COCKPIT COUNTRY: More adventures ahead

by Oct 28, 2021Discover

PICTURESQUE landscape characterised by rolling hills, serene valleys, cavernous sinkholes, more than 300 caves and lush forestry that is home to 28 endemic species of birds. That’s the backdrop for Cockpit Country Adventure Tours, a five-star attraction on Trip Advisor. It’s in Warsop, Trelawny.

The lush hills and valleys of Cockpit Country.

Once the stomping ground of the Maroons and Tainos, there’s a lot of history in what some say is the last remaining wilderness in Jamaica.

Environmentalist Hugh Dixon, head of the Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency (STEA) which operates the tour, also has a lot planned for the future. He’s determined to protect the area while sharing it with all who wish to be captivated by its charm.

A look back, from within, at the entrance to one of the more than 300 caves in the area known for spelunking.

Thanks to COVID-19, cave visits have been scuttled for now. It’s hard to practice social distancing in such cramped quarters. But there’s still a lot on offer for those who absolutely adore being outdoors.

“What we are offering at the moment is the hike or bird watching experience,” Dixon tells

You may book a 10-mile hike across Cockpit Country or, with the help of a guide, see how many species of birds you’re able to spot. And there’s more to come.

“Where we are heading now is packaging of the unique features,” says Dixon.

These will include day tours focused on the historic significance of the area.

DIXON… where we are heading now is packaging of the unique features

“We would take you to historic locations in the Cockpit Country and it could be historic in terms of looking at the geology, how it evolved overtime. Or we could be looking at the history of the occupation, which could take you into free villages to see how it developed,” he adds. “It could be agricultural; to show you the production of yams and other crops and understand the economy of agriculture and its value to the community. We could be offering you a tour to see the plant species and their usage for medicinal purposes. Or it [may be] just viewing the landscape. It could be one of those, or it could be a nice combo. And maybe you have an interest in overnighting so that you can get a full exposé, based on the many things that there are to do. So we are packaging to go forward.”

Among the places to overnight is Sueyen Place, in nearby Allside. It’s named after proprietor Sue Yen Sue.

“We offer a full weekend getaway. So let’s say your family is coming from abroad and want to have something secluded that’s not in the city and want to relax in the natural environment, we offer that here. We [provide a relaxing] getaway, a tranquil environment to really get you back to reality,” says Sue.

SUE… we provide a tranquil environment

When you visit Cockpit Country, be sure to ask about the abundance of herbs on hand.  According to Dixon, some residents are quite adept at using them for medicinal purposes.

“The number of preparations they have come up with to heal illnesses from the plants and endemic species here is just phenomenal. People here don’t go to the doctor, necessarily,” he says. “There are people here who can prescribe, and I am not talking about Obeah, I am talking about people who have that healing capability. And people who can sit at a location and point at a plant and tell you everything that it can be used for. [How it can] prevent anything… from skin rashes to allergies to aches to menstrual pain to headache.”

Licensed by the Tourism Product Development Company, the Cockpit Country Adventure Tours is among a group of eight areas involved in community tourism across the island. For the last 18 years, 11 of them in a formal capacity as a registered attraction for eco- and community tourism, STEA has ensured that the area has been “preserved in its pristine form”. 

It attracts a wide cross section of visitors, Dixon reveals.

“The ecologist, the researcher, the historian adventurer, the traditionalist, everybody comes here. But they also come to explore, they come to be tourists,” he says. “We are still a five-star attraction in terms of the testimonials from the people that have come. So in terms of the reputation of what we offer, it’s way up there.”



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