The air is different in a new place! Once you’ve hopped on a plane and ventured away from home, you’ll have the chance to experience the excitement of a new destination and the way it can sometimes feel like making a fresh start.
Hiking is a great way to get a blast of fresh air from a wonderful new destination, and it’s even better if you’re traveling with the love of your life! Jamaica is one of the most popular islands for hiking in the Caribbean. There are many cool trails on this island that allow you to discover Jamaica in a more intimate way and get in tune with the slow and steady island time.
In this post, we’ll zero in on some of the best hiking trails in Jamaica and reveal why you should seriously consider this destination for your next vacation!
Expert tip: There’s no better place than Jamaica to have a vacation that’s both active and luxurious. There are many all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica that cater to travelers who want it all.
Jamaica’s mountainous landscape makes it a great choice for couples who are looking for some of the best hiking in the Caribbean. More than half of this island is covered with mountains, making it easy for nature lovers to find somewhere exciting to explore. If you plan on hiking while in Jamaica, here are some of the best hiking trails:
Visiting the Blue Mountain range is a must while in Jamaica. This is the longest mountain range on the island and it extends across the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, and St. Andrew. The Blue Mountain is also the highest peak in Jamaica.
The Blue Mountain is alluring because of its beauty and the incredible hiking opportunities it offers. This mountain range is about 1.5 hours from Kingston and the hiking trail can be found inside the Blue and John Crow National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). To get to the highest point of the mountains, which is around 7,402 ft, you’ll need to traverse the Blue Mountain Peak Trail which is about 14-miles long. This hike is steep in some places so be precise about your selection of hiking boots. From the highest points of this trail, you’ll be able to see the island’s north and south coasts and even the outline of Cuba on clear days.
Expert tip: While in this area, ask about the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee that is harvested there. You just might find a shop to purchase some to take home with you!
Another great hiking trail can be found in Montego Bay. This trail, the Mount Zion Trail, is an uphill challenge leading the way to the Mount Zion Village. Hiking in this area is one of the top 42 things to do in Montego Bay and the trail is about 4.8 miles round-trip. It can take about 2 hours to get to the village of Mount Zion from the starting point of this trail if you’re hiking at a leisurely pace.
The diverse landscape along the Mount Zion trail is one of the things that sets it apart. The trail meanders through orchards, farms, pastures, and dense jungle, all of which adds to its appeal. Once hikers get to Mount Zion Village, they are free to explore the area, which includes a church, a school, a rum shop, and stunning views that make the whole experience worth it.
Insider tip: After this challenging hike, there’s no better feeling than relaxing in your suite at a luxury all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay. Rejuvenate by getting in some spa time, or simply relaxing at the beach!
For more experienced hikers in Jamaica, trekking on the Cockpit Country Trails can be a thrill. Cockpit Country Trails are near the north coast of Jamaica, around an hour from Montego Bay, and around 30 minutes from Falmouth. Keep in mind before heading there that most of the trails in this area are not for the faint of heart. They are among the more challenging hikes in Jamaica, and guided tours are recommended.
Along the Cockpit Country trails, you can expect wild jungle terrain, eerie caves, and a chance to see quite a few species of Jamaican wildlife. Once you get to this location, you’ll have to choose between the Troy-Windsor Trail (20 miles round-trip) and the Quick-Step Trail (22 miles round-trip). The Troy-Windsor Trail will take you along an old British military road from the 1700s, while the Quick-Step Trail goes to the village of Quick-Step. There is also a shorter option in this area, the Windsor Loop, which is three miles long. This trail takes about one hour to complete and it is a little more accessible.
Dunn’s River Falls is an attraction you won’t stop hearing about while in Jamaica. This 180-foot waterfall is world-famous, and millions of people clamor to experience it each year.
Hikers will love the options available at Dunn’s River Falls. You can choose to do a wet hike that involves climbing the falls to get to the summit or a dry hike that takes you along the trails in the area. Water shoes are recommended for the wet hike, which is the only way to get to the summit of the falls. A local guide is definitely recommended here, and you’re likely to find one as soon as you arrive at the falls. The hike up the falls takes about 1.5 hours, and the admission fee for this attraction is about $25 USD per adult.
Expert tip: Another option for hiking to Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica is via the One Love Trail, which starts from downtown Ocho Rios and leads to the falls. Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios can make it easier to check out the dozens of amazing attractions in this area.
Get some more waterfall action at Mayfield Falls, but this time go for a hike! There’s an amazing hike in this area known as the Mayfield Falls River Hike. This trail is in the Dolphin Head Mountains in Glenbrook, Westmoreland, which is around an hour away from Negril.
Off the beaten path and truly worth experiencing, there are marked differences between this hike and the hiking experiences available at similar sites like Dunn’s River Falls. For one thing, Mayfield Falls tends to be less crowded than Dunn’s River Falls. Mayfield Falls is also made up of 21 cascades, the largest of which is around 9.8ft (The Washing Machine). There are a few natural pools and jacuzzis at Mayfield Falls, as well as a restaurant, gift shop, and on-site parking.
A guide is recommended for making the most of your Mayfield Falls adventure. Just as soon as you arrive, you’re likely to run into local guides who can lead you along your nature walk. Hiking trails here range from 45 minutes to a few hours with varying levels of difficulty. Water shoes are recommended as many, if not all of these trails, will take you through the river. It costs $15 USD to get into Mayfield Falls, but this site is among the top five reasons to visit Negril.
Expert tip: Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Negril will make it easy to plan your Mayfield Falls adventure as the resort staff is always ready to help.
If you’re searching for great hiking trails in Jamaica, you’re likely to discover the Watch Hill Trail. This is a 4.6-mile trail on the north coast of Jamaica is located near Port Antonio, Portland, and is rarely (if ever) crowded.
This is a moderate and scenic hike leading along a river and will give you a chance to see some of the island’s banana and sugar plantations up close. The Watch Hill trail can be done at a relaxed pace and will take around 3-4 hours to complete. Watch Hill is an out-and-back trail, so your hike will begin and end at the same place.
Jamaica is a great destination to visit year-round, especially if you’re looking for warm weather and lots of interesting things to do. The best time to visit Jamaica for hiking tends to be between mid-December and mid-April. During these months, your chances are higher for having a rain-free vacation since December marks the start of Jamaica’s dry season. The average temperatures are also lower during this time of year, so you can enjoy outdoor activities with less heat.
No matter when you decide to visit Jamaica, you’ll be able to enjoy sunny shores, great beach resorts, entertainment, and so much more!
Picture: Once you've explored the lush Jamaican landscape, relax and enjoy the casual atmosphere of Sandals Montego Bay. Unlimited cocktails and around-the-world dining can lead to more adventures, if you let them!
A well-planned hiking trip can be something you’ll remember for years to come, especially if that hiking trip is on an island as spectacular as Jamaica. Revel in the island’s gorgeous mountainous landscape and get your heart pumping on whichever beautiful hiking trail suits your skill level and thirst for adventure.
While great hiking is definitely one of the amazing things Jamaica has to offer, there are lots more activities you’ll be able to enjoy while on the shores of this festive island. If you want to experience the beauty of Jamaica without worrying about too many details, staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica can be a great and hassle-free option.
Resorts like Sandals have multiple themed restaurants, bars including swim-up bars, day and night entertainment, water and land sports, and many other quality inclusions. Plus, you’ll have seven Sandals resorts to choose from in Jamaica, any of which can be a great option to begin your amazing hiking vacation on this gorgeous Caribbean island!