Beginning in 1936, this was a working plantation producing pimentos, allspice, and limes, all of it held together by its Scotland-born owner, Sir Harold Mitchell, who died in 1983. Since his death, its 405 hectares (1,000 acres) have been maintained as an eco-sensitive destination for tour groups, who climb into jitneys for 90-minute jaunts through the rolling highlands of its fertile terrain. If you opt to come here, you won't be alone: Some of the trees on the property bear signs indicating that they were planted by, among others, Winston Churchill, Henry Kissinger, Charlie Chaplin, Pierre Trudeau, Noël Coward, Edward Heath, and (incongruously) movie star Drew Barrymore. The sprawling property passes through several different climate zones; takes you high enough for sweeping views out toward the point where Christopher Columbus was shipwrecked for more than a year during his fourth visit to the new world in the 1500s; passes a colony of (caged) African ostriches; and meanders through fields devoted, respectively, to sugar cane, coffee, and chocolate. Within semi-private compounds on the property is a semi-military boy's academy. (Prospect Academy, established as a philanthropic act in 1956 by Sir Harold Mitchell, maintains one of the most stringent academic curriculums in Jamaica.) There is also the gracefully proportioned Prospect Chapel, a non-denominational church fashioned from limestone and timber derived from the acreage nearby. A visit to this property is an educational, relaxing, and enjoyable experience. You'll learn about and see pimento (allspice), bananas, cassava, sugar cane, coffee, cocoa, coconut, pineapple, and the famous leucaena ("Tree of Life"). You'll even see Jamaica's first hydroelectric plant, imported from Canada in 1939 by the plantation's founder, and sample some of the exotic fruit and drinks at the big, tipi-shaped bar and gift shop near each tour's point of origin.
Horseback riding, costing US$70 per person for 1 1/2 hours, is available for adults on three scenic trails at Prospect. Dolphin Cove Tours runs a jitney bus tour to the plantation from the center of Ocho Rios Monday to Saturday at 10:30am, 2pm, and 3:30pm.