Darrian and I took a Mom and son trip to Green Grotto Caves, which is just on the outskirts of Discovery Bay, less than 10 minutes drive east from Mais Oui Villa. It was a little rainy and we wanted something to do. We called and, sure enough, they were open. The caves never flood, they told us, so they are open 365 days per year, 9am to 4pm.
In case you were wondering, we did not ask for, neither did we receive, any form of compensation for writing this post. If you want the full story of our travel review, keep reading. If you just want the highlights or the key tips, please scroll to the bottom.
Our guide for the 45-minute tour was Germaine. He provided a great balance between geography, history, humor and a little touch of drama.
Green Grotto Caves is 1525m in length and 12m deep and connects to other cave systems that are over the island. Impressive stalactites, stalagmites, rock pillars, overhead ceiling pockets, as well as numerous rock formations stimulate the imagination. There are many chambers, some yet to be explored and some too dangerous to explore.
The caves have an interesting history. There is evidence that the Taino Indians used the caves for shelter and worship. Peculiarly, there are no drawings on the cave walls, which was common among early societies across the globe. Nevertheless, artifacts found in the caves, like pieces of pottery that reportedly date to that time, support that claim.
Popular folklore says that the last Spanish governor hid there as he fled from the British who were hot on his trail. He was aided by runaway slaves whom he promised to free; unfortunately, he ran off to Cuba leaving them behind.
Around the Second World War, the Jamaican Government used the front entrance to store rum, a very important commodity.
From 1989 – 1994, during a time when it was privately owned, the main entrance of the cave was a nightclub called Pirates’ hideaway. It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine the cool parties that could have happened here. Unfortunately, the music caused vibrations in the limestone and caused rocks to fall. The cave also wasn’t too friendly to drunk people, who for example, could get lost in the cave. So, as intriguing of an experience as it was, it had to come to a halt.
Fortunately, the current owners have recognized the need for conservation of Jamaica’s national resources and treasures. The attraction boasts platinum certification by EarthCheck – a certification and advisory group for travel and tourism that recognizes organizations that engage in sustainable practices, an achievement of which they are most proud.
The nightclub area still has seating and concrete work that is clearly man-made. Pathways are paved. Despite those deviations from nature, the cave, for the most part, is in its natural state.
This is not a tour for die hard spelunkers or for someone who has visited the famous caves of the world. This tour is best for someone who would like a fun and educational experience in a unique environment. It is an especially great tour for children.
The cave system is home to millions of bats; but, surprisingly, they were fairly inconspicuous. They did not come in contact with us. The good news is that they eat insects and fruit and so don’t bite humans. Our guide gave us this advice, “If you look up, keep your mouth closed”. Nuff said. We did not find the advice necessary, but, I can imagine it being good advice.
Here is some cool trivia.
When do you pay a lot of money for a load of dung? When it is bat dung!
Guano, excrement from the bats, is the most expensive fertilizer in Jamaica, costing about US$40 per pound.
My favorite part of the tour has always been the visit to the underground lake. The water in the grotto is about 19ft deep and is amazingly clear, so clear that the rocks formations are mirrored in the waters below. When I was a child, there used to be a boat ride on this lake; but, this was stopped many years ago due to liability reasons.
More trivia: Have you ever watched the James Bond movie, Live and Let Die, which was filmed in Jamaica? The scene where James Bond (Roger Moore) and Solitaire (Jane Seymour) were tied up above a shark infested lake was filmed at the underground lake. No worries. There are no sharks in Green Grotto’s lake.
Experience the concept of absolute darkness when your guide turns off the lights. As you stand there, imagine yourself as a slave, venturing into the cave, in pitch darkness, with no paved walkway, no electricity, and unable to use a torch because the methane in the guano could cause an explosion, all because you need to find water and this lake is your only water source. How would you do it? This is truly a testament to the skill and resourcefulness of the human mind.
Ok, brace yourself. Here is one cool thing I learned on this tour.
Batman does exist … and he is Jamaican.
That is all I can say. You have to go to Discovery Bay, Jamaica to Green Grotto, to the Bat Cave, to see what I mean. And, no, there won’t be bats landing all over you. That would be just gross.
So, visit Green Grotto Caves then write to me when you get back and let me know if you found Batman’s secret.
There are a few other highlights that I didn’t mention because I want you to have a few things to which you should look forward.
Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.
When you visit Green Grotto Caves, please make sure you give a shout out to Germaine, a great tour guide!
Date of visit: November 2016
Have you visited Green Grotto Caves in Discovery Bay, Jamaica? How was your experience? Let us know. Leave a comment below.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Til next time,
Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups, retreats, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.
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Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!