COCKPIT COUNTRY ADVENTURE TOURS
History, adventure, and awe come alive as you discover Cockpit Country in the heart of Jamaica.
GUIDED NATURE WALK
ABOUT COCKPIT COUNTRY
Jamaica's Last Remaining Wilderness
Cockpit Country is a rugged, natural paradise located in the heart of the island. Hundreds of species found nowhere else in the world make their home in Cockpit Country and its unique geology has created countless caves, waterfalls and towering cliffs for visitors to view and explore.
The area hosts approximately 1500 endemic plant and animal species and is classified as a hot spot in a hot spot. It is the habitat for Jamaica’s 28 endemic bird species and hosts several migratory species.
The 73,000 Jamaicans in 66 communities living in and around Cockpit Country have created a cultural heritage whose warmth and friendliness are unparalleled. As the location of many of the first Maroon settlements and the battlefield and ally for Maroon fighters in Jamaica’s earliest independence struggles, Cockpit Country is one of the final bastions for the old-time culture of the Jamaican countryside, which is disappearing in today’s modern world. It is the birthplace of several Olympic Gold medal athletes including sprint legend Usain Bolt. The rich heritage and natural history are kept alive today in crafts, food, art, music, and humanity of Cockpit Country’s residents.
The area is networked with hiking trails originally used by the Maroon warriors in their successful battle against British colonial warriors to secure their freedom. Its white limestone base weathered over eons resulting in over 300 cave communities that served as Maroon hideouts during their wars.
We welcome you to come support our conservation and protection efforts against mining and quarrying; while participating in natural adventure, exploring the warmth of community life, and being immersed into awesome and authentic ecotourism.
Cockpit Country Adventure Tours is a project of the Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency (STEA). STEA was formed in 1996 to address environmental problems affecting south Trelawny, facilitate environmentally friendly economic and community development activities and promote sustainable use of the natural resources of Cockpit Country. In response to a national focus on parks and protected areas, a group of concerned citizens convened a meeting to discuss the importance of Cockpit Country as a natural forest reserve. The meeting provided a wealth of information on the unique characteristics of Cockpit Country, with its Karst limestone topography and high levels of biodiversity in the area. Several individuals, impressed with the content of the information, passed a resolution to launch an organization that would focus its attention on conservation and development of the area.
The decision to form the organization came after a meeting was held with citizens of local communities to discuss the importance of Cockpit Country and the need to conserve and protect this high biodiversity wet limestone forest region. The organization has a membership of 221, including 12 corporate members, all of whom support the mission and goals of the institution. STEA has a small local staff with the support of U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers and a voluntary Board of Directors that oversees the operations of the organization.
STEA has developed an internationally recognized community and eco-tourism program in southern Trelawny with Cockpit Country Adventure Tours (CCAT). These tours generate income for trained guides, chefs, homes offering bed & breakfast and other service providers in the area, and help to sustain STEA’s operations. This project is in keeping with STEA’s mission to provide alternative business activities for local citizens that are consistent with conservation and sustainable use of the natural resources of Cockpit Country. STEA’s mission with Cockpit Country Adventure Tours is to provide alternative business activities for local citizens that are consistent with conservation and sustainable use of the natural resources of Cockpit Country.
The CCAT program has brought hundreds of visitors to the area, educating visitors about the region and providing income to southern Trelawny residents
CCAT is recognized by the Jamaica Tourist Board, which requires that CCAT operate at international standards
CCAT is fully licensed and insured
STEA has recruited, trained and certified over 30 local tour guides
STEA has worked with schools in south Trelawny to motivate teachers, students, and environmental clubs to engage in learning exercises focused on preserving the natural environment.