Jamaica June 2009: 5 – A Stop in Rio Bueno

I thought I wrote this post years ago, but didn’t. Maybe it got lost in my blog move a couple of years back. Hmm.¬†

I had to make my way from Kingston to Montego Bay to fly out, so I decided to have Ricardo drive me to Duncans Bay where I’d spend my last night before leaving.

Bye and thanks to T and we were off. It was not a weekday so we went through downtown, by the harbor.

The gantry cranes were cool. And large.

After downtown, we came to the new highway toll plaza.

Oh hi ūüôā

Choices to be made…

Hellshire one day – not today though. We head toward Ochi.

And into the mountains.

Of course Flat Bridge is backed up. It almost always is.

At least there is stuff to look at while we wait.

Really green, sheer mountainsides.

The Rio Cobre…

It always seems kind of muddy, running high or low.

It would be fun to find the source, one day.

Hello north coast!

I’m always looking for something new to check out on the way. We’d done Faith’s Pen last time so I decided to check out Rio Bueno on the north coast, I’d never been. It’s off the main north coast highway, though the old one used to pass through the new one does not. That makes the town a little sleepy, being literally off the beaten path now.

My friend Lee had suggested a place to stop but this being Sunday it was closed. Instead, we stopped at the Lobster Bowl¬†restaurant, attached to the¬†Rio Bueno Hotel .¬†I didn’t notice that sign on the bottom.

Yes that’s US pricing. It’s not cheap, but we just had some soup, which was delicious.

The decor is like Jamaica meets Maine Coast.

There’s a variety of places to sit, all really lovely. ¬†Outside –

Inside –

…and what’s that? Sort of inside but really outside?

Like Goldilocks said, it was JUST RIGHT. ¬†We sat here. (That’s Ricardo. HI!)

After lunch I walked over to the hotel to check it out while Ricardo retired to the car for a quick nap.

See the neat wood chairs?

Pretty gardens.


Little did I know, this entire place is owned by a gentleman named Joe James. Mr. James owns the entire thing, converted it from an old wharf building. ¬†As I wandered around, he appeared and gave me a tour of the hotel and his art gallery. ¬†I didn’t photograph the art, but I did take a few photos of the hotel.

Looking into a bedroom from the porch.

Looking out from that porch.

A common area. The whole place has really interesting art on walls and around.

It’s set on a lovely, quiet cove.

Backed by mountains.

I found this lovely blog post about him, and this place, written by a relative.  Who she describes is definitely the man I met, who I stood and talked with for nearly an hour on this visit. Fascinating man, very friendly.

You should check it out, his story is fascinating.

As she writes (and I wholeheartedly agree): 

Come¬†to Rio Bueno, Trelawny¬†for the serenity, the 22 room hotel,¬†owned by¬†Joe James ¬†is quiet in a sublime way. The forced seclusion was brought¬† about by the new highway bypassing the old one, the life blood of local entrepreneurs.¬†However, ¬†it is also an opportunity to¬†leave behind your beds on the beach in Negril, the parties of Ocho Rios and ¬†the craziness of Kingston.¬†This complex retains the ambiance that allows not only¬†artists, but sun seekers¬†to thrive far from the ‚Äúmadding crowds ignoble strife.‚ÄĚ Inquire about art classes here, as this¬†is a place where your creative juices will flow.

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