Not sure what to do on your trip in Jamaica other than lay on their beautiful beaches? Rafting down Martha Brae River should definitely be added to your list!
Thank you to the Jamaica Tourist Board for hosting our stay in Jamaica. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me!
Before you ask, no you do not have to man your own raft unless you really want to (which let’s be honest, I very much enjoyed not having to do so myself because it is hard!). ? Moving on, let me share my rafting experience down Martha Brae River and you can see for yourself if you want to check it out.
Before the rafting
Before we headed down to where the rafts where, my travel companions and I wandered by the area and chatted with the gentlemen who were building the rafts. From our short chat, he broke down how the rafts were made! Each raft are 30 feet long and to make it, they must harvest the bamboo. Bamboo is a tropical grass that takes around 18 months for it to grow thick and long enough to be turned into a raft (at a rate of 2-3 inches a day!). The bamboo takes 2-3 weeks to dry and go from green to brown which is when they’re ready to be made into rafts. Using a machete, they make holes in the bamboo to connect them. After the rafts are made, the rafts can be used up to 5-6 months before they must be replaced due to water logging.
After our chat, we took a short walk to where the bar is located – you get a free fruit juice or water – where you can listen to a lovely musician or check out the gift shop as your rafting captain gets your raft ready. You can see below in the vlog of the musician’s performance. (Bonus, there was also a puppy nearby that we got to pet!)
The Rafting Adventure!
Each rafts holds up to two people so this is perfect if you’re heading out as a couple or with your BFF. Getting in the raft, I was a bit hesitant because I had my camera and phone and I had seen photos of people looking wet on Instagram but do not worry, I stayed as dry as dry can be – even when I took over paddling the raft. Definitely did not fall in like I did paddling boarding a few mornings ago haha.
Thanks to Annette for trusting me to head up the front of the raft for a bit haha.
Throughout the 3 mile ride, our raft captain, Wayne, was amazing and pretty much gave me the most informative rafting experience I’ve ever had. He pointed out the mango trees along the river, the herrings that hung around, bananas trees, and more!
Did you know that banana trees are one time use?! Well I didn’t! Wayne explained to us on our raft ride that it takes a banana tree around 9 months to grow and then they’re cut down to be regrown after they’ve gotten the bananas!
Another fun fact that Wayne taught us was that despite there being 4 different colours of coconuts trees hanging around, they all taste the same. Guess Mother Nature is all about that #aesthetic.
There were so many cool plants and animals he pointed out along the way, it was quite nice to be able to see everything first hand in the “wild.” For a close up of their version of the venus fly trap, that a look at the vlog down below!
The rafting experience wasn’t bumpy, it was a smooth ride throughout. I read online though that you’re able to actually leave the raft to swim alongside it! While I didn’t try that, that’s an option for you if you decide to go down that route.
After the Rafting
Our rafter showed us a gorgeous gourd that he had hand craved and let us know that they were for sale after the ride.
Overall, I very much enjoyed my ride down the river. It’s something that I think you should try at least once as it was a pleasant experience rafting down the river while learning about the rafts, plants, and animals. You know how much I love learning about wildlife!
Tips for rafting down Martha Brae River:
- Bring lots of bug spray. You’re literally on top of the river so it’s wise to have some protection.
- Wear a swimsuit underneath if you’re worried about getting wet or if you’re considering a dip. Better to have one on than not!
- Ask when they’re less busy – we went in the morning so we were the only ones there which meant no one would photo bomb our pictures ha
For more information, you can check out their website! Check out my travel diary vlog below for some footage of the ride, the plants, and more! (Don’t forget to watch in HD).
Let’s Chat! Have you ever been on a bamboo raft? Would you go on one?
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