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Rio Grande Jamaica

By Dave Birney

Read about Rafting the Rio Grande in the book "Rasta Heart"

While in Port Antonio be sure to consider a raft trip down the Rio Grande. From the launch point it is about a 3 hour leisurely float down river to the sea. Sit back and relax on the bamboo bench while the captain aggressively poles the raft, guiding it through the tricky spots, working very hard in order to arrive in a timely manner. This is a great family rafting experience, exciting but safe!

It still takes some time to arrive and there are opportunities to stop at a sandbar replete with food and drink stalls. Or to pull over and purchase a Red Stripe from local women who happen to bring coolers stocked with ice and drinks to the rivers edge along with their daily washing.

Our elderly captain regaled us with stories of poling Errol Flynn down the river, every day, twice on Sunday always with a different female guest, and with plenty of refreshments. We tipped our captain generously for the great effort he extolled and the sunny disposition he presented.

With the amount of captains now available they have gone from several rafting trips a day to several a week. Their pay is low and the tips are very appreciated. An interesting note is to observe the apprentices whose job it is to pull the rafts back up the river, a very thankless job. We observed one young man pulling two rafts.

A good hint we had was to travel to the rafting trip terminus, purchase your ticket there and they will provide a reasonable priced taxi to the launch point.


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Riverboat captain assertively poling, his calves with muscles bulging
Captain 1-2-3, that's my number

Rasta in camoflage outfit and orange and white tam, waving at the camera
Mokko gets a ride down the Rio Grande


Two travelers and one rasta on a raft, family rafting trip
Enjoying the beauty

Two travelers and one rasta being poled downriver on bamboo raft. bike on the back of the raft
Raft down, bike up!


Cascading greenery
Riverside scene

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On screen, Errol Flynn was a swashbuckling, romantic adventurer. Off screen he loved rafting the Rio Grande. Learn more about him in these DVDs.