The fabulous Green Grotto Caves located in Discovery Bay, Ocho Rios, Jamaica are one of the island’s most popular attractions. Its name was derived from the signature green algae on the walls of the cave.
History states that the cave was first used by the Taino Indians for the purpose of shelter; this was made clear by the discovery of cave paintings and fragments of pottery inside the cave. Runaway slaves made it their safe haven when hiding from their masters. The Spanish used the cave as a hiding place during the British Invasion in the year 1665 and they were used by smugglers to smuggle arms to Cuba, having a tunnel that led to the sand made this possible. The Jamaican government also used the entrance of the cave as a storeroom for rum barrels toward the end of the Second World War.
The Caves, now owned by the UDC was the first in the world to be granted Green Globe Certification; this is a global environmental organization which runs a benchmarking and certification program for sustainable tourism. It was also the first in the Caribbean to be granted this certification. The Caves are called by various names as a result of the many uses over the years, these include: Runaway Caves, Dairy Caves, Rum Caves, Hopewell Caves, Dry Harbour Caves.
Nine species of bats make the Green Grotto Caves their home. The Big Eared Bat, Moustache Bat and Fruit Eating Bat are a few of the residents in the cave. Guano is abundant in the caves and visitors are provided with hard hats and are advised to keep their mouths closed when looking up at the bats. Many persons will be frightened when the bats fly towards them and some will find it entertaining.
The main chamber of the Caves were once used as a dance floor, it even has tables and chairs which is not the first thing one would expect to see upon entering a cave. Though it is very beautiful with bridges and stairs and beautiful formations, the highlight of the Caves is the crystal clear lake. After descending sixty steps, thirty-seven meters into the innermost cavern of the cave, visitors come upon the breathtakingly beautiful lake that resembles a mirror. Some persons might not even realize it is there because it shows a reflection of the roof of the cave so it seems you are staring at the floor of the cave. The lake lies still and leads to the outside of the cave.
Many tours are done daily and at the beginning of the tour visitors are given a hard hat and are advised of the rules of the Caves. The tour is really an interesting and exciting experience and the guides are very knowledgeable and informative and they make the tour fun for adults and children alike. Throughout the caves, you will be fascinated by the different formations, structures and areas you come across.
The Caves are open 9:00 am–4:00 pm every day. Wear comfortable shoes and enjoy the amazing experience that is the Green Grotto Caves and Attractions.