Jamaica’s underground is riddled with caves, more than 1,000 of them already located and named. Jamaica is cave rich due to the massive limestone beds covering most of the island. Rainwater dissolves the upper limestone crust, which in turn forms caves, sinkholes and buried rivers.
For a peek at Jamaica’s underside, visit the easily accessible Green Grotto Caves just off route A1 near Discovery Bay. If you ask for directions, you may be told Green Grotto Caves is located near Runaway Bay but it is actually almost half-way between Discovery and Runaway Bays, just a little closer to Discovery Bay so it has a Discovery Bay address. If you have a rental car, it’s impossible to miss.
Once a haven for runaway slaves, gunrunners and Spanish soldiers, Green Grotto Caves is where Jamaica stored some of its rum barrels following World War II. Later, the cave system was used to house cows and at one time even turned into a night club before becoming the Green Grotto Caves attraction.
The well-lighted cave system extends for more than 5,000 feet and descends to a depth of around 36 feet underground. Stalactites and stalagmites have created large, unusual shapes, including one formation said to resemble a map of Jamaica. Some of the rocks here are so thin they can be played like a drum, which the guide will do for you.
Named for the green fungus on some walls, Green Grotto Caves is connected to nearby coastal waters. Grotto Lake at the bottom is a mix of fresh and salt water and able to house barnacles and fish.
If it happens to be near lunch before or after your tour, consider going across the street to The Ultimate Jerk Centre, which rapidly is gaining a loyal following for having some of the island’s best jerk; (876) 973-2054.