Holywell National Recreational Park
If you are looking for an eco-tourism attraction that beats with the heart of Jamaica's indigenous fauna and flora, look no further than the Holywell National Recreation Park. Jamaica's only terrestrial national park, protecting one-third of the island's natural forests, Holywell is the gateway to the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (BJCMNP) and is also BJCMNP's most popular destination.
This 330-acre "park within a park" stands approximately one kilometre above sea level, and offers five signposted trails, a ranger station, bathroom facilities as well as picnic areas. The two most popular trails are the Oatley Mountain Trail and the Waterfall Shelter Trail.
The Oatley Mountain Trail, which is approximately five kilometres long twists and turns through the dense Jamaican rainforest, taking in all our endemic wildlife as it goes along. The trail's educational signposts guide and inform the hikers through their mystic journey and on to the panoramic viewpoints amongst the fog-ladened mountains. The two-kilometre Waterfall Shelter Trail is a bit shorter, leading you to an ice-cold, untouched waterfall and river with swimming holes, perfect for the hiker who prefers the destination to the journey.
For the flora lover, Holywell offers a large variety of trees and other vegetation, and is home to some of the world's most unique plants including the world's tiniest orchids and a bamboo plant that flowers once every 33 years. The overly cool climate of the Blue Mountains allows many plant species such as wild raspberries and strawberries to grow in Holywell, which are not found elsewhere in Jamaica.
Holywell also provides a treat for the fauna lovers as it is home to such creatures as the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, the largest in the Western hemisphere, and to a slew of non-poisonous species of snakes, lizards and frogs, darting just beneath your feet. And if birds are what you love, this eco-tourist destination features many aviary varieties, including all 30 of Jamaica's endemic species.