Blue Mountains Sustainable Tourism Programme
“The Blue Mountains Experience”
The goal of this programme is, “to deliver a high quality, world-class tourism destination that supports local communities and enhances conservation of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and its environs”.
Located over 900 metres (3,000 feet) above sea-level in the cool, tropical mist forests of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, Holywell (pronounced Hollywell) is the perfect escape from the heat and stress of city life. Just an hour's drive from New Kingston, it is the largest recreation area within the National Park, and the closest to the capital.
The Blue Mountain Peak Trail (final ascent from Portland Gap) is a 5.6 km (3.5 mile) hike, taking approximately 2 to 3 hours. It ends at the famous Blue Mountain Peak, the highest peak in the island (2,256m). Portland Gap is the last rest stop and overnight stop for the hiker looking to conquer Jamaica's highest point. It is a recreational area, which offers very rustic accommodation in beautiful natural surroundings for the nature lover.
Clydesdale is an old coffee farm and processing factory. The site was used by the Forestry Department as a nursery, however with insufficient resources, the buildings and grounds have become run-down. There is a river with a large pool suitable for swimming, and the site is a favourite with youth groups such as cadets. The road from the community of Section/Silver Hill (just below Holywell on the Portland side) is very rough. Despite the condition of the site, there are still visitors, mainly school groups – particularly Cadets. The Forestry Department has some plans for re-developing the site however, the road will require significant attention.
Cinchona is a botanical garden established about a century ago by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Garden Division. The Cinchona trees grown there were used for the production of quinine which was used to treat malaria. There is a caretaker who maintains the grounds but the infrastructure is in very poor condition. The road from Clydesdale to Cinchona can only be accessed with 4WD and even then requires very skillful driving. The Ministry of Agriculture has some plans for re-developing this site, however the road and its maintenance will be a critical issue.