Conquering Blue Mountain Peak: Part 1 of 2

Clocking 7,402ft. (2,256m) above sea level, Blue Mountain Peak is Jamaica’s highest point. It majestically towers over the entire nation and its waters. The Peak forms part of the Blue and John Crow Mountain National Park (BJCMNP) in the eastern corner of the island, and holds the proud title of Jamaica’s first UNESCO world heritage site which it achieved in 2015.

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Somerset Falls, Portland

Somerset Falls in Hope Bay, Portland is a series of picturesque cascades meandering through the lush green backdrop of a tropical rainforest. The falls run through an old indigo and spice plantation, but the property bears no semblance to its former purpose today.

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Bob Marley Museum, Saint Andrew

Jamaica is the birthplace of globally renowned reggae singer, songwriter and guitarist Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley. He bought a house at 56 Hope Road in Liguanea, St. Andrew in 1975 and it was his home until his death in 1981 from metastatic melanoma. Six years later his wife Rita Marley converted the property into a museum to celebrate the life and treasures of her late husband. Thirty years later it has welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests- many in awe, thirsty for knowledge, or the simply curious. I first visited in March 2017 with a mixture of all 3.

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Rockfort Mineral Bath, Kingston

Besides therapeutic mineral-rich water at the Rockfort Mineral Bath in Kingston, the property houses historical ruins of an old fort. Rockfort was first fortified in 1694 as protection against possible French invasion from Saint-Domingue. This was done to augment Port Royal’s fortification which was badly damaged 2 years earlier in the infamous Port Royal earthquake of 1692. Therefore, I’m puzzled as to why this attraction is only marketed as a mineral bath.

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Harmonious Enjoyment Garden, Saint Andrew

The Harmonious Enjoyment Garden, referred to simply as the ‘Chinese Garden’, is a gift to Jamaica from the Chinese government, situated inside the Royal Botanical Gardens (Hope Gardens) in Saint Andrew. There was no better time than Thursday January 26th to visit because the unexpected tranquility restored my spirits, one clinical rotation down and three exams later. As mentioned in my bucket list, I’ve been to the Hope Gardens countless times. I find green spaces rejuvenating in the busy heart of city life. However, the Harmonious Enjoyment Garden is new to me, and felt like another world.

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Bucket List Jamaica 2017

17 in ’17. Make some bucket list goals which are pocket-friendly and doable. It is useless to have a long list of places entirely out of current reach. I have Marrakech and Madrid goals too but for now, here are 17 places in Jamaica to which I’ve never been and will try to visit for 2017. Some of them I’m ashamed to have never visited 🙈🙈🙈. I mean, I’ve lived here all my life.

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Bowden Hill Falls, Saint Andrew

Bowden Hill Waterfall, a.k.a. Falling Edge Falls, is nestled away in the rural community of Stony Hills. This area receives very high rainfall annually, making it a suitable site for catchment facility the Hermitage Dam and Reservoir. If you’ve ever wanted to see one of the two notorious corporate area reservoirs, consider this killing two birds with one stone. Nothing I’d found online mentally prepared me for my adventure on the 30.12.16, but I owe previous blogs many thanks for ensuring I was prepared with sneakers (phew! because I usually approach water bodies in flip-flops). I nearly didn’t see the falls today because I didn’t realize how very far apart the reservoir and falls are. I’ll describe the trails as best I can, for anyone choosing to quench their wanderlust with this treasure.

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Reggae Falls, Saint Thomas

Reggae Falls, a.k.a. Dam Head, is a jewel tucked away in the hilly rural community of Hillside, Saint Thomas (what an aptly named district!). This waterfall is not entirely natural as many years ago, the Johnson River which supplies it was being developed to power a hydroelectricity station. The project suffered some damage from a hurricane early in development, leading to its abandonment. However, its aesthetic appeal has not gone unnoticed by residents of the community nor dry land tourists* like myself, who are its main patrons. My only visit thus far was in January 2016. Its waters are touted to have healing properties due to its sulphur content. It is currently not commercialized and I hope it develops, once its ownership remains in local hands.

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Cane River Falls, Saint Andrew

I first heard about this beauty in an article I read last year on little-known Jamaican waterfalls. I never thought it would be so easy to find until travel blogger Zoe featured it on her website, which I found by chance. The way she outlined her journey made it pretty easy to replicate. Thus, I inveigled my boyfriend and travel buddy to accompany me on Friday December 16th to find it.

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