Wondrous Caves

Maiden River Cave

Useful Information

Location: Cooks Bottom, near Elderslie and Ipswich, at the head of the Maiden River.
Open: Ask for Mr Westin Thomas at the shop in the square. He owns the caves and can arrange a guide.
Fee: Couple of tins of Red Stripe (Jamaican Beer).
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: None. Bring your own.
Dimension: A=440 m asl, L=427 m, VR=15 m.
Guided tours:
Bibliography: Alan G. Fincham, Grenville Draper, Ross Macphee, Donald McFarlane, Stewart Peck, Ronald Read, Trevor Shaw, Geoffrey Wadge (1977): Jamaica Underground: The Caves, Sinkholes and Underground Rivers of the Island,
University Press of the West Indies, ISBN: 9766400369 Paperback, 465 pages, reprint 1998, p 382
Worldamazon.com (paperback) Worldamazon.com (hardcover).
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



The entrance to Wondrous Caves is located at the centre of a shallow cliff with some steps leading up to the portal. This is the most easy accessible entrance and called Main Entrance. The cave has a T-junction right behind the entrance, with a dead end passage to the left, and another passage to the right leading to the Upper Entrance and the North Entrance.

The left passage is level floored with a window in the cliff. Another window onto a bat chamber is reseverd for speleogists. At the end of this chamber, a descent through boulders on the left and a 5 m drop leads to a muddy streamway. A path over the mud-bank finally leads to the large Ratbat Entrance.

The right hand passage opens into the Angels Wing Chamber. A fixed ladder leads to the Upper Entrance. Beyond, a narrow, low passage extends to mud choked tunnels and out at the North Entrance.

There is a local legend of how the runaway slaves called Maroons used to live in the caves, but would come out at night and attack the British Soldiers who were camping nearby. After each assault the Maroons would return to the cave. The British were so unnerved by these phantom killers that they started to believe that they were invisible and that their loss of moral hastened the end of hostilities.

These are impressive stalactite caves with a stream and a lake.

Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.