Hiking & Caving Tours for Jamaicans
Caving News Jamaican Caves Organisation JCO Main Page
 
info@jamaicancaves.org
 

876 397 7488

(May 1, 2013)
This page is for Jamaican residents. We ask overseas visitors to please see the Main Funding page for the JCO.

The Jamaican Caves Organisation (JCO), founded in 2002, is a non-profit group that carries out speleological research in collaboration with visiting scientists and Jamaican governmental agencies.

Funding is an ongoing challenge, and although we can thank The Nature Conservancy, Queens University, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Polish Institute of Zoology, the National Speleological Society, the Urban Development Corporation, the National Environment and Planning Agency, and the Water Resources Authority for having supplied some of it, we also have to augment it by offering caving and Cockpit Country hiking tours, such as the ones described here. While doing it, we also try to share our knowledge of the importance of caves island-wide, which is part of our core mission.

Please be aware that we are not a tourist company, we are simply trying to keep the JCO alive, and active, in an environment of intermittent NGO funding.


Caving


Jamaican guests caving with the JCO

The JCO is able to take groups of Jamaican residents into one of Jamaica's largest caves, St Clair Cave, when requested. We can accommodate five to ten people at a time depending on whether or not we include a 12m descent at the Zambia (middle) entrance.

Itinerary: We meet in Ewarton at about 10 AM (Ewarton is a 1 hr 15 min drive from Kingston). From there, we drive ten minutes south to the village of Polly Ground (PG) where we park and begin the hike to the cave. The hike to either of the two entrances we'll use (PG or Zambia) is about 30 minutes, which puts us underground by 11 AM.

∂ Option 1 - This is the easiest of the options, and we can manage groups of up to ten. We enter the cave at the Polly Ground Entrance, and travel through the main passage for up to 1km, or less if the group is starting to tire. We then return to the same entrance we entered. The time underground is 1-2 hours, which puts us back at the vehicles by 3 PM.

∂ Option 2 - This a bit more adventurous because it involves some rope-work. Because of vertigear limitations, we can only handle 5 people maximum. We enter the cave at the Zambia entrance, and then rappel 12m (descend a rope using vertical gear) into a medium-sized chamber. From there, we squeeze and scramble down through a small complex series for about 30m until we connect with the main passage. We then travel 1.1 km to exit at the Polly Ground Entrance. The time on descent and underground is 2-3 hours, which puts us back at the vehicles by 4 PM. A video of a recent outing using this route can be found at St Clair Cave - Zambia to Polly Ground, or on YouTube.

Price:

∂ Option 1 - 2,000 J$ per person for up to ten people.

∂ Option 2 - 3,000 J$ per person for up to five people.

What we supply:

∂ We supply all of the caving equipment, including helmets, headlamps, vertigear, and also give training in single rope technique.

∂ We do not supply lunch, snacks, or water. Please note that there are several cookshops in Ewarton.

What you'll need to bring:

∂ Wear shoes or boots, not sandals.

∂ Clothing should be long pants and a shirt that you don't mind getting muddy.

∂ Bring a change of clothes for when you reach back to your vehicle.

∂ Carry a litre of water and snacks in a small backpack.

For more information, contact Stefan (RS Stewart, Director Ė JCO) at info@jamaicancaves.org, or 876 397 7488.


Hiking

Cockpit Country Hike Ė Windsor

Jamaican Caves Organisation

Cockpit Country Circle Map

The JCO Cockpit Country Hike is a six kilometre circle route that begins and ends in Windsor, Trelawny. The first 2.5 km is on the historic Troy-Windsor Trail, and then for the next 1.5 km it follows local trails around Bamboo Bottom, one of the largest cockpits in the Cockpit Country (CC). For the final 2 km, it passes through Guthries, another very large cockpit, the history of which is somewhat obscure.

We carry out the hike only when enough interest is expressed, usually on weekends. Part of the money earned goes directly into the community by hiring our local bredren and sistren to assist, and part goes to JCO funding. Generally, we need a minimum of 10 people at a time to make it work.

Features of the hike include:

∂ The Troy-Windsor Trail itself, a centuries-old British army trail that endures well despite many years of neglect.

∂ Old-growth forest, as well as one of the very few, known stands of tree ferns in the CC

∂ Many epiphytes, including bromeliads and wicker

∂ The remains of what is believed to be a British army barracks from the Maroon wars (Conolley and JNHT) now hidden in the wilds of Guthries

∂ A visit to Windsor Great Cave (specifically, the outer 100m of the cave at the northern end)

The usual itinerary:

∂ We meet in Coxheath (the home of Usain Bolt), near Sherwood Content, at 11 AM

∂ We then drive to Windsor, park the vehicles, and begin the hike by 11:30

∂ We spend about 3 Ĺ hours hiking, which puts us back at Windsor about 3 PM

∂ Once back in Windsor, we hike for 10 minutes to the cave, spend about 30 minutes inside (this includes a JCO discussion on formation processes, biota, and hydrology), and then return to the vehicles by 4 PM

Price:

The price for Jamaican residents is 2,000 J$ per person with a minimum of 10 people. We regret that we cannot supply transport to Windsor, snacks, or beverages. For those who would like to find something to eat after the hike, there are a number of restaurants and cook-shops in Falmouth, which is on the way for most visitors.

What to bring:

∂ Running shoes or boots, not sandals

∂ Long pants, not shorts or capris

∂ 1.5 litres of water each

∂ Quick and easy snacks such as bun and cheese, hard-boiled eggs, sandwiches, or trail mix.

∂ Insect repellent

∂ A small day-pack to carry things (you need your hands free)

Directions to Coxheath/Windsor:

At the Falmouth/Martha Brae exit on the north coast highway, go inland (south).

After about 100m, there is a fork. Go left. After another 200-300m, turn left again (this is in Martha Brae). You will cross a bridge over the Martha Brae River after about 500m. On the far side of the bridge, turn right.

Follow the road past the rafting station and carry on until you get to Sherwood Content. The only point of confusion is a fork about 7 km from the bridge - take the right branch (left is to Perth Town).

At Sherwood Content, go straight through - don't turn left. After about 1km, go straight again - don't turn right.

We meet at Miss Lilly Boltís gift shop in Coxheath. If necessary, ask anyone you see how to find it and they will point the way Ė itís very well known.

Caveat:

Do not attempt this hike unless you are somewhat fit. Itís not particularly difficult, but itís also not a walk in the park. We cannot carry you out if you fade partway.

For more information, contact Stefan (RS Stewart, Director Ė JCO) at info@jamaicancaves.org, or 876 397 7488.


cc-hike-dem

www.jamaicancaves.org

93 Port Royal Street, Kingston

10 Tucker Road, Ewarton, St Catherine

JamaicanCaves.Org is a non-profit organization that is pleased to receive the support of:


Lilly's Bar and Shop The Last Resort


The Jamaican Caves Organization