Green Grotto Caves, Saint Ann

 

After taking a dip in the cool waters of Dunn’s River and Falls, I let Carlton take me to our next destination because so far I enjoyed the places we visited. Beside the historical sites, the trip to the falls was fun. He was in a hurry and finally, when we reached our next destination I read the entrance sign, “Green Grotto Caves and Attractions; A National Heritage Site.

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Plants around the park

According to the signage information the area was also known for different names. Runaway Bay Caves, Cave Hall Caves, Discovery Bay Caves, Harbour Caves, Hopewell Caves, Rum Caves, Dairy Caves – these are various names which Green Grotto Caves once bore.

 

We went in and parked and Carlton led me to the visitor center and I found out that we were the last customers for the day.

I noticed that there were varieties of plans in the surroundings with information about them. I took some pictures, and then after paying $20 I got a solo tour of the caves. They gave me a hard hat and hair net and I both put it on. Now, let us begin with the history.

 

The cave is rich in history and can be identified with different groups of people. Their ancestors, the Arawak Indians (Tainos) found shelter in the cave initially. Proof of this is evident in the multiple fragments of pottery and adzes that are unearthed from time to time. During the period of take-over by the English, the caves were used as a hideout for the Spaniards who were being driven out of the country. 

James Bond: Live and Let Die

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James Bond Movie

“We first visited some enclosed area and it was kind of hot that I was sweating. We first visited the area which was converted into a club before and filming the location site of James Bond: Live and Let Die. Its the location of the antagonist Doctor Kananga’s lair. Here is a brief summary of the movie.

Three agents are mysteriously assassinated on the same day. It seems all of these agents were investigating the tinpot dictator Dr. Kananga. They send Bond to New York to investigate.

On his bar ride from the airport, Bond’s driver is assassinated by a fat man, and Bond follows the assassin to a soul food restaurant, and then follows him again to the lair of Mr. Big, a local thug and restaurateur. Mr. Big has a few henchmen and a henchwoman, Solitaire, whose power of virginity lets her read tarot cards and tell the future. Mr. Big orders Bond killed, but he escapes and chases Mr. Big to San Monique, the small island nation run by Dr. Kananga.

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Scenes from the movie

Once there, Bond tracks Solitaire down and schtoops the clairvoyance out of her. She agrees to cooperate with Bond to bring Dr. Kananga down. They do the unexpected and escape to New Orleans but are captured by Kananga again. Bond learns that Kananga and Mr. Big are the same person, just with a slightly smaller afro. It seems Kananga has a plan to sell free heroine from his soul food franchises until the mafia goes out of business and then exploit his monopoly on the newfound addicts. Apparently he got his doctorate in English.

Since Solitaire can’t see the future anymore, Kananga hands her over to be sacrificed. Bond saves her and kills Kananga and some guards. All that’s left is a relaxing train ride with Solitaire. But they are attacked by Tee Hee Johnson, Kananga’s one-armed henchman. Bond gives Johnson the bum’s rush, and turns his attention to Solitaire.”

 

I followed the tour guide and we walked along the trail and visited a couple more caves. It’s not only one but a series of subterranean caves.

Situated on 25.9 hectares of Jamaica’s beautiful north coast, 3.2 km from Discovery Bay to the west and 4 km from Runaway Bay to the east, the central feature of this natural attraction is the large labyrinthine limestone cave with its numerous rock formations, its stalactites, stalagmites and an abundance of overhead ceiling pockets.

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The stage and disco area

With a length of 1,525 meters and a depth of 12 meters, the cave is characterized by numerous chambers and light holes and a subterranean lake (the Grotto Lake) occupies its bowels.

We visited the underground lake which was dark and we had to have a flashlight. It was amazing to see this underground water but at the same time, it was creepy. The darkness that surrounds it and the uncertainty of what lies in the bottom are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind.

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Subterranean lake

 The caves can also be identified with that period between the two World Wars, where they were used by smugglers running arms in Cuba. In the latter years during the Second World War, the Government of Jamaica used the entrance of the cave as a storeroom for rum in barrels. The caves have been seeing visitors since the 18th century. In the 1960s they fell into the possession of the Kirkners, who sought to enrich the product offerings by improving the passageways and adding features such as bar and guided tours.”

After that, we walked on as he mentions it was hiding spots of slaves.

Since I was the last guest for the day so the tour was kind of rush. I just took some pics then we moved on-site by site and finally we ended the tour where we started at the club and then to the visitor center where Carlton was waiting.

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Eating by the road

The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) acquired the Green Grotto Caves in October 1999 and is developing the attraction into a nature park and reserve to include hiking, fishing and picnics.

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Eating delicious Jamaican food

After that we drove across the highway and stopped by a local stop area where they served delicious Jamaican food. I finally had my chicken jerky with salad and rice. The sauce was fantastic and I wasn’t disappointed with the taste of the barbeque. Carlton had the goat curry and we both ate and drank outside relaxing by the side of the road.

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To the next adventure

We watched the cars passed by the highway while people stop, come and go.  We took our time as I enjoy my vacation and look at the caves and hills of Discovery Bay not far from us. Truly, an exhilarating feeling.

Here are the links for more information:

https://theplanetd.com/green-grotto-caves-jamaica/

https://greengrottocavesja.com/

http://www.jamaicatravelandculture.com/destinations/st_ann/green-grotto-caves.htm

Live and Let Die (1973) Movie Synopsis

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Say Cheez!