Community Tourism in the Blue and John Crow Mountains

This is a recommended tour itinerary that we have created for you to truly experience Jamaica.

Your community tourism adventure will explore Jamaica’s only national park, the Blue and John Crow Mountains BJCMNP. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, BJMNP is a biodiversity hotspot ideal for nature seekers. It includes Jamaica’s highest point – the Blue Mountain Peak at 2,256 meters (7,401 feet). BJCMNP boasts over 15 kilometers (9 miles) of hiking trails, the largest butterfly in the western hemisphere, hundreds of flowering plants and birds, and countless waterfalls. The Park is also the historic home of the Windward Maroons. Maroons were once enslaved and other Africans who ran away or escaped from their masters or owners beginning from the 17th century. They are the first ‘keepers of the forest’ and a distinct ethnic community with its own unique language, cuisine, laws, and lifestyle. Learn about the people and places of this most special region of Jamaica in the company of expert local guides who are born and raised in their local area. Who understand and are passionate about the people, places, and culture of their communities.

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Day 1 Pre Tour: Kingston Free Day

Today you will have a free day to recover from your international flight. At your own pace, you can explore Kingston, the capital and considered to be the cultural heartbeat of Jamaica. In 2015 UNESCO designated it a Creative City of Music for its world-class music scene, from reggae to mento, ska, dub, rocksteady, and dancehall. The Bob Marley Museum is located in the late musician’s former home and recording studio. The recently Peter Tosh Museum celebrates the activist and reggae legend who was a core of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Trench Town Culture Yard, where Marley spent much of his early music career, is the birthplace of many famous songs such as No Woman No Cry. Kingston also has a growing local food movement and other cultures and nature attractions such as the colonial-era Devon House mansion and the Hope Botanical Gardens.

Accommodation: in the Kingston area.

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Days 2 & 3: Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and World Heritage Site

For the first two days, you will get out and experience a UNESCO World Heritage site, a biodiversity hotspot ideal for nature seekers. Find fascination as local guides show you the park's secrets—the Blue Mountain Peak, trails and more trails, green valleys, beautiful views, coffee farms and unique plants, animals and birds.
Getting there: BCJCMNP is located about a 1.5-hour drive from Kingston.
Accommodation: Holywell Recreation Area offers comfy rustic cabins, including fireplaces. At Portland Gap Recreation area, very basic accommodation is available in two cabins with bunk beds or floor sleeping space. 
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Days 4 & 5: Charles Town Community

For the next two days, you will visit Charles Town Community & Charles Town Maroon Museum and Asafu Yard in Portland Parish. Here, you will experience the best of traditional and contemporary Maroon culture and legacies. You will be able to live like a Maroon for a moment!
Getting there: From the Holywell Recreational Area of BJCMNP, the drive to Charles Town is about 1.5-hours. From the Portland Gap Recreation, the drive is about 3.5 to 4 hours.
Accommodation: Very basic cabin accommodation and homestays with community members are available. There are many guest houses and hotels in the area which you can self-book, some of which are listed below. Port Antonio is about one hour away.

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Day 6 & 7 Ambassabeth Ecolodge: Rich Rural Life, Maroon Culture and Conservation in the Rio Grande Valley

Your destination for the next two days is the Ambassabeth Ecolodge in the verdant Rio Grande River Valley in St. Thomas Parish. Here, you will get a unique experience of Jamaican rural life and the authentic historic and modern-day culture of the Windward Maroon community. Experience remote beauty and amazing biodiversity. Visit the Giant Swallowtail Buttery Sanctuary. Hike mountain trails for a physical challenge, swim in pristine waters and look for rare and endemic birds, plants and animals. Eat fresh tasty Jamaican Maroon
food.
Getting there: Ambassabeth is located about a 2-hour drive from Charles Town. The road is paved most of the way to Comfort Castle but in poor condition. Shortly after Comfort Castle, the road ends and you must drive down a country track for about 3 miles to reach Ambassabeth. Transportation can be arranged with local taxi guide drivers. Costs are negotiated directly with drivers.
Accommodation: Ambassabeth offers rustic cabins and we recommend you spend the night. The accommodation is very basic but the tradeoff is a six-star wilderness. The cabins boast spectacular views of the surrounding Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site.

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