Located in the Marie-Jeanne Mountain in the Southwest region of Haiti and only 20 minutes away from the town of Port-à-Piment, the Marie-Jeanne cave bears evidence of pre-historic and historical activities, thus making it an important ethnic landmark in the area. Archeological signs such as symbols, pictographs, pottery shreds, and ammonites that dated back to the time of the Tainos were found in some of the galleries that accommodate more than 36 chambers known so far throughout the cave system. The historical evidence consisted of bone, skulls, skeletons probably from animals that were lost in the cave and died as a result. Other signages observed on some limestones and silica walls of the cave appear to be of recent age since they represent wayfinding information, and memories left by generations of explorers or sightseers.
This natural excavation which extends over more than 2.5 miles inside the Marie-Jeanne mountain is home to an abundant fauna. Among them are bats, spiders, beetles, crickets, birds, pseudo-scorpions, and flies. Evidence of aquatic life has been also documented since the karstic terrain of the cave facilitates the formation of underground streams in the lower levels.
La Grotte Marie-Jeanne, une merveille du monde situee a Port-a-Piment dans la region sud d'haiti
Any visitors to the cave must wear a helmet with light, sneakers, and the help of a trained guide to enter the locked gate and have access to all the chambers. Several passages are slippery, hidden, and dangerous, so the most adventurous ones must be prepared to explore this hidden treasure as they will experience the speleological atmosphere of the longest underground cave in Haiti. The journey can last from 1 to 4 hours or more depending on the visitors' courage and the number of cavities visited. The entrance fee is 100 gourdes per person.
Caves have played an important role in the Haitian culture as they have done so in the Taino culture: places of meditation, introductory rites, burial, and mystical gathering. As the Marie-Jeanne cave is known as the longest underground landscape in Haiti and the Caribbean, several of its chambers bear historical, biblical, mythological, and poetic names such as "les voutes étoilées", "la plaine du cul-de-sac", "Golgotha", "l’Olympe", "Hadès", "Totem", "Mont des Oliviers", "Morne calvaire", "Liberté", "Vertières", "Lanterne", "Salle des pas perdus", "Piscine de Silöe", "Temple du Caïman", "Bois Caïman", etc.
The immensity and the original architecture of the Marie-Jeanne cave have attracted many visitors, archeologists, and speleologists who are stunned by the view of the speleothems as well as the naturally carved shapes of molluscs, elephant, pelican, virgins, dress or caïman perceptible with artificial light sources in the darkness and scattered limestones of each chamber.