Holywell Park in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica is one of my favourite places to hike when I need to clear my mind.
Life in the bustling town of Kingston city, Jamaica’s capital, is in many ways like life in any other major city or town, stressful, trafficky and full of pollutants.
It’s incredibly important to get away from it all and escape to somewhere lush and green from time to time when you live in a city. Luckily for Kingstonians or travellers to this noisy town, there are quite a few spots within minutes away to do just that and Holywell Park is one of them!
The Best Way to Get to Holywell Park
Holywell is a park high up in the hills of blue mountains just about an hour outside of Kingston by truck. I say by truck or at least by 4WD SUV because the road up to the park is narrow, windy and at times quite bumpy. (I’m happy to report though that this is being worked on and will hopefully be smooth very soon, albeit still narrow and windy.)
It’s a park so high up that it is uncommon to be there and be able to see all the way out to Kingston’s harbour (though on a rare clear day, you can). The valley below is usually very cold and foggy. The lush vegetation, clean crisp air and tranquil surroundings make it the perfect getaway for a quick mind reset.
Start at Papine and head for the hills. Keep on the main road and you won’t get lost. You’ll trek through one of our military training camps with a view to behold. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the army men training too.
Camping and Picnicking
It’s a great place for a full day if you want to head up with family or a group of friends. There’s no fee to get into the park and adequate parking when you get there.
There are gazebos on the grounds where you can set up food stations in shade and fire pits to grill.
There’s also a monkey house kind of scenario where kids young and young at heart can monkey around. Just be sure to be ready for any type of weather when you’re heading there as afternoon rains are common and lighting fires in the cold, wet surroundings can be difficult.
Occasionally vendors wander into the park selling fresh raspberries and other fruits picked from the surrounding hillside. There’s no food inside the actual park so you’ll have to bring your own or stop on the way up/down to eat.
Hike to the stream
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous then take the 20 minute or so hike down to the little stream that runs in a valley below. It’s a pretty easy path down and it’s a tiny little sprinkling of a stream but it was great exercise and hey the pictures were worth it. Anything for the ‘gram, right?
Be wary however that if you go down, you gotta get back up and the hike back up is serious business. As out of shape as I am right now, to say it was a challenge is me taking it lightly. I had to stop to catch breaths a couple of times but it was definitely well worth it. What better way to get in an exercise session than in the great outdoors?
There are four other trails that you can take of varying degrees of length and difficulty. I am hoping to go back and make it through the one that leads to a waterfall!
They do also offer guided bird-watching tours and general eco/edu tours to groups. Info is below to book one if you’re interested. Here’s some info on other things to do in Kingston and ways to stay safe.
The restroom area is clean and adequate and the park will provide a great day of fun once you’re with the right people. It will also provide fulfilling mind refresh if you choose to go alone one day just to clear your head and be at peace with nature. It’s far enough away but close enough for a quick trip. Take insect repellant and shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy!
You can definitely camp there overnight if that’s your thing. There are cabins available for rental on property equipped with mini fridges and stoves and their own bathroom.
You can also whip out the tents and camp onsite too! Hit up the park managers at 876-920-8278-9 or 876-960-2848-9 to book your camping trip or tour.
Have you ever been to Holywell Recreational Park? How was your adventure? And have you ever done the hike to the park itself from Gordon Town? I’ve done it way back in high school when I was young and sprightly! Those days were fun.
I enjoyed your article and photos. You would enjoy my film “The Road through the Blue Mountains of Jamaica” that has a lengthy segment at Holywell. The film begins at Papine and stops at Strawberry Hill, Newcastle, Greenwich, Catherines Peak water company, The Gap Cafe, Starlight Chalet, coffee farms and the coffee roasters at Section, 8 waterfalls that crash along the roadside, and finally ends at Buff Bay. The film can be bought at Amazon and I will soon post it on YouTube.
That sounds lovely Barbara, I can’t wait to see it on Youtube