My brother Jim and I sit atop a narrow bamboo raft as our guide, Desmond, easily navigates the s-curves on Jamaica’s Great River. We listen to the high-pitched call of the yellow banana quit bird as we float under a green mosaic of ferns, banana trees, and thickets of bamboo that climb the banks of this sinuous waterway like ivy climbs a wall. Occasionally we pass other guides, Rastamen with long dreadlocks, walking their raft back upstream which can take an hour or longer. To pass the time, they sing spirituals. I’ve been to Jamaica more than a half-dozen times in the past decade and running the rivers is my favorite pastime away from the beach. Whether riding a tube down the White River under a canopy of green or rafting on the Rio Grande River, which starts in the mountains behind the town of Port Antonio, this is the Jamaica I think of when Bob Marley sings the refrain from his song, Three Little Birds. “Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing gonna be all right.”
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.