Jamaica Experience: Exploring the Green Grotto

Jamaica Experience: Exploring the Green Grotto

Jamaica, Montego Bay, Discovery Bay
Who's ready for a day of caving? The Green Grotto Caves are so stunning in photographs that I decided to brave the bats and snakes and spend some time exploring a slice of Jamaica's mythical underground.

Who's ready for a day of caving? The caves of the Green Grotto are so captivating in photographs that I decided to brave the bats and snakes and spend some time exploring a piece of Jamaica's mythical underground.

I've been in a cave or two before, and there's definitely an eerie tingle in the air as you climb over rocks and under stalactites to wander through unknown spaces. Each cave promises its own collection of fascinating treasures, so I decided to be brave and venture into Jamaica's most famous caves.

Tour of the Green Grotto Caves

It was a smooth ride from Montego Bay, about an hour's drive east. The scenery was beautiful as the road parallels the coastline and the Caribbean Sea shimmers in the scorching sun. Upon arrival we were greeted by a bright smile from our friendly guide who showed us inside.

We paid our dues and received helmets to protect our heads from low-hanging structures and things falling from above, flying or otherwise. A little regret crept in, but I stuck my chest out and headed forward with my friends.

Our guide had a great sense of humor and I immediately felt relaxed. The first stop inside the cave was a wide opening with dim lighting, a still untouched stage and stone picnic benches. Our guide told us that it used to be a lively nightlife spot. While I can't imagine drinking Bob Marley shots or pina coladas here, under the sleeping bats and dripping calcium, I thought to myself, this is a really cool place for a cool party. Under the right influence, I might be ready to explode in butterfly to a catchy reggae beat.

We climbed 65 steps that took us over 50 feet underground into the “Belly of the Grotto.” Here you will find the most serene river flowing through the caves. She is as quiet as a mouse and I was confused to learn that it is actually moving water and not a calm lake. In fact, if you go deep enough, you'll encounter the sea and be able to swim to nearby Puerto Seco Beach!

Evolution of the cave

Our guide was very knowledgeable and told us stories of Spanish soldiers hiding here from the English in the 16th century. Soon after, the slaves were the ones who made this vast underground space their refuge. I thought the cool air and crystal clear water would be a good refuge until our guide reminded us that the caves were pitch black when the slaves walked through their corridors.

Apparently bat droppings are extremely flammable, so torches would be more harmful than helpful. At that moment, our guide turned off the light, and I couldn’t even see the glasses on my own face. It was so dark that I was afraid to move my feet an inch, and I was definitely on edge, listening to someone scurrying around under my feet. These caves are home to Jamaican snakes, and although they are not poisonous, this fact was alarming.

I said a little prayer for my ancestors who definitely had the strength of steel to navigate these dangerous caves without light. One wrong step can easily lead to you falling into a hole of unknown depth. I was very glad to return to the light and step out onto the magnificent deck, where I immediately ordered a snack and a drink to calm my nerves.

The tour lasted only 45 minutes and was as exciting as it was a little scary. We learned that we haven't even combed the entire network of tunnels underground, as oxygen becomes very scarce and discoveries become more dangerous the further you go. I may be a big weakling, but my child had a lot of fun - both in the caves and throughout the journey, he laughed at me.

Source: visitjamaica

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