeth, is actually a part of Manchester. However, that was laid to rest and it was confirmed that it is not.
Treasure beach is especially known for its black sand beaches and is a major attraction on the island. So, in addition to the two beaches in Manchester, you can add these nearby beaches in Treasure Beach to the list to visit as well.
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