Ipswich Caves

Duanwarie Caves

Useful Information

Location: 2 km northwest of Ipswich, Saint Elisabeth.
30 km south of Montego Bay.
Open: No restriction.
Guided tours after appointment.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: none, bring torch
Dimension: Duanwarie Cave 1: L=88 m, A=260 m asl.
Duanwarie Cave 2: L=30 m, A=275 m asl.
Duanwarie Cave 3: VR=10 m, A=260 m asl.
Guided tours: After appointment by locals.
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, pp 161-162 survey
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 small village of Ipswich is actually only a small settlement in the center of the karst area called Cockpit Karst, has its cave named after the village. The cave is toured on various day trips offered for hotel guests, generally in combination with other sights of this area: the Appleton Rum Factory and the YS Falls. The coach ride through thick mountain forests allows views on banana and coconut plantations and the typical cockpit landscape. The trips include the local guide, individual visitors have to arrange a guide at the village Ipswich.

Ipswich Caves are actually three small caves, originally named Duanwarie Caves 1 to 3. The largest one has an entrances which is 13 m wide and 8 m high. The cave is noted for its fine speleothems. A pretty interesting attraction are seeds which were washed in and germinate inside the cave. Without light they grow for about 30 cm, then die.

Duanwarie Cave 1 is located close to the railroad line running from Montego Bay across the island to Kinston, which was abandoned in 1992. The cave entrance is located at the entrance of the now overgrown railway tunnel #7 and was used as a show cave by the railway company. They installed trails and electric light. The road to the cave is rather poor, 4wd is strongly recommended, a local guide also helps. The resulting lack of visitors caused the continually worsening state of disrepair. The trails are still helpful, even if they started to decay, but the electric light has gone.

There are rumours that this was the second longest cave of Jamaica, which are untrue. Actually during the last years, with continual cave research in this astonishing karst area, the number of known caves and the length of the caves grew steadily. At the moment [2007] the longest cave of Jmaica is Mexico cave, which is located only about 10 km from Ipswich Cave.