The Green Grotto Caves are a limestone cave in Saint Anns, Jamaica. They are formed by water erosion and are known for their beautiful calcite deposits. Green Grotto Caves is a popular tourist attraction and offer visitors an exciting exploration experience.
This comprehensive guide will discuss everything you need to know.
History of the Green Grotto Caves
The history of the green grotto caves dates back to the first Jamaicans, the Tainos, who used it as shelter. A Tiano chief (cacique) and his wife were buried in a cave on the property.
It is costumery for the cacique’s favorite wife to be buried with him when he dies.
She drinks to drink a poisonous drink made from casava and joins her husband in the afterlife.
Apart from providing shelter for the Tainos, it was also the hiding spot for the Spaniards doing the British invasion. In addition, runaway slaves and pirates also used it as a hideaway.
After world war two, it was a rum storage facility, then a nightclub in the 90s.
Today, the green grotto caves are a popular tourist destination and offer visitors an exciting exploration experience.
It costs US$20 for persons 13 years and over and US$10 for children ages 4-12.
Jamaican residents play J$1,000 for patrons over 13 years and older and J$500 for children ages 4-12.
Requirement for entry
Resident Adults must present one of the following forms of valid identification at the Ticket Office:
1. Jamaican Driver’s Licence
2. National Registration ID(Voter’s ID)
3. Local Employment ID
They do not accept a Jamaica passport as a form of identification. Identification is needed to prove that you are a Jamaican resident, not a Jamaican national.
When is the best time to visit the Green Grotto Caves?
The best time to visit the green grotto caves is during the dry season, which runs from December to May. The weather is cooler, and there is less chance of rain during this time. However, you can visit the Green Grotto Caves year-round.
How deep are the caves
Green Grotto is 1,525 meters long and 12 meters deep and with numerous chambers, light holes, and an underground lake – the Grotto Lake – at its lowest point.
The 35 steps that lead to Grotto Lake are not for everyone. It will be challenging to descend and ascend if you have a mobility issue. If your fitness level is low, I would advise you not to take this journey.
You are not allowed to swim in the 19 feet-deep lake. In the past, the tour included a boat ride on the lake, which ended because of a tragic accident.
What to wear when touring
It is best to wear closed-toe shoes when visiting the Green Grotto Caves, sneakers, or shoes with proper grip. While there are suitable walking surfaces, you can slip if you wear smooth-bottom shoes. If it rains, you might also have difficulty walking in some sections of the tour.
Unlike most caves, the Green Gratto cave is warm, so you dont need any unique clothing. However, comfortable clothing is advisable. Your head will come close to rocks; however, they provide protective helmets.
How long is the tour
The Green Grotto Cave tour usually takes about 45 minutes and takes you through the caverns of the caves and Green Grotto Lake. However, a mixture of education and entertainment from the experienced tour guides makes this journey seems less.
Who Owns the Green Grotto Caves
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) owned and managed Green Grotto Caves, which they acquired in 1999, upgraded, and reopened in April 2000.
Over the years, they have transformed it into a world-class attraction winning many awards, including the EarthCheck Platinum Certification Award.
The UDC is responsible for some of Jamaica’s best attractions, such as Dunn’s River Fall and Ocho Rios’ best beaches.
What to expect
What to expect when visiting the green grotto caves? First, visitors can expect a magnificent underground cavern showing nature’s intelligence and beauty. While a knowledgeable, entertaining tour guide gives you all the fun facts and history about the cave.
Also, sighting the Jamaica fruit bat is inevitable because it’s their habitat.
Resort near the Green Grotto Caves
The closest resort to the Green Grotto Caves is the Bahia Principe Resort, a three-minute walk from each other. Also, the caves are just 20 minutes from Ocho Rios, where you find some of the best adult and family resorts in Saint Anns.
How Far Are the Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto Caves is less than an hour’s drive from Montego, about two hours from Negril, and one hour from Kingston.
These are essential tips for you to remember when touring Green Grotto Caves.
- Wear safe and comfortable clothing
- Use the protective provided if you refuse. It is at your own risk
- Dispose of your garbage properly
- You are not allowed to break or disfigure the cave’s delicate formation
- Do not smoke in the caves.
- You can not take your pets.
- You need a tour guide on your tour of the caves.
My experience touring the Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto Caves is an attraction I have wanted to visit since I was a child. Because I have heard so many fascinating stories about it; however, I didn’t get to go until June 2022.
Entering the parking lot seemed like a world-class attraction: the manicured lawn, adequately laid parking space, and attractive signage stood out.
A polite security officer greeted us and directed our group to the front desk. Unfortunately, it was raining, so they sent us to the large pavilion, where we signed the necessary waivers and got a brief from a staff member about how our tour would go.
The bathrooms were spacious and clean, and the reception area was attractive and welcoming. However, the paved walkway was slippery because of the drizzle when we arrived. Therefore, you should wear shoes with proper grip, or walking can be tricky.
There are signs everywhere giving directions to the different areas; also, all the plants had labels showing their names and information about them.
At the Green Grotto Caves entrance, birds flew in and out of the cave. We thought they were bats, but the tour guide informed us they were birds.
The attendant greeted us, reminded us briefly of the safety rule, and then gave us our protective headgear.
We then met one of the most entertaining and informative tour guides, Mr. Brown, who gave us a brief history of the caves.
My first impression of Green Gratto Cave
Green Gratto Cave is massive; I thought it would be a fabulous resort.
You could easily get lost exploring because it is massive and has many caverns to explore.
The most friendly, entertaining, and knowledgeable tour guides led our group. He educated us on the history of the caves and kept a group of ten and 11-year-olds engaged.
Everybody played full attention and was eager to participate.
We learn that the first cave we explored was not called Green Grotto but Discovery or Runaway cave. Also that there are many caves on the property.
I thought there was only one cave; however, that is not the case; there are many.
The Green Grotto Cave is where you find the Green Grotto Lake at the bottom of the 35 steps.
Going to the Green Grotto Lake was challenging, climbing down the narrow steps. Once at the bottom, we saw one of the most beautiful underground lakes. There is light, but the guide turns them off, so we see what it would be like without it.
After Green Grotto, we explored two more caves and saw the Jamaica fruit bats.
The tour lasted about 45 minutes but felt like ten because it was entertaining. Thanks to our tour guide and the many stories and interesting fact he shared along the way.
Green Grotto is an excellent attraction; however, it is not for you if you are out for adventurous exploration.
The routes to the cave are enhanced, so it’s safe for everybody, so you dont feel like an authentic exploration adventure.
However, if you are a professional cave explorer, you may ask for permission to explore other un explore sections of the caves.
They say about ninety percent of the caves on unexplored, so it would be interesting to see what you discover.
The Green Grotto Caves are a must-see for anyone visiting Jamaica. The Taíno people used these limestone caves as shelter, a place of worship, and to store their treasures. Today, they offer visitors a glimpse into Jamaican history and nature.
The caves are in Discovery Bay, about an hour’s drive from Kingston. The cost for entry is $20 per person, which includes access to all areas of the cave system.
What to expect: The caves are dark and humid, so you’ll want to wear clothes that cover your skin and shoes that can get wet. Tours last around 45 minutes and include a walk through several different chambers.
The best time to visit the Green Grotto Caves is early morning or late afternoon when it’s not too hot outside.