Although Jamaica is best known for its beaches and coffee, this island has much more to offer naturalists. It is ranked 5th in biodiversity among the world’s islands and many of its animal and plant species are found nowhere else in the world. On this easy paced itinerary, we aim to show you all 27 of the island’s endemic bird species, as well as Jamaica’s most prized natural treasures, its 3000 flowering species, 100’s of orchids, nearly 600 ferns and a miriad of butterflies as you drive through a diverse countryside.
In addition to time on the Caribbean coast and in the Blue Mountains, you will explore a variety of habitats, including rainforest, quiet rivers and lush valleys. There will be the opportunity to hike on mountain trails, to enjoy the local culture and to relax on the beach or go snorkelling. However, please remember that all our tours are tailormade and can be adapted to create a unique tour combination that best fits your schedule and interests.
Arrival at Kingston Airport and transfer to Lime Tree Farm, an environmentally friendly coffee farm set in 10 acres at the heart of Jamaica’s beautiful Blue Mountains. Your accommodation for the next 3 nights is in comfortable, spacious cottages in a wonderful natural setting and is the perfect spot for hikers and birdwatchers. The Blue Mountains is truly a bird watching paradise and there are a pair of resident Red-tailed Chicken Hawks at the Farm and the Doctorbird or Streamertail, hummingbirds, parrots, woodpeckers and kestrels can be seen daily. Dinner and overnight.
After a wonderful breakfast, you will venture off into the higher reaches of the mountains for a guided tour of the Victorian Cinchona Botanical Gardens, one of the world’s lovliest wild secret gardens. The mountain views are stunning and the landscaped gardens contain many delights. Dinner and overnight at Lime Tree.
Today you can choose to do one of the guided hikes that are offered around Lime Tree Farm and whichever hike you choose, you can be sure that both the views of the Blue Mountains and the bird life will be amazing. You might even spot some of Jamaica’s endemic species as this is one of the best areas on the island to find most of them. Dinner and overnight at Lime Tree.
An early start today with your guide, to reach Hardwar Gap at around sunrise when the high forest comes to life, and the beautiful dawn chorous is heard – especially the flute-like call of the Rufous-throated Solitaire. This forest here hosts a variety of fascinating ferns, some of the giant tree ferns reaching a height of 30 feet. Then continue on to Greencastle Estate, where you will stay for 2 nights in the Great House, which is the focal point of this wonderful working farm dating back to 1664.
After breakfast, you can take a morning hike along the stunning north coast or if you prefer visit Port Maria and Goldeneye. In the afternoon, there will be a guided tour of the estate, including the orchid farm and a chance to do some great bird watching. Dinner and overnight at Greencastle.
Early morning birding on the estate if you like and then after breakfast, more birding on the way to Spanish River. After a Jerk Lunch at Blueberry Hill you will continue along the coast to Mockingbird Hill, your comfortable base for the next 4 nights.
Relax on the beach at nearby Frenchman’s Cove, which must be Jamaica’s prettiest white sand beach and is also excellent for birding. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to this beach or you can visit the blue lagoon or some of the other lovely beaches in the area. Dinner and overnight at Mockingbird Hill.
Today you will take a scenic rafting adventure on the Rio Grande, just a 45 minute drive away. Lazily floating down the river you get close to many interesting birds along the river bank. After disembarking and an authentic Jamaican lunch at a small restaurant run by a local fisherman, you can spend the afternoon walking around the delightful town of Port Antonio. Dinner and overnight at Mockingbird Hill.
An early morning start with a packed breakfast for birding in the Ecclesdown area in the foothills of the John Crow Mountains. You can have a dip in one of the numerous river pools at scenic Reach Falls if you like. Lunch and an afternoon on the beach can then be enjoyed at Long Bay if you wish. Dinner and overnight at Mockingbird Hill.
You are free to spend the last morning as you wish, either on the beach or doing some more birding. Then some time after lunch, it will be time to depart for the airport for flight home.