Green Grotto Caves

Ocho Rios, Port Antonio & the North Coast

This impressive system of caves and tunnels, 3km east of Discovery Bay, extends for about 45km. The steps lead down into the impressive chambers, where statuesque dripstone formations are illuminated by floodlights. The Taíno people carried out their rituals here, and the caves have frequently been used as hideouts – by the Spanish during the English takeover of Jamaica in 1655, by runaway slaves in the 18th century, and between the two world wars by smugglers running arms to Cuba.

The highlight is Green Grotto, a glistening subterranean lake 36m down. The entrance fee includes a guided one-hour tour, which is particularly family friendly. The guides conduct their tours with humor and attempt to amaze you by tapping formations to produce hollow drumlike sounds, as well as pointing out the different species of bats that live in the cave, and maybe even their imported predator, the Jamaican yellow boa.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ocho Rios, Port Antonio & the North Coast attractions

1. Columbus Park

2.85 MILES

This park on the remains of Quadrant Wharf, built in 1777 by the British, remembers the first fateful encounter between the Taíno people of Xaymaca and…

2. Gallery Joe James

5.64 MILES

This is the sort of wonderful old place eccentrics dream of owning. In this case, said eccentric is Mr Joe James, father of former England and Liverpool…

3. Cranbrook Rainforest Gardens

6.18 MILES

This vast botanical garden is a tranquil treat, crafted in the lush valley that carves up into the hills south of Laughlands, about 5km west of Priory…

4. Jacob Taylor Beach

10.26 MILES

Right next to the Silver Sands Resort there's a turnoff for this small, flotsam- and jetsam-strewn fishermen's beach. The cerulean waves are too rough for…

5. Seville Great House

10.48 MILES

This historical park overlooking the sea, less than 1km west of present-day St Ann’s, marks the site of the first Spanish capital on the island – Sevilla…

6. Kettering Baptist Church

10.61 MILES

Kettering Baptist Church, built in 1893, is a creamy-colored building that commemorates William Knibb, a Baptist missionary and a leading abolitionist who…

7. Our Lady of Perpetual Help

10.88 MILES

Up the hill from the Columbus Monument is the exquisite Catholic church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, built in contemporary Spanish design by an Irish…

8. Columbus Monument

10.9 MILES

At the far west end of Main St, at the forgotten end of town, stands the Columbus Monument, a monumental traffic circle topped by a bronze figure of the…