Less than a hour from the glistening blue water and sparkling white sand beaches of Jamaica’s north coast lies an enticing nature lover’s paradise and photographer’s dream known as Cockpit Country. Rich in history and culture, the region is riddled with towering cliffs, limestone caves, underground rivers and flowing waterfalls. The dense wet limestone forest, crisscrossed with hiking trails, is home to exotic plants, birds and reptiles, many of which are found no where else in the world.
Cockpit Country Adventure Tours (CCAT) is headquartered in Albert Town, Trelawny, located on the eastern boundary of the Cockpit Country. CCAT is a small eco-tourism outfit managed by the Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency (STEA) . STEA’s mission is to promote development in Trelawny and its environs by implementing environmental conservation and economic opportunity projects (such as the Trelawny Yam Festival) and CCAT is one way in which this mission is funded. CCAT uses the local resources of Cockpit Country t o provide an authentic Jamaican experience that is an alternative to the “sun and sand” vacation most visitors associate with Jamaica. Local guides familiar with the area are professionally trained to take visitors to natural attractions, residents of the area open their homes to provide Bed & Breakfast services and local chefs provide authentic Jamaican cuisine as part of each tour. By developing and using these local resources CCAT aims to provide high-quality, safe and reliable recreational and educational eco-tourism experiences based on the natural attractions of Cockpit Country while providing economic opportunities for citizens of the area.
CCAT has taken care to ensure that no damage is caused to the cave and forest ecosystems in which our tours are conducted. The organization strives to maintain a high standard of sustainable eco-tourism development to ensure that these valuable natural resources are available for use by future generations. Each site is maintained in its natural state and few built structures will be evident on any of our tours. We invite you to come experience the beauty of Jamaica as it was meant to be.
Centered in the parish of Trelawny, Cockpit Country extends to the neighboring parishes of Manchester, St. Elizabeth, St. James and St. Ann and encompasses approximately 550sq km of wet limestone forest. It represents Jamaica’s largest wilderness area and is of global significance for its Karst limestone topography and biodiversity. Over the eons the limestone has been eroded by rainfall, leaving behind a unique landscape of conical hillocks and deep depressions called cockpits. There are more than 5,000 cockpits in the area creating a terrain likened to an inverted egg carton. Erosion of the limestone terrain has also left the area riddled with underground caves and rivers. This unique terrain provides refuge for numerous endemic and threatened species of flora and fauna the serves as the primary watershed for the western part of Jamaica, providing water for the Martha Brae and Black Rivers. It is a valuable natural resource and attracts visitors from Jamaica and abroad.
Cockpit Country is being threatened by removal of trees for firewood, coal production, yam stick harvesting and clearing of land for cultivation. Citizens in the area are littering roadways and forest areas with garbage, unaware of appropriate solid waste disposal practices. Efforts to protect and conserve the remaining forest must provide viable economic alternatives to these destructive practices. Eco-tourism provides one alternative by providing income to guides, restaurants, retailers, guest houses and transportation vendors.
By choosing Cockpit Country Adventure Tours you are making a difference in the lives of many Jamaicans and you are helping to conserve one of the most important natural places on earth.
Listen to a Cockpit Country Adventure Tours commercial (MP3, 419 KB)
View STEA’s Insurance Policy (PDF, 267 KB)