Wed | Nov 14, 2018

Jamwest - an adventure park driven by automotives

Published:Sunday | August 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMKareem LaTouche Automotives Coordinator
The most scenic part of the ATV tour is driving against the seashore.
The one-seater dune bug is a favourite for many persons.
Ian Gordon, with his vast automotive background, spearheaded the assembling of his own tour tucks to ensure they were durable and comfortable.
The inspiration for the owl design on their tour bus came from the fact that the property is home to a lot of birds.
They offer a service that can pick up persons from Negril or Savanna-la-Mar once a reservation has been made.
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Jamwest has steadily become synonymous with racing. However, there is also a thriving attraction park on the 300-plus acres of land that is located in the interior of Westmoreland. To visit this beauty, most persons will have to travel a far distance, which the proprietors are aware of. Hence, they have incorporated several means of transportation for persons to access the property.

"We have a good relationship with Knutsford Express, which is very convenient for persons who want to visit us from Kingston or MoBay. The bus will drop them off in Negril or Savanna-la-Mar, and our bus will pick them up once there is a reservation," disclosed Shyiann Gordon, managing director.

Once persons have arrived, they are brought to the clubhouse, which is surrounded by the gift shop and dining area. There, the host talks about the various activities that are available, most of which include automotives of some kind.

 

Creating their own tour vehicle

 

One of the favourite options is the Safari Tour, which is done in a vehicle that is decorated at the front to look like an owl, while the side is plastered with the Jamwest logo. "I came up with the concept because I wanted our tour vehicles to blend with the environment, and as you know, we have a lot of birds on property, hence the design on the front," shared Gordon.

Unlike traditional tour vehicles that are usually tractors and carriages that give a very harsh ride, Jamwest assembled its tour vehicles. "We have a long history in the automotive industry, and so my father spearheaded this project to build our tour vehicles using a Jeep chassis. We wanted something that was different from every other tour, and the only way to accomplish this was to do our own thing," Gordon said.

This is an achievement that she is very proud of as she continued, "We have got calls from other tourist attractions that want us to make similar vehicles for them, especially for the passenger section, which we designed and built."

The rear is designed with padded seats and a canopy to protect passengers from the sun. Once everyone is seated, the tour guide, Aston, who is also a botanist, sets up his microphone and speaker apparatus.

"In the past, persons would come here for racing, and afterwards, they would be bored, so we started looking for other things to develop. We discovered there were two natural ponds on the property, so we decided to develop the area into an attraction for the entire family to enjoy," stated Gordon.

The 90-minute tour carries persons through various wetlands where they get to see exotic reptiles along with learning about the habitat that is home to over 90 species of birds. There are two major stops along the tour where persons get to interact with the elements of nature. This includes the Jamaica Boa snake, which is endemic to the island, and the Chinese Duck. Both can be seen at a section of the tour called Little Jack, which is a wetland area that has a boardwalk that leads to a lake.

 

Getting active with the ATV

 

To get the adrenaline pumping, the automatic Polaris ATV quad bikes and dune buggies are well tuned and easy to manoeuvre. At first, everyone gets a helmet with a visor and a safety tutorial, which is expected to be taken seriously as the crew has a no-tolerance rule for anyone trying to do any tricks on the machines.

"Because our tour path is very winding and challenging, we have to take safety very seriously. We have a very extensive testing area to ensure persons can manage the vehicles. If anyone is struggling, they can become a pillion passenger on any of our tour guide vehicles," disclosed Gordon.

When the tour starts, persons must prepare for a lot of dust as they journey through the sinuous pathway that includes a lot of red dirt and rocks. Fortunately, the suspensions of the ATVs are very good at absorbing bumps, which should be a relief to persons who suffer from back pains. Periodically, the lead tour guide will look around to see if anyone is struggling or not following the rules.

The most scenic part of the journey happens when the ATVs are driven along the sea shore with the cool breeze blowing against your face. There is also a quick rest stop then a 'U-turn' in the sand towards a section of the property that has a 15-metre man-made water puddle. Luckily, it is not high enough to wet anyone's shoes.

Once the tour is over, persons are covered with dust. However, for all the enjoyment, is worth it.

Who is it for: families and adventure enthusiasts.

Insider tip: The day will be long and tiring, hence it is best to find a reasonably priced hotel or guest house close by.

What to carry: Long-sleeve shirt for the excess dust, head wrap and a handkerchief.

Standout personalities: Aston and Metro

Contact: marketing@jamwest.com, 876-475-7588, 876-805-7702