Heading into the Big, Bad Blues (and Beyond)

One Week in Jamaica
Rafting the old-school way, aboard bamboo on Jamaica's Rio Grande (Carl Purcell, Index Stock)

Day 1:
Arrive in Kingston and head north to the Caribbean’s highest mountain range, the Blue Mountains. A variety of small hamlets offer a wide array of different lodging options; stay in your choice of lodges or camp at Portland Gap. If you’re set on a summit of Blue Mountain Peak, take advantage of one of the hostels in Penlyne Castle.

Day 2:
Head for Penlyne Castle and spend the day hiking the 14-mile route up the Caribbean’s tallest mountain, 7,402-foot Blue Mountain Peak.

Day 3:
Head to Port Antonio on the northern coast and bike from the Nonsuch Caves—14 limestone chambers bristling with stalagmites and stalagtites—to the surreal Blue Lagoon for a cool dip. Then return to Port Antonio for snorkeling, kayaking, and beach lounging.

Days 4-5:
Paddle down the Rio Grande aboard a bamboo raft to the southern coast.

Day 6:
Head overland to Ocho Rio to climb and swim Dunn’s River Falls, an impressive 600 feet of terraced waterfalls.

Day 7:
Return overland to Kingston.

Getting Around:
There are domestic flights between most major cities in Jamaica. Buses and minibuses access everything, from the smallest of hamlets to the largest cities—but don’t expect any sort of Western schedule. The buses are seldom on time and always crowded. But it’s also a great way to meet locals. A number of car-for-hire and taxi services are available, as are rental cars and motorcycles. But if you decide to pilot yourself across Jamaica, be prepared for some serious combat driving: be patient and don’t take anything too personally.

Published: 25 Jun 2004 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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