The backdrop to Jamaica’s lovely beaches is this large park, featuring lush rainforests scented with the fragrance of coffee plants.
Delight in the clean mountain air and majestic scenery at Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, containing Jamaica’s longest mountain range. Rising steeply up into the clouds, the rainforest here is thick and teems with colorful bird life. Find stunning waterfalls amid its rolling hills.
Learn about where your morning coffee comes from in this famous coffee-growing region. Purchase roasted beans as fresh as they come. Visit one of many different coffee plantations and observe the everyday activities of workers on a coffee farm, continuing a traditional Jamaican way of life.
The sustainability ethos here is strong. The park promotes eco-tourism as a way to support local communities. Within these boundaries are the major recreation areas of Holywell Park and the Portland Gap/Blue Mountain Peak Trail which leads to the summit. Hike to other areas near the park’s borders including the coffee farm of Clydesdale and the Cinchona botanical gardens.
From Blue Mountain Peak, the range’s highest point at 7,400 feet (2,250 meters), view the edges of Jamaica’s island. On a glorious, but rare, clear day, look north to see Cuba. Thick mist gives the mountains their blue color and their famous name.
The trees are concentrated at the tops of the mountains after centuries of forestry and farming. Enjoy hiking, always popular, or try mountain biking. Many of the trails you’ll find were not created for tourists, but resulted from local people making their way around their home landscape.
The whole range is incredibly rich in biodiversity, with hundreds of different species of insects, reptiles, trees and flowering plants growing thickly all around. Look for the fluttering black-and-yellow wings of the Homerus swallowtail butterfly, one of the largest species in the world.
Make your way to the recreation areas or hiking trails with buses, taxis or private tour buses. Begin your hike in the historical military town of Newcastle south of Holywell Park and visit the charming little village of Irish Town.