As the longest mountain range in Jamaica, and one of the largest in the Caribbean, the Blue Mountains of Jamaica are extraordinary, spectacular and imposing.
ABOUT THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
- The Blue Mountains are the Longest Mountain Range In Jamaica and dominate the Eastern side of the island.
- The steep gradients and varied relief produce cool surroundings amidst the tropical vegetation.
- Jamaica’s highest point is the Blue Mountain Peak, which stands 2256m above sea level, and is nestled in the heart of the range.
- Blue Mountain Peak has views of both the North of the island (Buff Bay and Port Antonios Navy Island) as well as the South (Kingston, Portmore and St Thomas’ coast).
- On a clear day hikers can see Cuba which is 210km away, from the summit.
- A large part of the mountains are located within the Blue Mountain John Crow National Park, which is maintained and conserved by the government, ensuring the protection of its natural beauty.
- The Blue Mountains are named after the deep azure haze that lingers around their peaks.
HIKING THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
These stunning elevations that form the panoramic vistas of Jamaica, are truly a hiker and campers paradise. Visitors can undertake the challenging but memorable experience of ascending the Blue Mountain Peak Trail, which finishes at the summit where the views are completely indescribable.
The 14 mile peak trail takes around 7 hours, and is split evenly between the ascent and descent. Experts and locals alike will advise you to start the trail early in the morning to take advantage of the cool, soothing climate and to give you enough time to complete the journey during daylight hours. For these reasons, it is also advisable to try the hike during the Dry Season which runs from December to April.
One of the elements that contributes to the National Parks stunning beauty, is its slight inaccessibility. You will need a 4 wheel drive to get to the starting point near Whitfield Hall, but rest assured your Luxury Villa Concierge will be able to handle all the finer details, like car rental, on your behalf.
The trail itself is very well marked, with a shady and well-formed path. Half way up the ascent (3 miles from the peak) is the Portland Gap Recreation Area. Here you will find outdoor toilets, showers and kitchen facilities that are available for visitor use and basic accommodation to rent if you are planning an overnight stay.
As the Blue Mountain National Park is government owned, funds are needed to maintain the trail, and are a legal requirement for hikers to pay. The Peak Trail is US$5 per person for non-residents but donations are also gratefully accepted. This fee can be paid at the JCDT Office before your ascent and conditions apply.
WHAT TO WEAR
It is critically important when planning any outdoor excursion (and in particular hikes/trails) to make sure that you are properly equipped and sensibly dressed, to adapt to your environment. We recommend the following essentials to make sure you can fully enjoy your ascent to the blue skies:
- Warm Clothing – This might sound strange in such a warm climate, but the summit has been known to drop below freezing.
- Rain Gear – To protect against the wet weather and humidity.
- Flash Lights & Back-Up Batteries
- Comfortable & Sturdy Walking Boots – a MUST.
- Water Bottles
FLORA AND FAUNA
During your visit to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, you witness some of the most incredible, varied wildlife imaginable that are native to this beautiful island. During your journey, make sure to look out for the following very special birds (although there are over 200 species that live there!):
- The Doctor Bird (A member of the hummingbird family, with a bright green chest and black tufts at the extremities).
- The Jamaican Today (A small and colourful bird, predominantly green with a red throat).
- The Mountain Witch (This quail dove has purple wings and cherry-red eyes, and is very hard to spot).
There are also over 500 species of unique flowering plants and huge trees that tower over visitors below. The world’s second-largest butterfly (Homerus Swallowtail) flutters through the forests and there are plenty of other creatures sheltering from the intense sun amongst the foliage.
BLUE MOUNTAIN COFFEE
The rich, nutritious soils of the Blue Mountain slopes make for perfect agricultural conditions, which is why the mountains themselves are so green and tropical. However, another very sought-after crop is grown here, that is lusted after the world over. Coffee.
The famous Blue Mountain Coffee Beans produce the ultimate in gourmet coffees. The sensational taste, richness and smoothness makes this locally grown product a unique culinary wonder. With a complete lack of bitterness, a mild luxuriant quality and an aroma to die-for, this outstanding beverage is the favourite of many baristas the world over.
The reason that this large mountain range can grow such wonderful natural produce is due to it’s complex climate. The beans are grown in a very small area of the mountains that is famed for its perfect, nurturing conditions. Hagley Gap and Mavis Bank are two of the mountains farming communities, and there are Blue Mountain Coffee tours for those looking to learn about the history of this legendary bean.
JAMAICA: THE ISLAND OF ADVENTURE
There is truly an activity to suit everyone on the ‘Island of All Right’. Swim with dolphins, practise your putting on some of the world’s most beautiful golf courses, ride horseback through the surf, take a safari, raft your way down a scenic river, party on some of the best beaches, explore valleys and fern gullys, and discover the cultural history of this unique island during your luxury villa rental. Make your well-earned holiday time the most memorable it can be.
To find out more on your Blue Mountain adventure, we recommend exploring the below websites, which have all the information you will need to ensure your trip is safe and memorable.
Blue and John Crow Mountains
Blue Mountain Peak Trail
We hope you found our guide on the Blue Mountains of Jamaica helpful, we’d love to hear from you about your visit to Jamaica, so please comment below!