The highest peak, the longest range, the best coffee—Jamaica’s Blue Mountains rightfully claim a handful of superlatives. The mountain range spans 28 miles (45 kilometers) across the rugged eastern portion of Jamaica and offers views of the island’s north and south coasts, and on a clear day, even all the way across the Caribbean Sea to Cuba.
As with most mountain landscapes, the most obvious way to explore the Blue Mountains is on foot. Take a guided hike through the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site to learn about the mountains’ ecosystem as well as their role in the Maroon Wars. Ambitious hikers will find reward on the 7-mile (11.3-kilometer) trail to Blue Mountain Peak—the highest point in all of Jamaica—while those wanting to skip straight to the view can drive up the mountain in just under an hour. Mountain biking tours take you past gushing waterfalls and over stone bridges, while coffee tours introduce you to the finest coffee in Jamaica from bean to cup.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Blue Mountains are one of the most popular natural attractions in Jamaica and a must-see for nature lovers.
- Temperatures are noticeably cooler in the mountains than at sea level; dress in layers.
- Although it’s possible to hike solo, it is recommended that travelers join a group for safety.
How to Get There
Thanks to Jamaica’s manageable size, you can easily get to the Blue Mountains from just about any part of the island. Guided tours leave from Ocho Rios, Kingston, Montego Bay, and more. If you have your own transportation, you’ll find it is an easy drive. You can also book a taxi or shuttle from Kingston.
When to Get There
The best time to visit the Blue Mountains is outside of the island’s two rainy seasons: around May, and October through November. Dry days promise not only a more pleasant outdoor experience, but also warmer weather and clearer views.
Blue Mountain Coffee
Jamaica’s famous gourmet Blue Mountain Coffee—considered among the best in the world—is now cultivated on the lower slopes of the Blue Mountains, which were once completely forested. The 194,000-acre (78,509-hectare) Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park preserves the remaining forested areas.