Jamaica‘s mountainous landscape has created many beautiful, natural attractions that the island has become known for. Many of these attractions are low-lying and located in the popular tourist towns of Kingston, Ocho Rios, and Negril. The island also has a few natural treasures hidden in the rural areas or nestled in mountains. Here are a few of those beautiful, hidden gems.
The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica and feature majestic scenery and cool temperatures. Access to the mountains involves hiking on one of the many trails to the peak, but once you get there, you will be glad you did it. The Blue Mountains feature the Holywell Recreational Park, a popular camping spot among locals, as well as cozy inns that are nestled in the hills for those who want to escape the bustle of the towns.
Believed to be a former Taino settlement, Konoko Falls is one of the island’s well-kept secrets. The property is located in the emerald hills of St. Ann, overlooking Ocho Rios. Guests can spend their day relaxing at the 600-feet, cascading waterfalls and gardens, or get a history lesson on the Taino Indians at the museum where rare artifacts, maps, and pictures are held. There is also a gift shop and a mini zoo on the grounds.
Cockpit Country is Jamaica’s largest rainforest and a protected area in Trelawny and St. Elizabeth. The steep ridges and valleys formed in the area make it one of the most challenging places in Jamaica to hike, but the views it offers are absolutely worth it. Cockpit Country has the highest concentration of plants and unique species anywhere on the island, and is ideal for birdwatchers and lovers of nature.
Following the path of dirt and gravel will lead you to a hidden paradise in St. Thomas. Reggae Falls, located near Seaforth, is the result of an abandoned hydro-electric plant. The beautiful waterfall cascades several feet to the Johnson River, where locals go to swim and splash around. One important feature of the Falls is the section where warm water springs from a rock. According to the locals, the warm water can be used to heal wounds because of the sulfur.
Fifteen minutes by boat from Port Royal is Lime Cay—the largest of many small cays off the coast of Port Royal. Lime Cay is uninhabitable by humans but once the weather is clear, locals and tourists travel to explore, swim, sunbathe, and snorkel. The beautiful beach is the location of some of the largest beach and yacht parties in Kingston.
Located at the end of the Palisadoes, at the mouth of the Kingston Harbour, is Port Royal, one of the Caribbean’s oldest and most historic cities. The city was founded in 1518 and once had the reputation of being the richest and wickedest city in the world! Port Royal is home to many of Kingston’s most popular landmarks, including the famous Giddy House, Fort Charles, the Fort Charles Museum, and the underwater pirate city that sunk as a result of the famous earthquake in 1692.
Blue Hole, Ocho Rios
Blue Hole is not to be confused with Blue Lagoon in Portland. The natural wonder is an unofficial tourist attraction nestled in the mountains above Ocho Rios. The deep cavern, featuring swimming pools and waterfalls, gets its name from the beautiful deep hue of the water. With no vendors to haggle with you, no queues or lines, all that’s left is for guests to surround themselves with the beautiful scenery and pouring waterfalls.