Relaxing in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica

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A downside of living in the Cayman Islands is that I always miss the mountains. There are few areas in the Caribbean with proper mountains where I can get my mountain fix. Fortunately, the Blue Mountains in Jamaica offer beautiful mountains that are comparable in greenery to what you would find in Central America. Even more fortunate is this is only a half hour flight away!

Located a 45 minute drive from Kingston is the Blue Mountain National Park. This park offers lush mountains with stunning views of the ocean.

We stayed in Strawberry Hill a boutique hotel with 12 luxury cottages that take advantage of the gorgeous surroundings to offer panoramic views.

Since this was a weekend getaway that was more on the relaxed side we decided to leave the strenuous hiking trails for another time. There’s a hiking trail to the summit of the blue mountains which reaches a height of 7402 feet which is impressive for the Caribbean. Most tours to the summit start at 1: oo AM so you arrive at the summit for the sunrise. This type of hiking is actually not my speed. I would rather go alone without a big group of people at a normal hour to make a day of hiking while enjoying beautiful views while going up and down. I also think that hiking in the dark is a fairly stupid notion. I’ve broken my foot once and I don’t want to repeat that scenario. This 8 hour round-trip summit hike is what I plan on doing next time I return to this area.

In the meantime, we drove around the mountains, did a lot of scenic stops, did some small hiking to a nearby blue mountain coffee plantation. We also did a daytrip to the city of Kingston.

There’s not much to see in Kingston and you can probably skip the city. They have so little tourists that there is no real infrastructure for tourism. You can stop at the National Heroes Park for some pictures, take a few pictures at the Emancipation Park, or stop at the Bob Marley Museum and that’s about it. I’m glad I saw Kingston (we had a local drive us around) but I would not give it a ringing endorsement. I think the Blue Mountains are a much better offering.

The side of the Blue Mountains that faces Kingston has so few tourists that it allows you to stroll around the mountains without seeing anyone else. If Kingston is easily accessible to you this is a splendid way to spend a few days. If you plan on staying in this area you should take up hiking otherwise you’ll run out of entertainment options unless you want to stay at a boutique hotel and enjoy the SPA amenities.

One thing that our location at Strawberry Hill had to offer was some of the most stunning sunsets. I’m spoiled every day with beautiful sunsets but these were really special.

 

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