Besides therapeutic mineral-rich water at the Rockfort Mineral Bath in Kingston, the property houses historical ruins of an old fort. Rockfort was first fortified in 1694 as protection against possible French invasion from Saint-Domingue. This was done to augment Port Royal’s fortification which was badly damaged 2 years earlier in the infamous Port Royal earthquake of 1692. Therefore, I’m puzzled as to why this attraction is only marketed as a mineral bath.
Starting from Half-Way-Tree, capital of neighbouring parish Saint Andrew, my partner and I took a bus headed to Downtown, Kingston. We came off at Parade, an area surrounding the Sir William Grant Park where most buses in Downtown load, and took a route 97 JUTC bus from North Parade. Route 97’s final stop is in Bull Bay but you are coming off way before that. After passing the Jamaica Flour Mills, you can press the buzzer and come off at the next stop. However, the nearest bus stop is further than Rockfort Mineral’s entrance so just ask the driver to let you off at the gate and save yourself unnecessary walking. He or she is usually helpful enough. This drive took about 20 minutes.
The payment booth is a few minutes’ walk from the front entrance, which is manned by a security guard. If you want to access the property without using the pools, general admission is $250 per adult. For access to both the property and pool, a 45-minute dip in the mineral water is $500 per adult and $350 per child or senior citizen. After paying and signing a liability form, you can change into swimwear in their adequate changing facilities, bathrooms and shower. There are no lockers for safekeeping your things, but they can be left in your sight on the covered deck pictured below. Also, there are signs verifying the mineral content of the water. Whether or not it’s therapeutic for your ailments, you be the judge.
The Mineral Bath
Flanked by several blue deckchairs under a covered deck and with scorching sun overhead, cool clear blue water was an inviting sight. The deepest part is 3ft 5in (1.04m), making it suitable for wading or swimming. They have a life guard on duty nonetheless. It’s a fairly large pool; 3 ladies were inside before we arrived but no one got in anyone’s way. It felt as if we had had the pool to ourselves. I welcome every opportunity to work on my swimming, so that was the beauty of finally being in water not too deep, shallow, cold or crowded with onlookers to make me feel self-conscious 🙈. We were allowed an hour since traffic was slow that day, then lounged on deckchairs before exploring some more.
Rest of the Grounds
There is a grassy field and benches surrounding a quaint little stream and fishpond. You can feed the fish if you like; we did. It was cute how fast they gobbled up the cracker crumbs.
Here are the Rockfort ruins:
It’s a pity they aren’t better maintained. Jamaica, like almost anywhere, has a rich colourful history to which I think both Jamaican citizens and visitors alike should be exposed. I’m not talking an in depth history lesson here; a mere overview of our colonial and slavery past is sufficient, since one will never understand Jamaican culture until they can appreciate our past. Anyway, the deserted archways, cannons and weaponry storehouses (not armed of course) will take you back a few hundred years to Jamaica’s colonial past.
I’m glad to finally have visited the Rockfort Mineral Bath. It’s a decent place to spend some time in Kingston. I recommend this to the solo traveller who is cautious about his/her safety. However, I give it ☆☆☆ 3 of 5 stars because I think the mineral bath could have been developed to look somewhat authentic. . . This is my first time to a mineral bath, but I expected a more natural look. It has been developed to look like an ordinary pool, rather than what it is- a naturally occurring mineral spring. Also, the fort ruins need better preservation for their historical significance.
***The prices mentioned earlier are in Jamaican dollars (JMD). At the time of writing this article, the exchange rate of USD to JMD is US$1=JM$128.96. Also, I featured Rockfort Mineral Spring as #2 on January 9th in my 2017 bucket list. So this is 2 down, 15 to go. 😊 ‘Til next time. ✌