Last week, David and I escaped the Kingston dust for the luscious Jamaican jungle. Unlike most visitors who travel to Westmoreland, we skipped the famous beaches of Negril (at least for now) and instead settled in for a few days at Camp Cabarita Eco Lodge, located about 20 minutes outside of Savanna la Mar on the Cabarita River.

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We chose to stay at Camp Cabarita for a few reasons. First, after fending for myself in Jamaica since I arrived, I was ready for a little bit of a break, so an all-inclusive option was desirable. Second, I wanted David to have a Jamaican experience, so the conventional resorts like Sandals weren’t going to cut it. Third, it needed to be affordable, as my volunteer stipend doesn’t easily fund luxury travel. An exhaustive search on Trip Advisor turned up this gem, which (still, and at the time of our booking) only had positive reviews.

Our cabin – we had the bottom floor
Waiting for breakfast at the common table in the main hut

Camp Cabarita did not disappoint. As we fell asleep on our first night, lightning bugs danced outside our mosquito net while a symphony of other creatures buzzed and hummed beyond the walls of our cabin. Every meal (heavily plant-based, which was a nice change from the usual meat and starch meals Jamaicans love) was prepared with locally-grown farm to table produce, much of it lovingly grown by the staff in the garden behind the main hut. We drank our weight in house-blended smoothies, coconuts fresh off the tree, and homemade kombucha, flavoured with cinnamon leaves grown on site.

Rice and peas cooking in the main hut
Veggies from the garden ready for our dinner

Unfortunately, David came down with a bit of a bug while we were there, so instead of taking advantage of the more ambitious activities (spearfishing and caving were offered to us during our stay), we relaxed in the hammocks, read books, napped and played in the cool water at Mayfield Falls, a 15 minute walk from our cabin.

Camp Cabarita sometimes hosts wellness retreats and yoga workshops, and I can see why the location is so popular. When you are there, all the stress of the world disappears and life becomes simple and serene.

Some of the 21 multi-drop cascades that make up Mayfield Falls

 The cabins at Camp Cabarita are rustic but new and clean. The peaceful hum of the jungle is often disrupted by reggae music playing at the main hut. The staff smoke home-grown marijuana from dawn to dusk, the way some people drink coffee. It wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice for accommodation, but for the few days we were there, it was heavenly. I can’t wait for more guests to come so that I can take them there and share this gem!

The camp is run by a Rastafarian who grows his own marijuana in the vegetable garden. This straggler was growing from a stump outside our cabin.

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