Accompong Maroon, Jamaica
Visit a Maroon VillageYou won’t regret a visit to Accompong Town, an authentic Maroon village in the hills of Cockpit Country. The Maroons, descendants of enslaved West Africans first brought to Jamaica by the Spanish, fought British slaveholders—by cleverly using the nearly impenetrable hills and hollows as a base from which to strike—and eventually won their independence. Since 1738, they’ve mostly lived in their own communities, largely autonomous and separate from other Jamaicans. The best time to visit is the first Monday in January, for the annual Maroon Day Festival, when hundreds of Maroons from around Jamaica and abroad, as well as a few thousand tourists, descend on Accompong Town for a day of drumming ceremonies, food, and celebration. You can tour the village by appointment; make arrangements to visit with a driver. A museum, near the entrance to the village, displays historic artifacts, photos, and memorabilia. The Peace Cave, a short hike from town, is where Captain Cudjoe, the warrior and leader, signed a treaty with the British that recognized the Maroons as an independent nation and granted them 1,500 acres of land in the region. Walk around and take in the gorgeous, serene mountainous views, and learn the extraordinary history of a free people.