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May Pen

Parish of Clarendon
May Pen
Type of Location
About Location

May Pen is the capital and largest town in the parish of Clarendon in the Middlesex County, Jamaica. It is located on the Rio Minho river (Jamaica's longest), and is a major market centre for the Parish. The population is estimated at around 60,000, with the surrounding suburbs of Sandy Bay, Mineral Heights, Hazard, Palmers Cross, Denbigh (Race Track), and Four Paths all accounting for an estimted 82,000.The town has a mayor.May Pen was established as a plantation settlement by the British between 1660 and 1683 on a crossing point of the Rio Minho River.May Pen is well located from an administrative point of view in the centre of a largely agricultural parish, and as a midpoint on the Kingston to Manchester road.Boasting a large open air market and transportation centre along Main Street and Sevens Road, the town's centre is often chaotic with activities of shoppers, vendors daily and motorized traffic. May Pen also has many banks, hardware stores, pharmarcies and eateries, including "Juicy Beef Patties".The town also has a large post office and court house.May Pen has no universities, but does have several public and private schools, including Central High School, Denbigh High School, Glenmuir High School (Anglican), Glenmuir Preparatory School (Anglican primary), May Pen High School (private), May Pen Primary School, and St. Thomas Moore Preparatory School (Catholic primary).

May Pen is also an important citrus packing centre, famous for 'Trout Hall' oranges and a hybrid citrus fruit called an ugli.The Denbigh Agricultural Showground is located approximately three miles west of the centre of the town.May Pen's geographical position is situated at near the centre of the entire island.May Pen has long been viewed as one of Jamaica's most important agriculture towns. During its heyday of Jamaica Bauxite Mining, Citrus and Sugar productions, Clarendon was among Jamaica leading parishes in economic activity.With the now defunct (Jamaica Railway Corporation) May Pen which had served as the crossroads of Jamaica natural resources, connecting FrankField and its Citrus in the north of the parish, with Lionel Town and its sugar production in the South.[clarification needed] The Alcoa mining and refinery in partnership with the Jamaican government (Jamalco), located south of the town, is the single largest employer of the town,and along with Trout Hall Citrus.The Denbigh Agircultural Show Ground is the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean, and has served to promote regional farmers agriculture, textile and livestock production.Held annually during Jamaica's Independence Celebration weekend, Denbigh often attracted large crowds from all parts of the island to see Jamaica's best in show and enjoy festive activities.It is the birthplace of reggae and ska singer Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, frontman for Toots & the Maytals.

How to Reach

By Air

The closest major airport is Tinson Pen Aerodrome (KTP / MKTP). This airport has domestic flights from Kingston, Jamaica and is about 43 km from the center of May Pen, Jamaica.Another major airport is Norman Manley International Airport (KIN / MKJP), which has international and domestic flights from Kingston, Jamaica and is 48 km from May Pen, Jamaica.

By Bus

The transportation center is on Main St, 200m southeast of the main square.You can catch buses, minibuses and route taxis here to Christiana, Spanish Town, Kingston, Ocho Rios, Mandeville, Negril, Milk River and most other destinations in the region.

Key places to visit
Halse Hall, Denbigh Agricultural Show, Mayfield Falls, James Bond Beach


Places to Visit

Halse Hall

This is a handsome great house, on the B12, 5km south of May Pen, situated up on a hillock with commanding views.After the English invasion in 1655, the land was granted to Major Thomas Halse, who built the house on an old Spanish foundation and whose grave is behind the house in a small cemetery. For a time the house was occupied by Sir Hans Sloane, the famous doctor and botanist, whose collection of Jamaican flora and fauna formed the nucleus of what later became the Natural History Museum in London. Today, it is owned by the bauxite concern, Alcoa Minerals, which uses it for conferences and social functions. To take a tour call and ask for Mrs Chambers.

Denbigh Agricultural Show

The annual Denbigh Agricultural Show is held on the Denbigh Showground, 3km west of town, on Independence weekend in early August. Farmers from each parish display the fruits of their labors, from yams to livestock. Live entertainment and food vendors round out the bill. For information, contact the Jamaica Agricultural Society.

Mayfield Falls

Situated on a five-acre property, Mayfield Falls is a great spot for camping, hiking and picnicking. Other activities include cliff jumping, cave diving, relaxing in one of the natural Jacuzzis and enjoying a massage.The staff at Mayfield Falls welcomes everyone.At Mayfield Falls, visitors are taught local folk dances and how to prepare local dishes with spices and herbs.Rate includes transfer, entrance fee, tour and lunch.

James Bond Beach

Located just 20 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Ocho Rios, James Bond Beach is spectacular, beautiful beaches surrounded by crystal clear water on three sides and an amazing backdrop; the lush mountains of St Mary reaching straight down to the sea. James Bond Beach is well known for the fabulous fresh fish and seafood served at the two-storey Moonraker "Jamaican" Bar & Grill.The fish is so fresh we let you pick which one you want to eat! If you are looking for a little excitement James Bond Beach also offers the ultimate guided waverunner tours. The tours riders pass the famous Golden Eye, where Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond novels then pass on to UB40's home and some of the most breathtaking views that can only be seen on a personal watercraft. Additionally James Bond Beach is the home to many large international and local concerts, such as the Bob Marley Tribute, Sashi, and coming this summer a big show presented by Island/DefJam. Give us a call to see what special events we may be hosting.

Right Time to Visit

August - December
March - July


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