Jamaica // The Blue Mountains and the east //

The Rio Grande valley

Portland’s interior – the Rio Grande valley – is a fantastically lush and partially impenetrable hinterland of tropical rainforest and waterfalls. The Rio Grande, one of Jamaica’s major rivers, pours down from the John Crow Mountains through a deep and unspoilt valley of virgin forest. Despite its beauty, the area is little explored; many people do rafting trips, but there is also superb river and mountain hiking.

Many of the rivers and springs here are named after local Maroon leaders – Nanny, Quao, Quashie and Quako – and the major remaining Maroon settlement is Moore Town. If you’re craving rustic isolation, some of the other villages beyond have lovely settings and fascinating names – Alligator Church, Comfort Castle – indeed, the only thing holding up booming ecotourism here is the abominable road, which in its higher reaches is barely navigable by car.

20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.