Caribbean Tourism

The Cockpit Country

This is a strange and virtually uninhabited area to the south of Falmouth and to the southwest of Montego Bay. It consists of a seemingly endless succession of high bumps made of limestone rock. The tourist office and hotels in Montego Bay organize day trips (about US$50) to Maroon Town (no longer occupied by Maroons) and Accompong, the headquarters of the Maroons who live in the Cockpit Country area. An annual festival is held here at the beginning of January with traditional music and dance, T9524546, Kenneth Watson.


Older locals can accurately describe what happened at the last battle between the Maroons and the British forces. Ask to see the ‘Wondrous Caves’ at Elderslie near Accompong. If you have a car take the road on the east side of the Cockpit Country from Duncans (near Falmouth) to Clark’s Town. From there the road deteriorates to a track, impassable after a few miles even for four-wheel drive vehicles, to Barbecue Bottom and on to Albert Town. The views from Barbecue Bottom are truly spectacular (the track is high above the Bottom) and this is wonderful birding country. If you wish to walk in the Cockpit Country make your way, either by car or on foot (no public transport), to the Windsor Caves due south of Falmouth. They are full of bats which make a spectacular mass exit from the caves at dusk. There are local guides to hand. The underground rivers in the caves (as elsewhere in much of Jamaica) run for miles, but are only for the experienced and properly equipped potholer.

There is a locally published book called Jamaica Underground; many caves and good walks in the area. For caving, contact Mike Schwartz of Windsor Great House, T9973832, wind...@cwjamaica.com It is possible to walk from the Windsor Caves across the middle of the Cockpit Country to Troy on the south side (about eight hours). It is essential to have a local guide and to make a preliminary trip to the Windsor Caves to engage him. Convince yourself that he really does know the way because these days this crossing is very rarely made even by the locals. It is also vastly preferable to be met with transport at Troy because you will still be in a pretty remote area.


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