Most places to stay in the mountains are a good starting point for information and guided tours, with some offering ascents or ridge walks directly from their properties. Cycling is also an attractive option; several hotels offer day-long biking expeditions, calling in at small coffee farms and private homes, including Mount Edge Guesthouse and Forres Park.

Extreme weather conditions, ecological protection projects and lack of funding mean that of thirty recognized hiking trails in the national park, only twenty or so are open at any given time; information on weather conditions and trail access is available at the main ranger station, located at Holywell, and at smaller stations at Portland Gap and Millbank (not always manned). Ordnance survey maps are also on display. You can get information over the phone from the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust in Kingston, which runs the park. Bear in mind that adventures in the rainy season (May–June & Sept–Oct) pretty much guarantee getting drenched.

All usual, common-sense guidelines apply to mountain hiking and biking. Bring decent boots or training shoes, plentiful drinking water (pine bromeliads hold much water between their leaves, but as they’re home to insect nymphs and tree frogs, you’ll only want to sup in an emergency), snacks, insect repellent and a torch.

It’s almost always advisable to use a guide in the Blue Mountains; given changeable weather conditions and poor maps (alongside few obvious landmarks), it’s very easy to get lost. Security can also be a problem for unaccompanied hikers, particularly on the Kingston side of the mountains. A guide will ensure your safety, clear overgrown paths and provide an informed commentary. Contact the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust for more information.

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