Maryland, Saint Andrew

It always amazes me how close the ‘country’ is to our beloved city of Kingston. As a city girl, I often quip that I must’ve been from the country in a past life because I look forward to escaping the hustle and bustle every chance I get. The verdant mist-covered hills, breathtaking valleys and meandering rivers and waterfalls of rural Jamaica are more my scene. Papine is a small bustling town which marks the gateway of the Blue Mountains, Jamaica’s largest and most important mountain range. This mountain range is world renowned for Blue Mountain coffee, a brand of coffee which is as unique to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica as champagne is to Champagne, France, and is grown on steep inhospitable slopes between 3,500 and 5,500 ft. above sea level. Its tallest peak is the Blue Mountain Peak in Portland which towers at 7,402ft (2,256m) above sea level. Hiking to Blue Mountain Peak is still my most favourite adventure to date, but requires at least two days’ commitment. When pressed for time, I make do with exploring the more accessible parts of this mountain range instead and one such community worth exploring is Maryland, a rural district four miles north of Papine.

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Guide To The Blue Mountains of Jamaica

My favourite corner of Jamaica is the Blue Mountains. This commanding mountain range spans four parishes in the eastern end of the island and was recognized as Jamaica’s first UNESCO world heritage site in 2015. The Blue Mountains are an ecotourist’s paradise with an abundance of conifers, ferns, bromeliads and endemic birds not seen in most other parts of the country. There’s also quite a lot to see, taste and do in these rugged hillsides, so let Adventures from Elle be your guide to this magnetic Jamaican destination which is still relatively unexplored in comparison to the island’s resort towns.

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Holywell, Saint Andrew

Located in the tropical mist forests of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (BJCMNP), Holywell (pronounced Hollywell) is a cool escape from Kingston’s heat. This 330-acres “park within a park” is blessed by the fragrance of fresh mountain air and pine trees, and at 900m (3,000 ft.) above sea level, the cool temperature allows Holywell’s ecosystem to support a wide variety of ferns, flowers, and trees which are rarely seen in other parts of Jamaica. Many Jamaican birds call this forest home, including all 30 of Jamaica’s endemic birds!

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How to Visit Blue Mountain Peak: Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2-part series. This post covers the Blue Mountain peak, day 2 descent, tips and additional info on how to conquer the peak safely and affordably. Part 1 covered the ascent. Completing my track analogy from last week, the peak trail would be GO! 🏁

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