The Blue Mountains are one of the most popular natural attractions on the island of Jamaica. They are also a major draw for nature enthusiasts. The Blue Mountains create the longest mountain range on the island of Jamaica and constitute one of the longest continuous mountain ranges in the Caribbean. Blue Mountain Peak is the highest peak on Jamaica and rises an impressive 7,402 feet (2,256 meters) above sea level. The mountains get their name from a layer of mist that shrouds the peaks and gives the mountains their bluish tint.
Shrouded almost perpetually by mists that give their bluish color, the Blue Mountain range spans the eastern region of Jamaica and offers views of the island’s north and south coasts. On a clear day, you can see across the Caribbean all the way to Haiti and Cuba from the peak. There are hundreds of paths leading throughout the region, the most popular being the 7-mile (11.3-kilometer) hiking trail that leads up to the top of Blue Mountain Peak.
The Blue Mountain region is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna including Jamaica’s national tree, the Blue Mahoe; and the giant swallowtail, the second-largest butterfly in the world. The Blue Mountains were once completely forested. The lower slopes have since been cleared for farming, with the most popular export from the Blue Mountains being Jamaica’s famous gourmet Blue Mountain Coffee. The world famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is farmed between 2000 and 5000 feet above sea level in very rich soil. This coffee is considered to be one of the best in the world.
The Blue Mountains are a popular destination for hikers. Many of the popular trails are easy to follow with signs every step of the way. There are hiking trails for varying skill levels. Short trails are suited for those who would rather a nice easy stroll among the flora and fauna and longer trails for those who like to be more physically challenged. Some areas of the path are flat, whereas, other areas have rocky gravel that make it slightly more difficult to walk. You can hire a guide or join a group tour if you are a less experienced hiker. It is safest to hike in the Blue Mountains during the dry period from December to April. During the rainy season, numerous, rapidly flowing rivers create floods and landslides.
The Blue Mountains can be approached from various points along the coastal main road, but the most popular route is from the capital city of Kingston. Buses travel between the major towns and mini-buses connect towns to villages. Most hotels can easily arrange a day trip to the Blue Mountains through their travel desk. However, more planning is required for those wanting to spend more than a day as arrangements must be made in advance