Whether you are a true spelunker, a casual enthusiast, or a completely
inexperienced beginner, Jamaica offers a variety of cave exploring adventures,
suitable for every skill level. Marvelous geological formations are
sure to inspire wonder in even the most experienced spelunker. Carefully
guided tours with knowledgeable staff are available for beginners and
children to explore in complete safety.
Just outside of Port Antonio, on a 180-acre coconut plantation, is a
lovely example of the caves of Jamaica. This fascinating place, called
the Caves of Nonesuch, is 1.5 million years old and contains many wonders.
Well lit, with walkways, stairs and railings, this multi-chambered underground
site is perfect for the casual cave enthusiast, though even the experienced
caver – while smiling a bit at the ease of the half hour walk – will
find sights of interest, as will those interested in geology and native
history. Admission is $8 for those aged 12 and up, and $3 for children
11 and under. The admission price, in addition to a guided tour of the
caves, also included a guided tour of the beautiful gardens found nearby.
Among the many wonders to be found inside of the Caves of Nonesuch are
fossils that some say date back to the very birth of Jamaica, including
fossilized marine life, leading some researchers to conclude that the
land itself was formed underground and then pushed to the surface by
underwater volcanic activity. There are stalagmites and stalactites,
as well as numerous other geological formations. There are even traces
of ancient Arawak civilization. It is truly a fascinating place.
Not all the caves in Jamaica, however, are so easy to explore. Those
found in Cockpit Country are not for the inexperienced caver, and should
only be explored with a guide. Among the more well known of the more
than 70 caves in the wild expanse of Cockpit Country are the Windsor
Caves, home to a variety of wildlife, including bats, in addition to
a variety of geological formations of interest.
Cockpit Country Adventure Tours offers guided exploration of the region’s
caves, with tours designed for specific skill levels. The Rock Spring
Cave is for explorers of most skill levels, and goes downwards gradually
for 1 1/2 miles. Some, such as the Quashie River Sink Cave, are provided
only to experienced spelunkers. Cavers will lower themselves by rope,
deep into the ground to explore a vast area featuring fossils from a
far distant past.
Peace Cave, also found in Cockpit County, in addition to containing
beautiful quartz and limestone formations, hold a very special place
in the social history of Jamaica. This cave was one of many that sheltered
the legendary Maroons, fierce freedom fighters who demanded and received
concessions from the British, securing their right to autonomy by signed
treaties. Peace Cave is the site of annual rituals to honor the achievements
of these brave people.
Because Jamaica is formed primarily of limestone, there are numerous
caves and underground rivers. Underneath Jamaica, deep inside of the
caves, geological links to the earliest days and life forms of this
island nation can be found. There are as many adventures to be found
below Jamaica as there are above.
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