"Fern Gully" Top 5 Page for this destination Ocho Rios Off The Beaten Path Tip by toonsarah
Ocho Rios Off The Beaten Path: 17 reviews and 41 photos
If you enter Ocho Rios from the south, e.g. coming from Kingston as we did, you’ll probably drive through Fern Gully, a rocky gorge of tremendous depth which zigzags for about four miles from the coast up to the central mountain area of the island. The road here is lined with tropical ferns (over 500 species) and the kind of foliage usually only found in a tropical rain forest. In the deepest parts of the gorge, only faint dapples of sunshine penetrate through the thick foliage and the temperature is about ten degrees cooler than outside. We were told by Dave that when he was a child the foliage met overhead in an unbroken tunnel and no light at all got through. In recent years however the fumes from the constant traffic have started to inhibit growth and even kill some of the plants. In an attempt to halt the damage trucks and lorries have been banned from driving on this road, but the alternative route is longer so many disobey as we saw ourselves. There is even talk of banning all traffic and restricting access to cyclists and walkers, but locals seem to be opposed to this as they would lose one of the main routes to and from town.
While the future of Fern Gully remains to be resolved, it is certainly a sight worth seeing, though to do so other than from your car will probably necessitate a stop at one of the several souvenir vendors along the road as there is otherwise nowhere else to pull over. Alternatively you might like to stop at the top of the gorge as we did, where this colourful drink shack made a great photo opportunity.
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