Trekking in Jamaica - Blue Mountains?
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Apr 15, 2013 4:46 PM Last Post By: zacha76
Jan 30, 2013 8:29 AM
Trekking in Jamaica - Blue Mountains?I am going 8 days to Jamaica in March and I really want to fit in a day of trekking. It seems that Blue Mountains is by far the nicest place to go for this.
The thing is that I have to go to Negril for work and need to spend about 4 nights there. When I talked to the Jamaican Tourism Board they recommended that I didn't try to do both Negril and the Blue Mountains as it was quite far in between.
My hope was to do 4 nights in Negril, then stop in Ocho Rios for 2 nights on the way to see Dunns River Falls. And then do the last 2 nights up in the Blue Mountains with one day of trekking in between.
Can anyone say if this is too much driving, or if it is worth it? I will have a rental car. How much time should I count on for the drive. Google maps say it will take about 3 hours to drive from Ocho Rios to Portland Gap in the mountains (via Kingston). Is this about right?
And is Blue Mountains Peak the best trekk there is or is there another one that you can recommend? Maybe one closer to Buff Bay on the north coast so I don't have to drive through Kingston...?
I have one other option and that is to fly out of Kingston instead of Montego Bay, that would save me the drive on the way back. But then I would have to pay extra to leave the rental car in a different location, and the flight out of Kingston is at 11.30 am, and the one out of MoBay is at 3 pm so I would have to leave the Blue Mountains at 8.30 in the morning no matter which one I pick.
Jan 30, 2013 3:43 PM
1Do you have to have a rental car for your work in Negril? If not, you could delay a car rental, take a shared airport transfer van to Negril.
Look into TimAir to see about flying from Negril to the Blue Mountains. I've used them from MoBay airport to Negril. They fly to other destinations as well. They might make you connect in MoBay, but could probably get you from Negril to Ocho Rios or Port Antonio.
Jan 31, 2013 4:46 AM
2Check Island Car Rentals I think they don't have a one way drop off fee.
Jan 31, 2013 8:47 AM
Jan 31, 2013 9:16 AM
4Thank you all!
Tempelton, I checked and they do not have a fee for returning in another airport. How awesome is that! That saves us 4-5 hours driving back so it feels a bit more doable. I have also managed to extend so I now have 9 days in Jamaica.
Christnp, I will consider renting a car for less time, maybe just the last 5 days. But flying seems to take just as much time as driving if we are to change in MoBay as well. I don't actually mind the driving, it is more about being time efficient.
MikeyMike, I totally agree with you! Normally I spend a month or so in each place when I get to decide myself. But this time I do not have that luxury. This is mostly a work trip so if I want to enjoy Jamaica at my own pace I will just have to come back. I just feel that I really want to see something away from the beaches and tourist resorts, and the Blue Mountains seems to be it. Plus I love trekking.
Or does anyone have any other ideas about where to go hiking?
Any tips about trekking in Jamaica in general? Any tips for good guides?
Jan 31, 2013 9:18 AM
5And I guess I might as well ask - is it better to be in Negril without a car? Is it problematic to find parking? Are there sights that are easier to see around there with a car? This will of course be the deciding factor if I rent a car from day 1 or just when I leave Negril to drive to Ocho Rios.
Jan 31, 2013 10:45 AM
6From my reseach I will drop the car while in Negril, but I will be there to party with some friends coming over to meet us, since you're there for work I don't know how much time you will have to explore, in my understanding driving will take a lot longer than one expects from the distance.
A lot of hotels do offer parking you have to check the one you're staying in.
You also can rent a car in Negril, can't find my note with the name, so if you have time and need one you could get one for a day from there, maybe ask if they pick it up in Kingston, Island charges 40,-- US$ to pick it up in Negril for instance.
Feb 7, 2013 12:21 PM
7I occasionally rent a car in Jamaica, but when I do I usually give it back for the time I'm in Negril. Negril is well served by route taxis and walking is pretty easy there. Also, since I tend to want to drink a beer or two when I'm there, I'm not going to drive myself anyway.
I'd take a transfer van/bus to Negril, do your thing there, then pick up the car for the rest of the trip. Negril to Ocho Rios is a relatively easy drive - for Jamaica - in that it's mostly on new highway and only goes through a couple of towns (Lucea, MoBay, Runaway Bay and St. Anns Bay are it, I think the highway bypasses the rest).
Cops sure love to pull tourists over on that stretch though, happens to me every time whether I'm speeding or not. Don't speed and don't carry anything illegal in your car.
Feb 7, 2013 1:08 PM
8Hi Zacha, have you considered the Mayfield Falls? It's in the mountains in the same region as Negril. The falls apparently are quite impressive. It's off the beaten path, requires a vigorous trek and the Jacuzzi like pools, flaura and fauna should make for rewarding journey. The road leading there is rough but there are tours and the experience is highly rated from what I've seen. It's not the Blue Mountains, which really is a unique eco-system on various levels, but it's alot easier to reach from Negril..might be worth a shot..Bless
Feb 8, 2013 12:34 PM
Feb 14, 2013 9:53 AM
10Thank you Scottygeneral. I had heard about the Mayfield Falls and with your recommendation I will look into doing that trip. It looks beautiful. Thank you also Ohliz for your driving advice.
After checking rates back and forth I have decided to rent the car from the day we leave Montego Bay for Negril and have it for the rest of the stay. I was tempted to skip the car in Negril and just rent it on the way back through Montego Bay, but counting the cost of taxis from MoBay to Negril and back it actually came out to the same amount. Island Car Rental gave me a great rate (in part because of my work) so I am happy with that decision, even tho I don't expect to use the car much in Negril.
Since Island Car Rental also has free one way rentals I decided to return the car in Kingston. That means I will pass Ocho Rios and Blue Mountains.
And that leads to my next question - would any of you recommend any other hike in the Blue Mountains? Or is Blue Mountain Peak the best if I am in that area? And what should be my base for the hike? Any town/hotel that you can recommend?
Feb 14, 2013 10:07 AM
11If you are there you might as well do the hike to the peak !
One thing is that you will not be able to take your car to the base to begin the hike.
You will need four wheel drive for that.
I do not recommend that you leave your rental car unattended anywhere for a long time.
Maybe you can pay someone to watch the car while you do the hike, are you can hire a taxi from Kingston, but that will be really expensive.
When I did the hikes a few years ago, I based at Whitfield Hall and started the hike from Haley's Gap.
Whitfield Hall arranged 4wh truck to pick me up at the town of Mavis Bank, and they arranged the guide also.
I chose not to do the hike at night, so I started early morning and was back down for early afternoon.
ONE LOVE !!
Feb 18, 2013 8:25 PM
12That is great and very helpful information MikeyMike. Thanks! So I take it we can drive the rental car to Mavis Bank and then arrange a 4wd pickup from there to Whitfield Hall? Maybe we can pay someone in Mavis Bank to watch the car because as I think we will have to spend the night at Whitfield Hall to get up early to do the hike, we will be away from the car for about 24 hours.
And last question - does anyone know what time it would take to drive from Strawberry Hills resort to Mavis Bank? Google maps is saying 50 minutes but I am assuming that is a bit optimistic.
Feb 19, 2013 7:49 AM
Feb 19, 2013 12:47 PM
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