Images courtesy of Adrian Boot
When UNESCO announced its newest additions last week, it honored the Blue and John Crow Mountains, adding Jamaica to its coveted World Heritage List for the first time in history.
Home to a high proportion of endemic plant species, the Blue and John Crow Mountains is a hotspot for biodiversity. The heavily forested mountainous region provided refuge for the indigenous Tainos fleeing slavery, as well as escaped African slaves during Jamaica’s early history. With such significance to both Jamaica’s history and its natural environment, the park is UNESCO’s only new “mixed” site, meeting both cultural and natural qualifications.
UNESCO’s recognition marks the successful culmination of Jamaica’s efforts to demonstrate that the island is home to a site of, as UNESCO puts it, “outstanding universal value.” Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains are in good company; the 27 newly inscribed properties include the supposed baptism site of Jesus of Nazareth and the Champagne hillsides in France.
With an abundance of hiking trails and naturalist-led tours, visitors have plenty of opportunities to explore the lush forestry of the Blue Mountains. Island Outpost guests are welcome to experience the Blue Mountain Coffee Trail, in which visitors follow an old footpath along the mountain, ascending 1,000 feet and arriving at the Clifton Mount Coffee Estate.
Click here to see photos of the newly minted Unesco World Heritage Site.