FOR A BREAKDOWN OF OUR JOURNEY TO GUTS RIVER PLEASE CONTINUE READING THE BLOG POST BELOW! NUFF MORE IMAGES INCLUDED!
The “Negril Weekend” was over and we were on our way back to Kingston, but of course we had to make time for one more adventure! Enter; Gut River – a river and hamlet that leads out to a beach along the southern coastline of Manchester, Jamaica.
At the start of my day, I had no idea I would be stopping in Manchester, but after leaving Negril earlier than planned I had to make something happen. With a two hour drive from Negril complete and a little help from Google Maps I found myself in Alligator Pond, a small fishing village in Manchester. I had been to Little Ochi Seafood Restaurant before, which is a popular restaurant and bar in Alligator Pond, but I literally had no idea it was so close to Gut River.
The drive out to the river was about 20 minutes from Alligator Pond, and it is estimated to be about 20 miles (16km). That stretch of road between Alligator Pond & Gut River was extremely quiet and deserted, but for the most part the conditions weren’t that bad. There are a few really bad spots where the road breaks away, so be careful if you’re ever on the way out there. During that whole 20 minute drive I saw only one other car! There are no houses or businesses along the way, and the road is narrowly sandwiched between “macka” bushes. The one thing there was a lot of though was goats, who seem to live in their own little harmonious community. ALSO!!! THERE IS NO CELL SERVICE FOR MOST OF THE WAY!
At the first sight of human life I stopped to ask how far we were from the river, but lo and behold we had arrived! Being on the coastline was a plus, because the river is practically located along the roadside. As we parked and walked down the rocky pathway to the river, I realized that this was probably one of the most transparent bodies of water I had ever come across. Basically, the body of the river is formed from an underground spring which leads up to a clear pool of water that continues out into the sea. The main swimming area of Gut River is no bigger than a backyard swimming pool, and so clear that you can see the bottom from the rocks above. Looking in you know it’s deep, and diving headfirst I still couldn’t touch the river bed.
The river is open for anyone’s use, however there is a private property close by, and an older gentleman maintains the area around it and by the river. The river leads out to the sea which can be accessed from that property, but for this trip we didn’t venture that far. Additionally one of the locals told us that there were some underground caves that some people access the spring from, but that journey along with this beach will be for another time.
We spent about an hour at the river and a few more locals passed through briefly, but for the most part we were there alone. Overall, Gut River is definitely in my list of “Top 5” favourite rivers I have ever been to. It’s one of the types of natural attractions I love and definitely want to continue to find; one that is genuinely off the beaten path. Between the journey and the river itself, this trip was definitely one of the adventures I will never forget. I’d advise anyone who is up to the drive to try it out, but a 4WD vehicle would be recommended.
Just a quick heads up though. A friend of mine who now resides in Manchester gave me a bit of insight on the area leading up to Gut River. He told me that there have been reports in the past about the road being a little dangerous. Some time ago there were reports of robberies and drug trades taking place on the deserted stretch of road, but with everything there are seasons and there have not been any reports of activities like that in a while.
When we left, we decided to take an alternate route to Kingston that would lead us through Clarendon, but that part of the road was so bad we turned back and took the original route through Alligator Pond and Manchester. I was really taking my time since I knew how bad some parts of the road were, but after taking one of the final corners and inched closer to Alligator Pond, I got the shock of my life.
I found myself on a very smooth stretch of the road and when I looked out into the sea, I stopped the car immediately (in the middle of the road at that) and got out.
I say these words without hesitation. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in recent times, even nicer than the one I saw in Negril the day before.
Google maps says that this bit of seaside stretch was Green Bay, but it is located between Long Bay and Alligator Pond and is called Long Bay Beach.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I got more than a few.
In closing, Gut River is worth the adventure once you are up for it. You just have to go a little bit down di road to find it.