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Cockpit Country is a rugged, mountainous, almost inaccessible region in the interior of western Jamaica. It is characterized by cockpit karst, which consists of formations of steep-sided limestone hills and ridges punctuated with sinkholes (some up to 390 feet [119 meters] deep), valleys, and basins. The flat bottoms of the valleys and basins contain terra rosa soils, which are some of the most fertile and productive on the island.
Because Cockpit Country could not be settled and the forests could not be cleared for agriculture, it remains the largest undisturbed contiguous rainforest in Jamaica. The mountainous region contains a unique environment, which is home to many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, and insects that are found nowhere else in the world.
The area is so inaccessible, even by today's standards, that Barbecue Bottom Road is the only road that penetrates Cockpit Country. It is a rough north-south road that was built along the side of a deep fault-based valley. The only other access into Cockpit Country is by two historic trails, Troy Trail and Quick Step Trail. Both trails have generally been unused over the last few decades.
Cockpit Country played an important role in the history of Jamaica. In 1655, the British invaded the island and seized it from the Spanish. The fleeing Spanish let their slaves go, and the slaves, known as Maroons, fled to Cockpit Country due to its remoteness and inaccessibility. For over 100 years, the Maroons attacked and harassed the British as they tried to evict them from the hills. The British never could penetrate the area with enough forces, and in 1738 they were forced to negotiate a peace treaty with the Maroons. This treaty ceded sovereign lands to the Maroons and gave them complete autonomy, even though slavery persisted in the rest of Jamaica for about the next 100 years. The Maroons still control Cockpit Country, and they are still suspicious of outsiders. However, as eco-tourism is becoming increasingly important to the economy of Jamaica, they are beginning to open some areas to eco-tourists.
I visited the edge of Cockpit Country on the back of a motocycle driven by a ganja-smoking Rastafarian who gave me a tour of the countryside outside of Montego Bay. That is something that I would not do today, but I was younger and maybe a bit more adventurous then.
Updated Jan 12, 2012
Just a short drive from Montego Bay but you will think you are on a different island.
The Orange River Ranch is the place to go for relaxing and birdwatching. There you will find 998 acres of seclusion.
If you really must, there are shuttles into Mo Bay daily.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
One of the oldest groups of the Rastafarian Movement in Jamaica is the one from Prince Emmanuel. His followers, the Edwardites or more commonly called 'Bobo's or Bobo Dreads' have a specific outlook on Rastafarianism. They live in Bull Bay, 10 miles out of Kingston, on top of a hill, they have baptised Mount Zion. The bobo's have a strict community. They wear a turban and robes. Their specific branch of Rastafarianism seems to be spreading since I was there and did a study on them in 1987/1988. Nowadays they have branches in Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia and on the major Caribbean Islands with a black community.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
We were lucky enough to spend some time with a real Jamaican family. We were picked up at the airport by Mr. Palmer and went directly to Whithorn for homemade ackee & saltfish, and some real down home hospitality.
Many Jamaican's don't have much, but they're still more than happy to share & show you a good time!
I'll cherish the time we spent with Shaun's family as some of our best experiences in Jamaica.
Written Feb 10, 2010
This is a historic estate that allows you to see alot. There is a 300 yr old windmill, over 2,000 orchids, Orchid Green House, Long Hole & Round Hole water areas, Estate House relaxation, see organic coconut oil being made and the working plantation.
This place is situated in St. Mary, Jamaica and is ideal for a laid back and relaxing day.
Written Aug 8, 2009
This is a great place to see. Lots of Beaches booze and Babes. The OverProof Rum is excellent with cola. Smooth going down and messes you up. Try the coconut rum. Better rum than Pureto Rico.The women are sexxy and wild.
Written Feb 24, 2008
This is a flea market that most of the locals shop at. It is cheaper than the markets at Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, or Negril. However, due to its distance it may not be necessary to go to if you are only going to buy one item. If you are going to due bulk shopping this is the place to be. Christmas time is when they have Grand Market and there will be massive traffic both cars and people. There are also a lot of clubs in the area as well.
This city is located between the tourist cities of Kingston and Ocho Rios. Tour buses that tour the Blue Mountains normally pass through this city, unfortunately few stop there.
Updated Dec 27, 2007
The bush is what the country parts are nicknamed. In particular the areas in the mountains. This area is not traversed by many tourist mainly because there are few hotels or bbs in the area. However, it is beautiful and safer than other places in Jamaica. There is always a nice breeze in this area. However, at night sometimes it gets a bit cold and you will need a sweater or jacket.
Updated Dec 27, 2007
Just off the cruise ship port and next door to Island Village Mall (away from downtown) in Ocho Rios is Fisherman's Beach, a great place to relax and have lunch or dinner. The fish is fresh-caught from the fisherman who use the beach to launch their boats. The food is good and the prices are reasonable. It's mostly visited by locals and cruise ship employees who want an authentic experience in Jamaica.
Written Dec 13, 2007
Too many people see the beaches only. Jamaica has so much more to offer and has an entirely different world from any other island in the area save Cuba. It has green lush meadows, plantations full of coffee trees, farms and wonderful people. If you want to get away from "Dr. Feelgood" and his ilk head for the hills!
Updated May 31, 2007
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