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Jamaica's Secret Interior -- A Spelunker's Paradise: Interesting & Unusual Tourist Destinations

Most tourists head to Jamaica for the sun, the beaches and, perhaps, the coffee and the rum. But there is more to Jamaica than meets the eye, including a vast underground world filled with caves, grottos, and subterranean lakes.

limestone caves

Two-thirds of Jamaica is covered with cave-containing limestone.

For spelunkers (those who make it a hobby to explore or study caves) or anyone else looking for an adventure, Jamaica is a rare treat. Its interior karst region -- an irregular area made of limestone -- known as Cockpit Country contains huge underground chambers along with narrow gorges and 40-foot cliffs, but there are other interior regions with caves as well. In fact, two-thirds of Jamaica is covered with cave-containing limestone.

More Than 1,000 Known Caves

Jamaica is home to more than 1,000 known caves, but there are likely many more that will soon be discovered. Much of the exploration is being done by the Jamaican Caves Organization (JCO), a non-profit group founded in 2002.

For those looking for a beginner's caving expedition, Green Grotto Caves is one of the most well-known and easily accessible areas. Once used as a hideout for runaway slaves, pirates and native Arawak Indians, the caves are located between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, near Discovery Bay.

Visitors can take a tour of the more than 5,000-foot long Green Grotto Caves (tours are offered daily) to see stalactites, stalagmites, rock formations, light holes and "ceiling pockets." Also not to be missed is Grotto Lake, the cave's huge subterranean lake.

Guided Tours the Best Option for a Real Jamaican Cave Experience

jamaican caves

There are more than 1,000 known caves in Jamaica ... many more wait to be discovered.

It is not recommended that tourists enter caves to explore on their own. Instead, a guided tour will keep you safe and expose you to the most interesting sites. The JCO offers several different cave tours, at varying difficulty levels, for those looking for a caving (or hiking) adventure:

  • Deeside Roaring River Cave: One of the "easier" tours with beautiful rock formations.

  • Peterkin Cave (Rota System): An interesting set of caves with large, active stream passages and relatively wide passages (some swimming is required).

  • The Caves of Rock Spring: Several large caves in one area, visitors can choose either a day-trip or a two-day, overnight expedition.

For More Information:

Those looking for spelunking opportunities in Jamaica would greatly benefit from these two resources:

Recommended Reading

The 10 Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Piracy on the Seas: Believe It or Not, It Still Exists and May be Surging Again!


The Jamaican Caves Organization

Caving in Jamaica

Jamaican Caves Page

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