Jamaica‘s natural landscape features mountains that cover more than half the island, gushing waterfalls, winding rivers, caverns and caves and, of course, over 200 miles of sandy beaches. This dramatic geographical mix provides some of the most beautiful views of any island in the Caribbean. As is usually the case with views, one must make the trek to the top to experience them. Here are the top five places in Jamaica to go hiking for breathtaking views.
One Love Trail
For a stunning view of the tourist town of Ocho Rios, hike up the mountains via the One Love Trail. A paved, roadside walkway with sea views, the trail runs from the centre of Ocho Rios to the surrounding attractions. Start at the Island Village shopping and entertainment complex adjacent to the cruise ship pier and get to Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin Cove.
Blue Mountains Peak Trail
Ascending from the Portland Gap in St. Thomas, the Blue Mountains Peak Trail should take you approximately three hours. There you will get to experience the cool temperatures and stunning natural landscape Jamaica’s highest peak boasts. Coffee lovers will especially love this trail, as en route to the peak is the Clifton Mount Estate – one of the plantations that is home to Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain Coffee.
Hidden deep in the Dolphin Head Mountains near Westmoreland, Mayfield Falls is one of Jamaica’s natural gems and offers one of the most refreshing hikes on the island, as well as breathtaking views of the west coast. The climb can take from 45 minutes up to several hours, depending on your starting point. With two waterfalls, natural pools, and plenty of tropical plants, birds and butterflies, Mayfield Falls is absolutely worth the climb.
John Crow Mountains
The John Crow mountain range on the eastern side of the island is a nature lover’s paradise. The mountains join at the eastern end of the Blue Mountains, peaking at 3750 feet (1143 metres). There you will come across exotic birds, beautiful trees and flowers that call the John Crow forest their home. Resting at any point en route to the peak will offer you an amazing view of St. Thomas, Portland and the Rio Grande River.
Cockpit Country Trails
Located on the northwestern part of the island, Cockpit Country is the most challenging area for hiking in Jamaica. The Troy Trail and the Quick Step Trail that lead to Cockpit Country are not easy to find, so a local guide is essential. Once you make your way over the area’s hilly terrain, you’ll discover a haven ideal for birdwatchers and plant lovers and a stunning view of Trelawny and St. Elizabeth.