Jamaica Nature Itinerary: Hidden Beaches and Hillside Hikes

Hikes, bird-watching, secluded beaches, and mangrove tours are indispensable to a greater appreciation of Jamaica’s natural wonders. This 8-day itinerary was developed with Jamaica’s nature attractions in mind.

Transportation is an important consideration when planning an eco-vacation, as many of the less-visited sights are remote and require a rental car or car and driver. Excursions into remote parts of Cockpit Country and the Blue Mountains require a 4WD vehicle, but for most places, SUVs are not necessary and the extra expense is not justified.

Harmony Cove private beach in Jamaica
Harmony Cove. Photo © Oliver Hill.

Day 1

Arrive in Montego Bay and head directly to your rental villa at Good Hope Plantation or Silver Sands in Trelawny. Spend a few hours at Good Hope’s private beach in Bounty Bay or at Harmony Cove in nearby Braco before a relaxing dinner back at the ranch.

Day 2

Explore Cockpit Country on horseback in the morning or go tubing down the river with Chukka Caribbean, followed by lunch back at the villa. Head to Sea Castles in the afternoon for kiteboarding before a casual dinner at Far Out Fish Hut in nearby Greenwood.

salt water pool at Tensing Pen in Jamaica
Tensing Pen on the West End. Photo © Oliver Hill.

Day 3

Depart in the morning for Negril, stopping at Half Moon Beach for lunch and a dip. Continue on to Tensing Pen to spend the afternoon jumping off the cliffs and relaxing by the pool.

Day 4

Depart for Belmont, stopping at Brighton’s Blue Hole Mineral Spring before heading to Blue Hole Gardens for a refreshing dip and walk through the gardens. Catch the sunset at Bluefields Beach and overnight in Belmont at the Luna Sea Inn.

secluded swimming hole at ys falls in Jamaica
YS Falls join the Lower Black River Morass. Photo © Oliver Hill.

Day 5

On your way to the Blue Mountains, make a stop in Black River for a morning kayak or pontoon boat safari to see the crocs, and then stop by YS Falls for an early afternoon dip. Push on through Kingston to overnight at Forres Park in Mavis Bank, Lime Tree Farm, or Whitfield Hall, if you can make it that far before dark.

Day 6

Rise early to hike up to Blue Mountain Peak. Descend by early afternoon stopping at Crystal Edge for lunch before checking in to Woodside for your last two nights.

Woodside cabin in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica with access to nature trails in Holywell
Woodside is located on a 3-acre coffee farm and offers a base for hiking in Holywell Recreational Park. Photo © Oliver Hill.

Day 7

Hike the trails of Holywell, or up to Cinchona Gardens in the morning. Afterward, visit the Twyman’s Old Tavern Coffee Estate for a tour and to pick up some beans to carry home. Dine at The Gap Café, Strawberry Hill, or back at Woodside.

Day 8

Rise early for the drive back to Montego Bay, stopping in Ocho Rios for a dip in the White River or at One Love Trail by the sea, or take a garden tour at Konoko Falls. Leave Ochi in time for an evening departure from Mobay’s Sangster International Airport.

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Spend 8 days in nature, exploring Jamaica with hillside hikes, birdwatching, secluded beaches and swimming holes, and mangrove tours.