Between Port Antonio and the Buff Bay area there are several roads into the interior from such places as Hope Bay and Orange Bay. It is worth a detour if you have a car, but well off the beaten track and public transport is minimal. However, just to the east of Buff Bay is Crystal Springs with beautifully laid out gardens, a variety of fish in the clear waters of the streams, an aviary, a bird sanctuary and masses of orchids.
There is a moderately priced restaurant, three cottages to rent (L) and camping sites, T9961400, 9267865. Take any bus between Port Antonio and Kingston (US$0.40, about 45 minutes from Port Antonio), signposted at a turn-off between Orange Bay and Buff Bay (marked Spring Garden on Discover Jamaica road map). About one and a half miles along a flat paved road there is a small swimming pool surrounded by palms and flowering tropical plants. An idyllic spot, not busy during the week. Well worth a visit and a good base for exploring the foothills of the Blue Mountains. (Contact Pauline Stuart of Stuarts Travel Service, 40 Union Square, Kingston, T9264291 or King’s Plaza, Kingston 10, T9294222, for up to date information. US$3. 0900-1700 daily).
From Crystal Springs the road goes on to Chepstow and thence to Claverty Cottage and Thompson Gap; spectacular scenery, waterfalls in the valleys and very remote. It is possible to walk from Thompson Gap over the Blue Mountains via Morces Gap and down to Clydesdale, but this is a full day’s trip and only to be undertaken with an experienced local guide and there is a problem of getting transport to meet you at Clydesdale. It is also possible to take a bus for part of the way up the Buff Bay valley and then walk on either to Clydesdale or over the Hardwar Gap to Newcastle. Both very long trips and only for the really fit.