Lodging for Hikers

When you want something besides the typical resort.

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At 2,000 feet elevation on Jack's Hill and 15 minutes outside Kingston is the Maya Mountain Lodge (876/927-2097). This 15-acre property offering rustic cabins and tent sites was the pioneering base for Blue Mountain hiking. Maya Lodge territory has 5 different streams and part of the Old Vinegar Hill Trail, once the only path connecting Kingston to Port Antonio.

If you want to be in walking distance of Maya Lodge but in more luxurious surroundings, try Ivor Guest House on Skyline Drive. It's an old 19th-century villa with just three guestrooms and full dining room service. Ivor overlooks the city of Kingston , a spectacular sight at night. Cost is about US$65 for a double; another bargain. Call 876/927-1460.

Also in the Blue Mountains near Gordon Town and Content Gap are the Pine Grove Mountain Chalets, a 90-acre coffee farm with restaurant and bar. The views are magnificent, a full 360 degrees. Call 876/977-8009; fax 876/977-8001.

When hiking Blue Mountain peak, many people stay at venerable Whitfield Hall Hostel, a dorm-like facility with bunk beds. Rates are US$20-US$70; call 876/927-0986 or 876/926-6612. Or www.whitfieldhall.com/

Younger hikers seem to like the less regimented tone and slightly cheaper rates of nearby Wildflower Lodge. Accommodations in the 2-story house are similar; call 876/929-5394.

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