On May 4, 1494, Christopher Columbus arrived at the island of Jamaica. The Columbus Park in Discovery Bay marks the spot where Columbus is said to have put his foot when he first came to Jamaica.
Decorated with cannons and maritime artefacts this small park is a heavy tourist’s gatherer from all places interested in the history of Jamaica. Columbus Park is an attractive three-acre (1.2-hectare) garden in scenic Discovery Bay in the St. Ann area.
One of the most scenic natural harbours in the Caribbean, Discovery Bay was renamed in 1947 to commemorate the place where it was once thought that Christopher Columbus first made his mark on Jamaican soil.
Columbus Park is an open-air museum facility featuring various Columbian and Colonial artefacts. Since Columbus, many others have discovered the beauty of Discovery Bay, and over the years a small town has developed around the bay area.
On one side of the bay lies the Kaiser Bauxite Company’s wharf and Columbus Park, which overlooks the azure cove from the western end. On the other side are various private homes, resorts and the family-oriented Puerto-Seco beach, with perfect white sand and relaxing appeal can only be described as breathtaking.
Once, it was thought that Discovery Bay was the place that Columbus first landed in Jamaica, and that was the town’s claim to fame. Today, historians have proven otherwise, but Discovery Bay can now hold its own as a charming town resting on the edge of an exquisite notch of the Jamaican coastline.
When visiting Discovery Bay a stop at Columbus Park is essential. All the artefacts on display there were recovered by the Kaiser Bauxite Company in the process of excavating in and around the Discovery Bay or St Ann area.
These artefacts include a section of a sugar estate aqueduct, 18th century cannons, sugar boiling coppers and a lime mill. The eastern side of the bay is rimmed with white-sand beaches.
With its soft sand and limpid waters, Puerto Seco Beach, in the centre of town, is a real charmer. Open to the public, it sports rustic eateries and bars and a fun park with a waterslide for kids not interested in sun-tanning.
The Columbus Museum explores the history and impact of that landing, along with the pre-colonial history of Jamaica’s indigenous people. From Arawak canoes to sugarcane milling, nautical relics and cannons, the open-air museum overlooking the harbour at Discovery Bay is littered with fascinating artefacts from Jamaica’s past.
In addition to Columbus Park, St. Ann can claim a strong connection to the Italian explorer. He spent a year in the parish in 1503 after a ship wreck. It was during this time that the first Spanish settlement, Sevilla la Nueva, was established. Near Seville, as it is now known, is the only statue of Columbus on the island?
The museum has recently been remodelled and now includes a bar and a branch of the popular jerk restaurant “Scotchies”. There are also ambitious plans to further develop the museum in the future.