|Jamaican Caves Organisation|
|Caving News||Funding, Tours, and Donations||JCO Main Page|
876 347 5184
(Jan 20, 2016)
The Jamaican Caves Organisation continues to be in need of funding. Accordingly, to further our cause (the preservation of the caves of Jamaica) and bring in some very necessary money, we are offering hiking tours, driving tours, and allowing paying volunteers to join us for fieldwork
All those who contribute should be aware that we are not trying to get rich on tourism, we are simply trying to keep the JCO alive, and active, in an environment of intermittent NGO funding. If what you want is an easy visit to a show-cave, don't bother contacting us - we carry out cave exploration and speleology, and that usually means a few bruises by the end of the day. That also applies to the hikes we supply guides for - they're not strolls through manicured parks, they're real treks through what is left of the Jamaican wilderness. Before you decide to book an outing with us, please check the Jamaican Caves Organisation News page so that you have a better idea of who we are, and what we do.
|Caving||Hiking||Rock Climbing||Driving Tours||Speleo and Rescue||Donations|
Group Outings & Rates for Jamaican Residents
The JCO allows overseas tourists to join us for fieldwork in return for help with our funding, although they are expected to assist us with our research. Target sites vary, but are always interesting and challenging.
We supply all of the equipment, including helmets, headlamps, vertigear, and also give training in single rope technique. That said, the sites we visit often involve vertical pitches, and tight squeezes, so those with an extreme fear of heights, or claustrophobia, should find something else to do.
Examples of the caves we take people to, most with videos, can be found at St Clair Cave, Swansea Cave, Riverhead Cave, Thatchfield Cave, and the Peterkin-Rota System. For most caves we visit for funding purposes, a donation of 100 US$ per person per day is required (minimum 200 US$), and to minimize damage to the caves, and ensure safety, the maximum number at any one time is limited to five people. For those who are particularly adventurous, and have some experience with SRT, there are sites such as the one shown in the video to the left, Dunns Hole Cave, that can be visited for greater levels of funding.
Pick-up and drop-off at hotels is available for an additional 50-75$ for up to 5 people, depending on location, although this is not possible for Negril (too much driving), and we're also not keen on it for Montego Bay anymore (also too much driving). The rest of the north coast, from Falmouth to Ocho Rios, is fine.
Cockpit Country Hiking - DaytripThis is the easiest and least expensive of the hiking trips we're offering. The route is from Windsor, Trelawny, along the Troy Trail south into the Cockpit Country, and then down into Bamboo Bottom, to the west. At the southern end of Bamboo Bottom, the trail passes through a saddle into Guthries. From Guthries, the trail leads back to Windsor to complete a circle of about 4 km's.
The Cockpit Country is the largest remnant of the Jamaican wilderness, and there is really nothing else like it on the island, or indeed in the entire Caribbean. If you like tropical forests, birds, butterflies, bromeliads, and karst topography, or have no experience with it and think you might, you'll probably find this trip to be very cool (and it will perhaps inspire you to return in the future to be more adventurous).
Please be aware that this hike is not particularly difficult, but it is not for those who are terribly out of shape.
The schedule is a 10:00 AM departure into the bush from Windsor. Return to Windsor is about 2:00 PM.
The cost is 75 USD per person including transport from Falmouth to Ocho Rios, with a minimum fee of 200 USD (maximum capacity is six people).
Cockpit Country Hiking - The Troy TrailThe Cockpit Country of Jamaica, in its central region, can be traversed by only three routes: the Troy-Windsor Trail, the Quickstep Trail, and the now almost-lost Heading-Pantrepant Trail. Other than these three thin lines that offer a tenuous course through the inhospitable depths of the Cockpit Country, there are no "easy" ways across. "Easy" in this sense means that if you know what you're doing, you're guaranteed to not die en route. [More information on the Troy Trail can be found here.]
The logistics involved in hiking across the Troy trail are not trivial. The two end-points, Tyre and Windsor, are separated by a drive of close to three hours, and because of this it is necessary to supply ground transport one way. This increases costs and time.
The hike itself can be completed in as little as seven hours, when done from south to north (our preferred route, because it is from higher to lower), but can take as long as 14 hours depending on how fit everyone is.
As of January 2015, the cost for the outing is 150 US$ per person, with a minimum of 500 US$. It includes a night at Windsor at the Last Resort the evening before the hike (cool, but spartan accommodations), and pick-up/drop-off from locations from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios (north coast).
Please be aware that the trail is seldom crossed and usually bushed-up in parts, which means a lot of work for us (swinging machetes). Also, there are never any scheduled crossings that individuals can join as part of a larger group. If we take you across, it could be the first time it's happened in over six months. Most importantly, we will not take anyone across unless we deem them capable of doing it - if you contact us about the trail, please be prepared to answer questions on your height and weight.
All that said, it's a very cool hike. But if your physical condition and finances are a concern, go with the daytrip out of Windsor instead. It will be more fun for you, and less stress for us.
Cockpit Country Hiking - The Quick Step TrailThe Quick Step Trail is the other of the two routes across the Cockpit Country that we can currently supply guides for. As with the Troy Trail, logistical problems (ground transport and accommodations) are a serious factor, and actually much worse. A detailed description of the situation follows:
The route begins in Windsor, near the northern trail-head, and then heads west along the Escarpment for over a kilometre until a long deep valley gives access to the south; this is the track to Quick Step. Now, one journeys for about 9 km across the Cockpit Country until the Quick Step road is reached, 8 km's north of the actual village. This final 8 km stretch of road is very rough, has no one living on it other than one madman (who is always carrying a machete), no vehicular traffic, and requires an SUV to drive it. When the village of Quick Step itself is reached, it is still a drive of over 3 hours back to Windsor. Very basic accommodation is available in the village that would allow the group to overnight it, but unless we have a JCO SUV at Quick Step (not cheap to get it there), the group must hike back to Windsor the next day, covering the 8 km of rough road, the 9 km in the bush, and a final km along the Escarpment - this bringing the total distance hiked in two days to over 36 km.
We have two solutions for these logistical challenges:
We do not supply transport for this option.
The schedule is: departing Windsor on foot at 7:00 AM, and then hiking as much of the trail as possible until a turn-around point is reached at noon. If good time has been made, we will have turned back at the end of the rough road from Quick Step, and will have done the entire actual trail (both ways). The return to Windsor will be before sunset.
Jamaican residents who have a friend with an SUV to pick them up at the end of the Quick Step road, on the south side of the Cockpit Country, can do it as a one-way trip (however, our guide/s still have to hike both ways).
The JCO guiding fee is 75 USD/person, with a minimum of 250 USD. The maximum group size is 8 people.
Accommodation is available at The Last Resort, which is very close to the start of the trail, for the nights before and/or after the hike at 20 USD/person, not including meals.
The JCO takes care of transport, basic accommodation, and meals.
The schedule for this outing is:
Day 1: We pick you up at your hotel, in Montego Bay to Ocho Rios, in the late afternoon. The evening is spent at The Last Resort, in Windsor.
Day 2: We hit the trail at 7:00 AM after an early breakfast. We make brief stops a couple of times midway for snacks. By mid-afternoon, we reach the north end of the Quick Step road where a JCO Landrover is waiting. We bounce southwards 8 km to Quick Step, with drinks supplied from a cooler as necessary, and then drive back around the Cockpit Country to reach the north coast in the early evening for drop-off at your hotel.
The fee is 200 USD/person for groups up to 4, with a minimum of 600 USD. For groups of 5 to 8, the fee is 150 USD/person, and we will need at least 2 weeks advance notice.
In the course of our fieldwork, we've come to know some very cool bush roads in the hills of Jamaica, which we can share with visitors when our schedule allows. The cost is 200 USD for up to four people (which is what the Landrover comfortably holds). Pick-up is 9-10 AM at your hotel, and drop-off at 3-4 PM. At present, we can only do this out of the Ocho Rios - Runaway Bay area.
|Speleo, Caving, and Rescue|
The JCO is happy to assist, and collaborate with, visiting researchers and cavers. Please refer to our rate chart for more information
We can also assist in rescues, or body recovery, but we are often not able to do so unless expenses are taken care of. In the event of emergency situations, please contact us at 876 397 7488 (Stefan), or 876 990 7255 (Jan), and we'll see what we can do.
The JCO continues to be in need of donations of gear. We present a list of our main requirements below.
2 rack descenders.
3 Pantin ascenders.
16 good quality rechargeable AAA batteries, and 16 rechargeable AA batteries.
A complete set of the digitized 1:12,500 Jamaican topo series.
We would like to thank:
Lavinia for the great donation of a laptop and caving gear in January, 2015.
ESRI for the January, 2010, donation of ArcGIS 9, and associated programs. At long last, we can move on from ArcView 3.1.
Bill Palmer, for his donations towards the June, 2004 expedition, and JCO work done in January, 2005. It was a great help in keeping things alive.
Guy van Rentergem for his continuing contributions of much needed caving and survey gear. His donations have helped to shorten the above list considerably. Bless-up.
Don McFarlane, for buying maps and helping us with funding.
The NSS, for the grant received for the Jan 2005 Expedition.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force, for paying us for the Hutchinson's Hole work.
Sanjay Surana, for his donation of a harness and figure-8.
JamaicanCaves.Org is a non-profit organization that is pleased to receive the support of:
The Jamaican Caves Organization