General Travel

Enjoyment of Blue and John Crow Mountains Enhanced through Government Initiatives

Jamaica Blue Mountains
Jamaica Blue Mountains

Jamaica Blue Mountains Photo by Extrem Giscombe

Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the nation’s government is working to ensure that visitors experience all that the area has to offer. The site is home to the largest tract of closed broad-leaf forest, and its rainforests are home to the giant swallowtail butterfly, the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere. Moore’s Town, which is the chief community for the Windward Maroons, is situated in the area. The ancestors of the Maroons were escaped slaves who fought colonial Britain’s military until a peace treaty was signed in 1739. The treaty ensured sovereignty for the Maroons, who currently maintain the religion, language, music and dance of their cultural heritage. Local residents of Moore’s Town retain extensive knowledge of the region’s medicinal plants, which also forms an important part of their traditional culture. Among the innovative concepts is the home-stay visit, in which tourists can stay with local residents in their homes and take full advantage of the rich culture of the mountain region. The Blue and John Crow Mountain World Heritage site encompasses 193,000 acres that includes Blue Mountain Peak, which at the height of 7,400 feet is the highest point on the island. In another project designed to enhance the visitor experience, the Institute of Jamaica plans to operate a “living museum” that will feature opportunities for cultural exchanges between locals and visitors.

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Stephanie Korney