Blue and John Crow Mountains – UNESCO Heritage in Jamaica



The cultural and natural heritage of the Blue and John Crow Mountains comprises 26,252 ha of tropical, montane rainforest within the larger Blue Mountain and John Crow Mountain ranges. The site encompasses a rugged and extensively forested mountainous region in the south-east of Jamaica, which provided refuge first for the indigenous Tainos fleeing slavery and then for Maroons (former enslaved peoples). They resisted the European colonial system in this isolated region by establishing a network of trails, hiding places and settlements, which form the Nanny Town Heritage Route. The forests offered the Maroons everything they needed for their survival. They developed strong spiritual connections with the mountains, still manifest through the intangible cultural legacy of, for example, religious rites, traditional medicine and dances. In 2015, listed in UNESCO Heritage list.


Located in the eastern part of Jamaica in the Caribbean.

About Blue and John Crow Mountains

1. The Blue and John Crow Mountains in combination with its cultural heritage, materialised by the Nanny Town Heritage Route and associated remains, i.e. secret trails, settlements, archaeological remains, look-outs, hiding places etc., bear exceptional witness to the phenomenon of grand marronage as characterized by Windward Maroon culture which, in the search for freedom from colonial enslavement, developed a profound knowledge of, and attachment to, their environment, that sustained and helped them to achieve autonomy and recognition.

2. The Blue and John Crow Mountains property lies within the Jamaican Moist Forests Global 200 priority eco-region, and is part of one of the 78 most irreplaceable protected areas for the conservation of the world’s amphibian, bird and mammal species. Furthermore it coincides with a Centre of Plant Diversity; an Endemic Bird Area and contains two of Jamaica’s five Alliance for Zero Extinction sites. There is an exceptionally high proportion of endemic plant and animal species found in the property, Jamaica having evolved separately from other landmasses. In addition, the property hosts a number of globally endangered species, including several frog and bird species.

3. The Blue and John Crow Mountains property offered refuge to Maroons (former enslaved peoples) and therefore preserves the tangible cultural heritage associated with the Maroon story. This includes settlements, trails, viewpoints, hiding places, etc. that form the Nanny Town Heritage Route. The forests and their rich natural resources provided everything the Maroons needed to survive, to fight for their freedom, and to nurture their culture. Maroon communities still hold strong spiritual associations with these mountains, expressed through exceptional intangible manifestations.

4. The Blue and John Crow Mountains overlaps with one of the world’s most irreplaceable protected areas, based on its importance for amphibian, bird and mammal species. The property hosts globally significant populations of bird species and represents a key part of the Jamaican Endemic Bird Area. It is important for a number of restricted-range species as well as a large number of migratory birds.

5. The most important aspect of authenticity for this cultural heritage is the meaning and significance attributed by Maroons to their heritage, and the strength and depth of linkages established by them to it. The mountains are also home to Maroon ancestors’ spirits and therefore provide a link for Maroons to their past and preceding generations.

Best Time to Visit

If you want to Travel to Jamaica then the best time to visit Jamaica is November to mid-December. That’s when the island’s already beautiful and pleasant weather.


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