Cockpit Country Adventure Tours
The Cockpit Country covers areas in the Jamaican Parishes of Trelawny and Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Saint Ann, Manchester and the northern parts of Clarendon.
The land is marked by steep hollow ridges which can be as much as 400 feet deep. The land though beautiful and tranquil can be quiet inhospitable. It is an important source of fresh water for the large part of the island.
The Cockpit country was the name given to the area by the British during the First Maroon War (~1730-1738) because it reminded them of the "cockpit" in the aft lower deck of a man-of-war where the wounded were taken.
The Cockpit Country Adventure tours (CCAT)
The Cockpit Country Adventure tours (CCAT) is an ecotourism package that offers hiking, visits to various water falls, caving, bird watching to visitors. This is done in the cockpit communities of Spring Gardens, Alps and other communities.
The tour is operated by the Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency (STEA).
Below you can find relevant contact, booking and directions information for the Cockpit country Adventure tours
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Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency
[Attn: Cockpit Country Adventure Tours]
#3 Grant’s Office Complex
Albert Town P.O., Trelawny
Jamaica, West Indies
Directions to the Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency (STEA)
The STEA and CCAT office is located on the edge of Cockpit Country in the rural community of Albert Town.
Below are directions from Jamaica’s main routes the office:
From Montego Bay
Go east along North Coast Highway past Falmouth to Duncans, from Duncans go south to Clarks Town, fom Clarks Town go 5 miles east to Jackson Town, From Jackson Town go south to Albert Town. Approximate travel time 2 hours.
From Ocho Rios
To Albert Town: Go west along North Coast Highway to Runaway Bay, from Runaway Bay go south to Browns Town, from Brownstown go southwest to Jackson Town, from Jackson Town go south to Albert Town. Approximate travel time 2.5 hours.
From South Coast (including Kingston)
To Albert Town: Go to Mandeville, from Mandeville go north to Christiana, from Christiana go north to Albert Town. Approximate travel time from Mandeville 1.5 hours.
The History and Attraction of the Cockpit country
The cockpit country is Jamaica’s last remaining wilderness. There are over 1500 endemic plants and animal species. Picturesque waterfalls, trails and a series of caves. You can experience the natural wild life and the underground Caves while you interact with locals, to include descendants of Maroons, who will act as your personal hiking guide for wildlife, bird watching, lessons about the medicinal properties of some of the plants in the area and of course the main event; exploring the caves to include the Popular Printed Circuit cave.
The cockpit country spans over 500 Square miles and is home to about 70, 000 people including the Leeward Maroons of Jamaica. The area’s defining characteristic is a series of sculpted limestone Hills and valleys spread throughout the six Parishes found within its boundaries.
As Jamaica’s largest remaining natural forest, the area has been designated as protected.
The Printed Cave and the Maroons
The printed cave is one of approximately 300 caves in Jamaica's cockpit country region known worldwide for its unique lime stone topography and high species concentration, lying south of the mouth river in south Trelawny. This cave boasts ten entrances which access a two mile long of dry and scrive passages.
Historically the Maroons in the 18th Century sheltered in these caves to craft their strategies against the British soldiers who they fought successfully to reinforce their freedom and to establish independent statewood. They had a good night sleeps and they had water because the aquafers flow alongside and inside those caves into the sinks and emerge elsewhere.
Inside the Caves
As part of the tour sightseers can traverse what is likely to have been the same walked by the Maroons in times of rebellion or use as a place of refuge during times of escape from their colonial captors’
The walls on both sides of the caves are pure limestones, clay is also found in the caves There are 21 species of bats that occupy the caves and some of them are endemic to Jamaica. They are significant in the role they play in pollinating plants, controlling mosquito population and the ability to transfer seeds that grow in the deep wild of the cockpit country.
Legends, Myths and obeah
Locally the printed cave is known as ‘John Fowden’ and is found in the community of Rock Spring. Legend has it that John Fowden practiced obeah in the cave calling on a crocodile to do his bidding. It is believed that one night while being drunk, he did some misdeeds which cause the crocodile to be displeased when called upon the “obeah crocodile” sent a real crocodile in its place which promptly ate John Fowden when he attempted to get it to do his bidding. That was the end of John Fowden obeah practice.
Visitors can admire the stalactites and stalagmites formation. While learning about the entire ecosystem of bats that hang from the ceilings and crabs and shrimp that live in the water and the occasional Jamaica yellow boa snake.
The Printed circuit cave has three levels with water on the lowest level. Vistors are often encouraged to enjoy a swim in the tranquil waters of the lowest level.
There is an amazing water shed and amazing ecology the aquifers lead the water underground and it emerges within the same land scape and outside of the landscape as springs as rivers and it provides water supply for all of western Jamaica through five major rivers White River.Martha Brae River. Great River, Rio Bueno and Black River all driven by topology and geography of the cockpit country, Its beauty, is associated with how these features come alive