| Geography & Land
Jamaicaís geography is, unlike that on some of
its Caribbean neighbors, diverse. While many tropical islands are
flat and featureless, Jamaica is large enough to have a full menu
of topographical features Ė mountains, waterfalls, rivers, forests,
plains, caves, bays, beaches.
The island covers over 4,000 square miles. Mountains run like
a backbone down the center from east to west, and along the journey
they create a quiltwork of 160 rivers and cascading waterfalls.
The largest river on the island is the Black River, navigable
for about 25 miles. Other significant rivers include the Rio Cobre,
the White River, the Rio Grande, and the Lethe.
The complete story
Adventure Guide - This travel guide walks with the adventurous
traveler to the heart of Jamaica, to the miles of sand beaches,
to the rugged Blue Mountains, to the country villages that provide
a peek at the real Jamaica|
The most mountainous, unsettled area is the eastern end,
location of the Blue Mountains. The mountains form the boundary
between the Portland and St. Thomas parishes, running for about
50 miles. Itís here that the famous Blue Mountain coffee is grown,
and itís also where youíll find the worldís second largest butterfly,
the Papilio homerus. Formed by an uplifting of a limestone plateau,
the mountains include a look at the exposed strata below. Peaks
top 7,500 feet above sea level, and visitors often find themselves
grabbing for a jacket in the cooler air.
The mountain system is actually two ranges. In the northern section
Ė called the Central Range Ė lies the highest point, Blue Mountain
Peak, at an elevation of over 7,400 feet. The second range, called
the Port Royal Mountains, rises above the Liguanea Plain just north
The John Crow Mountains are the largest limestone range in the
country. Although their name may not be as recognized as the Blue
Mountains, these landforms rise from the northeast of the island
between the Caribbean Sea and the Rio Grande.
Limestone accounts for the great number of caves found
in Jamaica. Karst, a limestone terrain marked by sinkholes and
underground caverns, is found near the Cockpit Country, the region
in the islandís interior that remains as untamed as it was in
the days of the Arawaks.
INTERESTING FACT: This rugged terrain is primarily home to the
Maroons, descendents of runaway slaves who took to the hills and
settled the village of Accompong.
Jamaica is also a patchwork of communities. The capital city is
Kingston on the south shore, a metropolitan area thatís visited
primarily for business rather than pleasure. The resort communities
lie on the north shore. Quiet Port Antonio, once a hideaway for
Hollywood stars, lies to the east. Heading west, the garden city
of Ocho Rios is popular with couples. Montego Bay, or Mo Bay,
is the first taste most visitors have of the island as itís the
home of the north shore airport. To the far west, Negril was once
a hippie haven, but today itís a delightful vacation spot with
a laid-back atmosphere and unbeatable sunset views.
Jamaica is incredibly lush and fertile. Fruits, orchids, bromeliads,
hardwoods and ferns all thrive in this rich soil and bountiful
environment. Sugar remains a major product, and during the summer
months donít be surprised to see fires across the island as farmers
burn off the stubble of harvested crops. During this time, the
air sometimes becomes heavy with smoke and burnt sugar.
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