Weekend Escape: Holywell's misty magic

January 18, 2019
A section of Holywell Recreational Park.
Two of the cabins used at Holywell.
STAR writer Sade Gardner (left) and photographer Shorn Hector go for a hike in Holywell Recreationn Park in St Andrew.
A section of the hiking trail.
The 'waterfall' at Holywell Recreational Park really didn't live up to expectations.
Ian Allen/Photographer Cosy beds await you in Cuppress cabin.
Park rangers Jermy Shroeter (left) and Rudolph Poyser make their rounds at Holywell.
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The surreal, misty magic of the cloudy castle that is Holywell Recreational Park is a blissful, relaxing haven for anyone who ventures there.

The dewy atmosphere and high altitude secure its cool temperature, and an occasional sprinkle from the fluffy clouds gently kisses your skin as you venture into this woodland.

Affectionately referred to as Holywell, the area offers more than 300 acres of plants and birds indigenous to Jamaica as well as various spots to camp or have that romantic picnic.

On our adventure, the WEEKEND STAR team met National Park Ranger Jermy Shroeter, who shared other reasons you may want to visit.

“Persons come here to exercise and keep fit, but mostly people want to escape from the heat of the town,” he said. “For other persons, it’s a spiritual vibe, their mind is relaxed and we even have Christian groups who come to have prayers. It’s a place for everybody.”

Everybody indeed, as the rangers on site also offer school tours which explore the cultural heritage of the park. There are also several hiking trails which offer different features and views, like the short Blue Mahoe Trail which showcases a myriad of birds, butterflies and trees like the Blue Mahoe and Soaptree.

There are longer trails, like the near 60-minute hike on the Waterfall trail, which features different ferns; beware of the slippery terrain.

But, the trod was disappointing to say the least as the anticipated waterfall seemed more like a faucet with low water pressure.

Among the trails are three cabins for accommodation: Hotlips, Mountain Yacca and Cuppress - all named after trees at Holywell.

Cuppress is the attraction’s biggest cabin, hosting two bedrooms capable of housing six people. There are camping spots perfectly situated outside each cabin, and barbecue stations to get that grilled chicken or roasted fish under way.

The cabins also have fireplaces, kitchens, dining and outdoor sitting areas to add to your experience. The memories of visitors are engraved via signatures and handwritten notes on the outside of the cabins, and we were not to be left out, adding our own signatures to the sturdy logs.

If hiking or camping does not tickle your fancy, take your board games and snacks and chill in a gazebo with your friends and family, and unwind in the peace and crisp air that Mother Nature provides.

RATING: 4/5

ESSENTIALS: Thick, warm clothing; running shoes; picnic blanket, food

BEST THING: Panoramic view, misty mountain, cool atmosphere

WORST THING: Exaggerated waterfall

LOCATION: Holywell Recreational Park is snuggled in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park on the border of St Andrew and Portland. Driving via Papine, travel onward to Gordon Town and Irish Town, and continue towards the Red Light community and Newcastle. 

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