Spanning three parishes, Portland, St. Andrew, and St. Thomas, the Jamaican Blue Mountain is one of the islands most magnificent treasures and home to many unique animals and plants. It is the largest mountain in the English speaking Caribbean, taking up to six percent of the total landmass of the island. It has over 800 species of endemic plants and holds the world’s second largest butterflies, the Homerus, and has over 200 species of resident and migrant birds. It holds 500 species of flowering plants, one being the Chusquea abietifolio which blooms once every 33 years (2017 next flowering). The Blue Mountain is also home to the world’s most renown coffee, The Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.
GETTING TO THE BLUE MOUNTAIN PEAK
There is a seven mile hike to the peak lasting anywhere from three to five hours. The tour takes you through pastoral towns that give you a feel of what real Jamaican rural life is about, instead of what you experience in the tourist resorts. There are a profuse amount of scenic trails that can take you to the peak of the Jamaica Blue Mountain; therefore you should choose carefully based on your liking.
FUN WAYS TO HIKE
There are some hikes that provide you with the chance to raft such as the Lower Rio Grande Valley Hike, while there are others that take you through and pass rivers but do not offer rafting opportunities. These include the Charles Town & C18th Coffee Estate Historical Hike and the hike from Ecclesdown to Reich falls. Both these sights are famous for bird watching. There is the Cedar Valley & Holywell Hike. These hikes are chosen base on the hikers’ preference of how long you wish to hike and if you wish to stop at a coffee farm. All these hikes listed thus far are one day hikes but if you love camping you may find a tour guide to take you on a weekend excursion of the mountains.
The mountain with all its wonders provides a test to those who are adventurous and daring enough to take it. The hike can be taken by anyone; once you are healthy enough. The mountain however, is said to either make or break relationships. As my tour guide pointed out, a person’s true character will be shown during the hike. You can take the time hiking to get to know a new love or rekindle a dying relationship but be warned, tempers might flare because when it gets to a point where you feel you want to turn back and your tour guide pushes you on you might just get frustrated but do not worry it doesn’t last.
A hike in the mountains is not exclusive to anyone person; it is for everyone. So the next time you feel inclined to take a vacation, take a Jamaica Blue Mountain holiday and experience one of the best wonders the world has to offer.