| GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
Jamaica is part of the Greater Antilles and it covers 10.991 km2. It is the home of almost three million citizens of which 92% are ethnic Africans. 69% are Christians and only 1% Rastafarian, although way more look that way.
It was first colonised by the Spanish in 1494, then the British moved in in 1655 and it gained its independence in 1962.
The climate is tropical, and with the Blue Mountains, that create a rich nature, although sugar plantations have taken their part of the former dominant forests. One of the more interesting animals is the Jamaican hutia; Geocapromys brownii: a rabbit sized Guinea pig. Here are around 50 species of reptilians, and the birdlife even more impressive.
Within long, the road turns real narrow and mountain-like. Here are still a few huts along the road, but most look like unspoiled nature. I drive slowly and try to enjoy it, without missing the road. As I head further into the green mountains - which actually are named The Blue Mountains - the road looses the sealing, and it get real tough. I am glad I did sign-up for the full insurance! If I can't have a Land Rover, a rented car with full insurance will do. I pick-up a pair of locals, and without them, I would not have made it over some of the bad and real steep parts: They are in for a push-push safari.
At five, I reach Jah B's Guesthouse. Their picture on Booking.com look real low-key, but it is a real nice place, which luckily offers dinner. Unfortunately, they do not have hot showers, despite the high elevation and low temperature. The only guests are two other Danes. I make a short stroll in the late afternoon, and return to a traditional Rasta vegetarian dinner: No meat, no salt, and it tastes great. The others head the beds early, as they will start a hike at two in the night, to see the sunset from the top. It is a bit cold, and I find my socks and fleece jacket. The Blue Mountains, part 1.
It is a bit nippy during the night, but I have
three blankets, and feel fine. I get a cup of tea along with my own
breakfast, and then set out, into the Blue Mountains. I follow the
path leading to the top, through steep and wild mountainsides,
dotted with small coffee plantations.
It the afternoon, I head out towards Penlyne Castle.
The vegetation does not change much, but the views are great. Penlyne Castle
is a gathering of 8-10 former colourful sheets along the real bad road. They
are made up by wood and tin-plates. I meet an old fart with a donkey and
pass a few goats. Besides from the coffee bushes, here are some bananas.
It turns out I was upgraded by Jah B, and instead of US$20 I have to pay US$50 a
night. On the other hand, the three great meals only coasted me US40. The
mist clears up, and I head down the mountains. The car growls a lot: The ABS
is active on long stretches of the steep decent. I have found a route on Google Maps
that my GPS do not know: It lack an essential little connecting road, and
it suggests a 50 kilometre detour. That is a lot in these mountains! I hope for the best, and the road is
The road is fare from smooth, and in two places, I have
to cross a river within it. In the lower parts of the mountains, bromeliads and
cacti are quite numerous
in the trees. After two hours and 40 kilometres, I
finally reach the lowlands. Here are a few cattle farms and sugar cane
do several stops at the especially nice places. Some crystal clear rivers meet
the sea, and some coves are just perfect. I pass Reach Fall, but will
return another day. Around two, I reach San San and find my home for the next three
days. It is a lovely
old house, right next to the coast. I start with a much
needed hot shower, then the local beach, where only tow fishermen are found.
I walk back to the guesthouse and re-organise. In the
late afternoon, I head further on to the cosy Port Antonio, an old
town that still have most of its charm. Just before the town, I pass a huge
private home; real strange to see among all the humble sheets I been
passing. It belong to the riches man on Jamaica, whom is said to actually
owe the Blue Lagoon, and being too cheap to install a single toilet for the
people working there.
Back to cook some, and do the usual work. I
have bought some tea, and now I know why the traditional Rastas don't use
salt: Their tap water contains plenty!
6. I head 30 kilometres back towards the east, to reach Reach Falls. I stop time and time again, when the road meet the coast, or the green inland hills look especially tempting. Here are only a few settlements but a lot of nature. In some places, the dark brown ancient coral rocks raises high above the sea, in other places, perfect sandy coves meet the green interior. A single settlement have a few surprisingly hairy pigs roaming around. I use the see this fluffy pigs in the high mountains only.
reach Reach Falls, and they say I should have a guide to enter the
line of pools and falls, but I rather not. I don't feel like being rushed from
one pool to the next, by a guy who constantly babbles in a rather strange
languish. I succeed to bounce the guides and the avoid the guard, and
after I have seen the lower pond, I find a trail, following the stream
upwards. Well, kind of; a lot of time, I hop from rock to rock.
I make it back to the costal road, and try to find
a restaurant. Here are several "restaurants" in small sheets, but none have
any customers. Then I see on with two taxis in front, and
it a try. I get some steamed vegetables and brown rice, but the view it the
main advent: Right out to a perfect beach, under some huge trees.
stop is the famous Blue Lagoon, known from the movie by the same name
and the movie Cocktail. Apparently, it can only be reached by boat, and I
find a guy with a little bamboo raft. We go around the rocks and enters the
lagoon. It is a cove, dominated by a 60 meter deep hole, filled with layers
of salt- and fresh water. In the inner part of the cove, a pond hold
freshwater from the blue mountains.