Chukka at White River: different and memorable
Leave it to Chukka to find venues of attraction in some of Jamaica's most remote places, where the vegetation is lush and the commute is interesting. This is the premise on which their White River location is established in the hills of St Mary.
The most common and simplest part of the journey is to find Ocho Rios square in St Ann and, from there, head to St Mary. While on this main road, look for a left turn, which takes you to a town called Exchange, where the road is smooth and the direction is straightforward. However, after about 20 minutes is when things get a little tricky as the road narrows and the terrain becomes very rocky. A mid-size SUV with a high ground clearance is a great vehicle for this situation. There is also the option of using a tour guide's vehicle, which is usually posted at one of the town's resorts.
From this point, the road is meant for single-lane traffic, hence drivers will have to stick close to their sides of the road and toot their horns before approaching corners. While driving, there are Chukka signs at intersections to direct drivers to the right path. After another 15 minutes of driving, the destination is on the right with a guarded entrance gate and Dune Bugs parked on the outskirts.
Once at the checkpoint, the atmosphere set by the staff is upbeat and entertaining with jokes and lively music. It is also where all the safety regulations are stated before boarding a shuttle bus to the starting point for the river tubing.
The excitement of Tubing
Keep in mind that the water is a bit chilly, however, the body usually acclimates to it very quickly. It is also best enjoyed with participants functioning as a team by helping each other, when possible, with the forming a tube chain. This can be achieved by holding onto the handles on each tube to ensure everybody goes in one direction.
The river channel gives a perfect view of the beautiful trees that thrive on the water source, which makes persons feel close and in sync with nature for the 45-minute journey. The flow of the water varies at points. The calmer phases can be used to meditate and relax, while the fast-paced phases are filled with excitement and screams.
The tour guide stays at the back to see everyone and helps those who are struggling while giving a history of Jamaica and singing folk songs.
The meandering channel of the river showcases the uniqueness of nature and how it has evolved over the years in a manner that can sustain and entertain mankind.
The journey takes participants back to the Chukka venue, where they exit the tube, then climb some stairs and head to the zip lining meeting point.
This is where all the safety equipment are fitted and regulations are explained, after which, an uphill journey takes persons to the highest zip lining point. At first, the height is a bit intimidating, however, once seated in the harness, it feels more comfortable and relieves some apprehension.
It is also recommended that persons look ahead rather than down and be mindful of the photographer's spots.
The penultimate zip line is a long one and will need a lot of momentum to reach the finishing point. So, ensure to get a strong push from the initial point. Lightweight persons usually complete 90 per cent of the distance and then pull themselves to the finish line or have one of the willing tour guides assist in accomplishing this.
What to know before you go:
- Try to do the early morning tour, as it usually starts to rain at about 12:30 p.m..
- The staff, headed by Alyssa Green, is very friendly and lively.
- Carry a snack to eat in between activities. There is no need, however, to bring food as the bar and restaurant offer good service.
- Phone reception in not very good because of the remote location.
- Avoid Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as these are days when guest from the docked ships visit.
- $11,036 per adult for the zip line and river tubing.
- $20,956 per adult for the zip line, river tubing, dune buggy and Blue Hole.
- $16,120 per adult for zip line, river tubing and Blue Hole.
- $14,880 per adult for tubing and Blue Hole.
- River tubing, Blue Hole, dune buggy and zip line.
What to do
- If you have a strong stamina, you can do all four activities. However, I recommend doing only two activities.
How to prepare
- Bring a waterproof case for your phone. It will come in very handy when tubing on the river. Also wear water shoes that cover your toes and clothes that are easy to dry.
Preferred age group
- Teens and adults, exclude the very young and very old.
Who is it ideal for
- This is a great activity for families or young couples.
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org, 656-8026
*calculated at an exchange rate of $125