• Jacqueline Cameron

The 10 Best Eye-Dazzling Natural Attractions in Jamaica You Can’t Miss (Part 2)

Jamaica Attractions, Jamaican People, Best Beaches


Known as the "birthplace of reggae," Jamaica will charm you with its cinematic sunsets; postcard-precision beaches; turquoise seas; lush, green mountains; colorful coral reefs; fascinating rainforests; and calming rivers. In this amazing Caribbean paradise you will understand what true happiness is. Ready for a good dose of splendor?


Nature lovers will find plenty of things to do in Jamaica. You can hike and bird-watch in the jungle, or dive and snorkel along the fringing reefs. Jamaica is also renowned for its many historic plantations, where you can sample tropical fruits and tour the grand great houses.


Lively Montego Bay is one of the most popular resort towns. Ocho Rios is the island's major port of call for cruise ships, and Negril is famous for its long and lazy beach lined with clear waters and coconut palms. Ecotourists love peaceful Port Antonio, thanks to its proximity to the spectacular Blue Mountains.


I am Jamaican and I love the experience of visiting Jamaica’s natural attractions such as Frenchman’s Cove Resort Beach. Last May, I visited there, and the beauty, the splendor, the tranquility of the Beach gave me such a boost and refreshing that I will make time to visit our attractions regularly and I invite you to do so too… Nourish your body and soul!


The Blue Lagoon


The Blue Lagoon, Portland, Jamaica

The Blue Lagoon, also called Blue Hole, is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Jamaica, featuring clear, turquoise waters surrounded by lush greenery . A world-famous attraction, the lagoon is rumored to be bottomless but is about 200 feet (61 metres) deep . The Blue Lagoon, located in Port Antonio, is a popular travel destination for families and honeymooners.


The blue-and-green water is cool due to hundreds of tiny, underground mineral springs. Guests enjoy diving into the lagoon or swinging off the tree vines. The Blue Lagoon is picture-worthy, especially if you’re a nature-lover. The water in the lagoon changes color depending on the time of day and the brightness of the sun.

The Blue Lagoon was one of the several locations chosen to shoot the 1980 acclaimed and controversial Brooke Shields movie, "The Blue Lagoon." Due to the movie’s popularity, the Blue Hole has taken on the name, "Blue Lagoon." Also, it has been the site for other popular movies, such as “Club Paradise” with the late Robin Williams.


The water in Blue Lagoon is a mix of fresh water and salt water, as the lagoon is open to the sea and fed by freshwater springs. If you decide to take a dip in the lagoon, you’ll notice the alternating temperatures (the warmth of the Caribbean Sea and the icy cold waters of the underground streams), which is a unique experience.

Activities

In the day, it is possible to take a dip, snorkel, or get a boat ride.

Cost

Most people who visit Blue Lagoon say that it is an interesting and beautiful place to visit. The boat tours are well worth the cost, which is around US$30, or about J$3000 JMD. Otherwise, this is a free landmark as there is no entrance fee.


Some visitors complain the tours aren’t very long and since the restaurant was damaged in a hurricane, there isn’t much to keep them entertained. However, if you can be entertained by the pure beauty of one of the world’s natural wonders, you will likely enjoy this trip.


What to Bring

While visiting the Blue Lagoon, you want to bring as little as possible. If you decide to swim, you’ll need to stash your stuff somewhere and you wouldn’t want to risk losing valuable items.

· Camera

· Towels

· Pocket Money

· Always travel with insect repellent.


These items should fit into a tote or duffel bag for easy carrying.


Distance

If you’re staying in Kingston or Ocho Rios, it will take about 2 hours to travel to the Blue Lagoon. From Montego Bay, it will take about 3 and a half hours. It’s almost 5 hours from Negril.


The Blue Lagoon should be on your to-do list anytime you’re in Jamaica. You can also contact us if you need direction on where to stay around Blue Lagoon.


The Blue and Johncrow Mountains


Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour

The Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park spans about 200,000 acres of tropical rainforest. Located on the Eastern side of Jamaica, the area stretches through the mountain slopes of four parishes – St. Andrew, Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary. The range was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2015 due to its unique and diverse flora and fauna, much of it endemic to Jamaica. Magnificently undeveloped, this mountain paradise is best explored on foot. Hiking the Blue Mountains is one of the most rewarding experiences to be had in Jamaica.


The peak of the Blue Mountain sits at a majestic 2,256 meters (7,402 feet). It is dramatic as it is possible to view the sea from the top (and from several points on the hike up there). This elevation has a dramatic effect on the climate which is usually several degrees cooler and much damper than at sea level. So, it is possible to leave Kingston or the coast wearing shorts, and needing a coat, cap and umbrella long before the summit. Regardless of fitness levels, there is something for everyone in the Blue Mountains, and indeed everyone should make time to visit this area of outstanding natural beauty.


The Blue Mountains is considered both a hiker’s and a camper’s paradise because of its’ magnificent scenery and tons of fun-filled activities available. There are even a few hostels and inns nestled in the hills that cater to hikers and campers who want to stay overnight or rest. The Blue Mountains is also home to the world-famous Blue Mountain Coffee Estate which guests can tour.


It is a must-visit site for those planning to go for a vacation in Jamaica as there is a lot to be explored. These mountains are home to more than 800 species of endemic plants, the world’s second largest butterfly and 200 species of resident and migrant birds.

Notable scenery in the mountain ranges include natural springs and waterfalls with swimming spots. You can also visit the Rastafarian village, Maroon heritage sites, and wind up your evening by dining at the ultra deluxe resorts. There is something for everyone - just select the activities which appeal to you.

Depending on how deep you intend to explore, you can choose to hike or bike to get a first-hand feel of nature at its best. Nonetheless, there are also some wild tracks for those who may opt to have a road trip.


Blue Mountain Coffee Experience

You will be picked up at time agreed on in a comfortable bus to your destination. The hike is approximately 7 hours - the weather might prevent certain activities. Contact us for more information Please note that this tour may be cancelled or rescheduled if the smallest group size is not met.


Scenic Blue Mountain Tour from Port Antonio

A hike up Jamaica's tallest peak may seem daunting, but with a guide in the lead to ensure your comfort and safety, you can focus on the scenery of the Blue Mountains. Lace up your hiking boots and make your way up the 7,200-foot (2,195-meter) Blue Mountain Peak. Learn about the region's geology, flora, and fauna through guided narrative. Take a rest at the top of the peak to enjoy the panoramic views and snap photos.


Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour

A remarkable way to see the island that very few even knew existed. This riding tour takes sightseers down the mountainside and along rolling hills. This is ideal for experiencing the world-famous Jamaican Blue Mountains with its lush, tropical countryside.

Blue Mountain Peak Jamaica Hiking Tours

Explore the World Heritage of the Blue and John Crow Mountains in Jamaica on this hiking tour. Escape the busy city life and explore the cooler side of Jamaica with the most scenic views on the island - diverse flora and fauna, and an abundance of bird species, including the national bird of Jamaica - the "doctor bird." The Blue Mountain Peak Jamaica Hiking Tour is a must for anyone who loves nature and hiking.


Blue Mountain Highlights

Your tour will ensure that you receive roundtrip transportation, brunch and lunch, a guided tour, and safety gear. Guests will travel to a cool starting point in the Blue Mountain on the road described by the New York Times as “One of the best scenic vistas in the Caribbean.” Not only will you learn about Jamaican Culture, but you’ll also enjoy a professional tour guide in the form of your driver. He will stop in the lush tropical rain forest, home of hundreds of species of birds and blossoming plant life giving you a first-hand experience. Enjoy views of the Blue Mountain plantations spread across the mountain side, home of the famous Blue Mountain Coffee, one of the world’s most rare and expensive.


Green Grotto Caves


The Belly of the Grotto (greengrottocavesja.com)

A journey into underworld charm… a cave explorer’s dream... a green cavern of mystery and adventure... a slice of Jamaica’s history… If you are looking for the best attractions in Jamaica, be sure to plan a tour to the Green Grotto Caves.

Privacy and solace are to be found in the Green Grotto Caves, that its rich history can be identified with diverse groups of people including its first inhabitants, the Arawak Indians (Tainos). Proof of this is evident in the many fragments of pottery and artifacts that are unearthed from time to time.


During the 17th Century when the English invaded the island of Jamaica, the Green Grotto Caves were used as a hideout for the Spaniards who were being driven out of the country.

In the mid 20th Century, between the two world wars, they were used by smugglers running arms to Cuba. In the latter years during the Second World War, the Government of Jamaica used the entrance of the cave as a storeroom for rum in barrels.


Known at various times as the Runaway Bay Caves, Cave Hall Caves, Discovery Bay Caves, Dry Harbour Caves, Hopewell Caves, Rum Caves and Dairy Caves, Green Grotto is among Jamaica’s most prominent natural attractions. Over time, the government of Jamaica has recognized the unlimited potential of this marquee of history. So its ownership and operation are in the hands of the Urban Development Corporation and the St Ann Development Company respectively. Since that time the Green Grotto Caves has been transformed into a world class attraction winning Green Globe 21 Certification since 2003 and in 2009 achieving platinum-status certification.

Situated on 25.9 hectares of the island’s beautiful North Coast, the Caves are located between the resort centres of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. They are 3.2 km from Discovery Bay to the west and 4 km from Runaway Bay to the east.

The central feature of this natural attraction is the large labyrinthine limestone cave with its unique rock formations - stalactites, stalagmites and many overhead ceiling pockets, and bats. Green Grotto is 1,525 metres long and 12 metres deep and has many chambers and light holes and a subterranean lake – the Grotto Lake.

While the Green Grotto Caves are amazing to encounter on their own, there’s something fantastic about discovering that these gorgeous rock formations were the location for the filming of the James Bond movie Live and Let Die. Whether you come to stand in the same spot as 007 or to see nature’s best work up close, the Green Grotto Caves won’t disappoint

What To Wear to the Green Grotto Caves?

Wear appropriate attire for this tour, so that you will be safe and comfortable. Attire such as running shoes, and casual clothes, which you don't mind getting a bit dirty in the caves.


How Long is the Green Grotto Tour?

The tour is about 45 minutes to an hour of walking. At one point, you descend over 60 steps to an underground grotto.

A tour of the Green Grotto Caves consists of opportunities to enter two separate caves which are believed to have been dwellings for early tribal inhabitants that called the island of Jamaica home. Many believe that pirates used these caves to hide treasures while rum runners kept liquor safe during prohibition. Natural bridges, stalactites, and stalagmites are intermixed with carved out pathways, allowing guests to tour this incredible natural structure. The rugged roots of trees from above and water pool below give this tour an other worldly feel that’s sure to captivate the mind and imagination.


Where Can you find Green Grotto Caves?

Located in Runaway Bay, the Green Gotto Caves lie between the resort centres of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay but do require a taxi or local guide to reach. Many travelers opt to book a group tour for added insight to the history and geology that makes up this area. Helmets are required to tour the cave.


Rates and Packages

We are open daily from: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm


Entry Fee

Regular Rates:

· Ages 13 years and over: US$20

· Ages 4 – 12 years: US$10 (Payable in Jamaican Dollars at the applicable rate of exchange).


*Rates to Jamaican Residents:

· Ages 13 years and over: J$1,000

· Ages 4 – 12 years: J$500

*Residents required to present one of the following forms of valid identification at the Ticket Office: EITHER Jamaican Driver’s Licence OR National Registration ID( Voter’s ID) OR Local Employment ID.


Noël Coward's Blue Harbour


View of Blue Harbour Villas, Port Maria, Jamaica

This retreat is where the famed playwright and composer entertained the rich and famous of his day. Today it's rented whole or in part to paying guests who appreciate its funky nostalgia. Overlooking Jamaica's scenic north coast, Blue Harbour a lush seven acre estate built in the fifties by Noel Coward the prolific British playwright, songwriter and entertainer, offers the ideal setting for relaxation and recreation. The saltwater swimming pool, gardens and seaside cottages complete this haven where the guestbook included such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Errol Flynn, Marlene Dietrich, Sean Connery, Alec Guinness, Katherine Hepburn, Patricia Neil Noel Cowards friends were drawn to what their host so fondly dubbed "Doctor Jamaica" the creative and restorative island where many completed their painting, musical and literary endeavors.


A True Getaway Vacation in Jamaica

Blue Harbour accommodations are fully staffed and offer lodging so you can come alone or with up to 12 guests. For larger informal groups accommodations can be provided on request. Each room opens to one of the large verandas with sweeping views of the coast and cooling air of the trade winds. Come vacation with us. Swim, explore and delight in native Jamaican cooking. Blue Harbour has preserved the spirit and style of the real Jamaica.


Blue Harbour is a safe, secure, eco-friendly and private holiday destination. Tucked away in the lush tropics, this vacation estate sits right on the water. No other properties in earshot means you can experience the peaceful escape you’ve been looking for.


The property is located in Saint Mary’s Parish on the north coast, twelve miles east of Ocho Rios. Blue Harbour is a historic seven-acre estate with three private vacation villas built by famed British playwright-actor-songwriter-raconteur Noel Coward. The Villas

All three villas serve as your sanctuary for serenity. Each is equipped with a private bathroom and shabby-chic decor.


Imagine closing your eyes, and only being able to feel the warm ocean breeze, only hearing the waves colliding against the corral rock at the water’s edge. That’s what you can look forward to any time day or night from the comfort of the villa rentals.


Step out from a patio and be just steps from the gardens and terraces abundant with fruit bearing trees, coconut, ackee, and banana.


The Pool

Blue Harbour sits right at the edge of land, enabling filtered water from the Caribbean to be pumped straight up to the pool. The layout of the deck and the time you spend down there will leave your mind relaxed and your body rejuvenated.


Beyond the saltwater pool you can see the beautiful blue ocean, the massive Blue Mountains, and Cabarita island right there in Port Maria Bay. You also have access to the “Old Pool,” a small pebble beach at the water’s edge. It’s just a two-minute walk alongside the Blue Harbour property. There you can get in and out of the calm ocean, safe from the coral. Strap on your snorkel or goggles and swim out to see the small colorful fish scatter through the reefs along the coastline.


The Amenities

Set in Port Maria, 800 m from Pagee Beach, Blue Harbour offers accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden and a terrace. The guest house has family rooms.


Featuring a private bathroom, rooms at the guest house also have free WiFi.


Guests at Blue Harbour can enjoy a continental breakfast.


Activities such as hiking, snorkelling, cycling can be enjoyed in the surroundings, and guests can relax along the beachfront.


The nearest airport is Norman Manley International Airport, 49 km from the accommodation.

We speak your language!


Montego Bay Marine Protected Areas


The Montego Bay Marine Park (Photography by Cordon Press and Getty Images)

Montego Bay hosts three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs):

  • the Montego Bay Marine Park

  • the Bogue Island Lagoon Special Fishery Conservation Area (Bogue Lagoon); and

  • the Montego Bay Marine Park Special Fishery Conservation Area (Airport Point).

These areas span over 15 square kilometers and enjoy legal protection that regulates acceptable use. These MPAs seek to balance the social and economic needs of the community, while safeguarding precious national resources for future generations. Administered by the National Environmental Protection Agency and the Fisheries Division, these resources are managed on a day-to-day basis by the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust.

The Montego Bay Marine Park (Aquatic Ecosystem)

The Montego Bay Marine Park encompasses nearly 16 square kilometers of mixed-use marine protected area (MPA). This serves as the backbone of Montego Bay’s economy, boasting over 20 kilometers of shoreline, including coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove ecosystems.

Great marine diversity makes this park a paradise for diving lovers. A myriad of coral reefs and fish create an explosion of color on a seabed worthy of admiration. If diving isn't your thing, you can make the most of this unique environment with boat trips.


Throughout the 1960’s, famed underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau used to explore the shallow water reefs outside of Montego Bay. He did this along the likes of Harry Belafonte, JFK, and other celebrities. Cousteau therefore helped fuel MoBay’s popularity as a top-rate dive destination.


Bogue Island Lagoon (Special Fishery Conservation Area)

Established in 1979, the Bogue Lagoon Fish Sanctuary was one of Jamaica’s first fish sanctuaries. Established as a Game Reserve, the Bogue Lagoon serves as a critical nursery for juvenile fish and crustaceans in the Montego Bay area.


Airport Point (Special Fishery Conservation Area)

Established in 2009, the Airport Point Fish Sanctuary was designed to reduce fishing encroachment in the eastern reaches of the park. This development introduced the EcoReef restoration project.


Mobilizing the Community

The city of Montego Bay is home to approximately 125,000 residents and hosts as many tourists on an annual basis. Studies show that healthy coral reefs generate over US$427,000,000 per annum for the Jamaican economy. Yet people are concerned about the state of the environment and its continued deterioration.


The Trust has to fund itself to run the park due to limited financial help. This is done through fund-raising, projects, and management agreements with key partners.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

References

Google Images

https://greengrottocavesja.com/about-us

https://jamaicantreasures.com/attractions/explore-green-grotto-caves/

Home - Blue Harbour, Your Jamaica Vacation Destination

https://things-to-do-in-jamaica.com/blue-lagoon-in-port-antonio-jamaica/#:~:text=in%20Portland%2C%20Jamaica-,Blue%20Lagoon%20in%20Portland%2C%20Jamaica,is%20a%20vision%20of%20beauty.

https://www.booking.com/hotel/jm/blue-harbour.en-gb.html#tab-main

https://www.caribbeanandco.com/historic-sites-in- https://www.frommers.com/destinations/jamaica/introduction/the-best-natural-attractions

https://www.iberostar.com/en/inspiration-guide/travel/nine-natural-wonders-you-cant-miss-in-jamaica-nature-caribbean/

The Top 10 Remarkable Attractions of Portland, Jamaica (Pt 2) (jamaicasonice.com)

jamaica/http://www.jamaicatravelandculture.com/destinations/st_ann/nine_mile.htm

https://www.mbmpt.org/who-we-are/

https://www.montegobaymarinepark.org/

The 7 Best Recommended Attractions and Activities in the Island of Jamaica (jamaicasonice.com)

The Top 10 Remarkable Attractions of Portland, Jamaica (Pt 2) (jamaicasonice.com)

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g147312-d253866-Reviews-

https://www.tropicaltripsjamaica.com/day-tours/blue-mountain-peak-jamaica-hiking-tours


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Jacqueline Cameron is an editor/writer with years of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.