St. Thomas, Jamaica, is in the southeast corner of Jamaica and encompasses the coastline from Hector's River around to Bull Beach, just east of the capital Kingston. The parish also extends inland right up into the Blue and John Crow Mountains, and is adjacent to the parishes of Portland, to the north, and St. Andrew, to the west. Morant Bay is the regional capital.
This is an exceptionally beautiful part of Jamaica. Although there are no real sandy beaches, it is characterized by rugged forest terrain with valleys and mountains, and is scored by a number of river canyons. There is also an extensive wetland area from Hector's River to Port Morant.
The St. Thomas region of Jamaica is really off the beaten track for visitors. There are no resorts and it is not easy to find any accommodation on the coastal route. There are a number of backpacker hostels in St. Thomas, Jamaica, however -- you'll find some St. Thomas, Jamaica hostel options along the coast, just west of Morant Bay, and up in the mountains around Hagley Gap and Penlyne Castle, from which many travelers start their early-morning ascent of Blue Mountain Peak. The hiking in this area is superb, with fantastic views as far as Cuba to the north, if the weather cooperates.
The main draw of St. Thomas, and indeed one of the main draws of Jamaica, are the Blue and John Crow Mountains. These can be best accessed via Newcastle, Penlyne Castle or Hagley Gap by the B1 road from Kingston via Papine, and covered most of the way by cheap public transport. Hikers to the Blue Mountain Peak must take a guide and the local wisdom is to start the ascent at around 2 a.m. to be at the top for the sunrise.
The activist and Jamaican National Hero Paul Bogle was born here and was part of the Morant Bay Rebellion of the mid-nineteenth century. There is a statue of him in Morant Bay.
Inland from Port Morant, lies Bath. This is a small settlement in the mountain foothills and is home to the Bath Botanical Gardens, one of the oldest in the western hemisphere. Bath Fountains, a natural mineral spa, can also be found here; the gardens were created to give spa visitors a tranquil environment in which to relax.
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