Croydon Plantation in the Catadupa Mountains of St. James, owes its reputation to pineapples and coffee, as well as its connection to national hero, Samuel Sharpe. Sharpe was born a slave in 1801 at Croydon and became a Baptist preacher. In December 1831, Sharpe organized a peaceful protest at plantations in the western end of the island that turned into the largest rebellion on the island. It took the military two weeks to end the rebellion, which by then had caused hundreds of deaths. They captured the leaders, including Sharpe, who was hanged in 1832.
A few months ago, a friend and I boarded the tour bus that would take us on the hour-long drive from Freeport, Montego Bay to Catadupa. Our guide kept us entertained with stories and jokes that sometimes it was easy to ignore the bumps on the windy mountain road. Note: if you get car sick easily and want to do this tour, think about riding in the back of the bus and away from the windows.
At Croydon Plantation, which stretches 132 acres, we learned about the different varieties of pineapples – Ripley, Guyana, Cowboy, Sugar – that are grown there. The best part? We got to taste them.
We did a lot of tasting and smelling on the walk from the coffee station, where our guide demonstrated how the beans are harvested, to the main area where we had lunch. Our tour guide pointed out jackfruits, grapefruits, star fruits, limes, sugarcane, sweetsop, and other fruits, herbs and spices.
The tour ended with a delicious lunch of jerk chicken, rice and peas and salad. It was followed by a short presentation by one of the owners.
In recognition of Sam Sharpe’s connection to Croydon Plantation, the owners have placed statues of the national hero on the grounds. Similar sculptures can also be seen in Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay.
Croydon Plantation Particulars
Tours are conducted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Cost: $70, includes the tour, lunch and roundtrip transportation. 876-979-8267.
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