Adventurous visitors to Jamaica often seek hidden gems that are off the beaten path and the lesser known waterfalls offer some truly unique opportunities to experience the island.
Rio Grande Valley
Scatter waterfalls is a local favourite. This jewel of eco travel in eastern Jamaica is a trip worth setting aside time for. This trek offers the added bonus of a visit to Fox Caves. Cross the Rio Grande on a traditional bamboo raft and then a short trek along the river. You will reach a tributary where the falls tumble in from both sides. The Thaxter property offers facilities and refreshments.
How to get here: Located in Berrydale in the Rio Grande valley, ETAG, a local Eco–Tourism Action Group, has trained guides who are available to accompany you.
Moore Town / Portland
Tucked away near to Moore Town in Portland, Jamaica is this hidden cool waterfall. Nanny Falls is surrounded by the beautiful, lush vegetation of the region, and is well worth the nearly hour long hike you have to take from Moore Town to get there. Moore Town is itself a unique experience and worth a trip as the site of one of the two original settlements of the Maroons. Nanny Falls is named after one of Jamaica’s National heroes, the only female one in fact. The residents are mindful of the appeal of the natural setting and control the number of visitors each day, For those who make the effort, the reward of a swim in one of the Jamaica’s natural wonders is well worth it.
How to get here: Head south from Port Antonio into the mountains of Portland along Red Hassel Road for about half an hour to get to Moore Town. A guide will take you from there.
Cane River Falls
Not to be confused with Nine Mile deep in the heart of St. Ann and birthplace of Bob Marley, this spot is by Bull Bay and only nine miles outside of Kingston. Cane River Falls is a hidden gem, located behind the local Bull Bay community. These falls are more popular amongst locals than it is amongst tourists, making it a great place to relax, chill out, and swim with the local community.
How to get here: From the Harbour View circle, by the airport, head towards Bull Bay away from Kingston. Travel 5.7 km (3.5 Miles) and then turn left (just before Bull Bay, there is a sign here at the corner pointing to Cane River Falls). Follow this road for 4.2 km (2.6 miles) and you will find it on your right.
Tacky Falls, is truly non-commercialized and a trek into nature. Named after one of the leaders of the slave rebellion, Tacky, these falls hide the caves beneath which served as his hiding place. Located in Islington, St, Mary and with no tourist traffic, this adventure also means no facilities, no souvenir shops and food stands, and no climbing the falls. This entire nature adventure will be at your own risk to reach this approximately 60m (200 ft) high waterfall.
The lower tier is dangerous and even the upper falls is a treacherous hike as the rocks are incredibly slippery so the right shoes are very important. You’ll be fighting through brush, so proper clothing is suggested and trusting a local guide to lead you in and out.
How to get there: From Kingston, head to the town of Stony Hill and west on the scenic Junction Road through Agualta Vale. Once at Islington, head on to the Roadside district and the very hospitable owner of the private yard will give you access to the trek to the falls. (Warning: The treacherous hike should only be attempted during drought season as the power of the waterfall when flowing at full power can be extremely dangerous.)
In the southeastern region of St. Thomas is the mesmerizing Reggae Falls. Also known as the Dam Head by locals, these falls have a convoluted history to go along with its name. Once a hydroelectric plant, storms wore down the equipment and eventually the plant closed. It's rumored that efforts were put in place to reopen the plant but the idea was never brought to fruition. Today, the water that runs over the dam collects into the swimming pool below the falls.
With endless opportunities for memorable moments to be made at this idyllic escape, Reggae Falls is best known as a peaceful getaway for family and friends seeking an intimate and natural setting where they can pass the day away.
Finding your way to the falls isn't easy, but upon your arrival you’ll realize that it was well worth the effort. Idlers and adventure seekers can spend the day hiking, swimming or just basking in the sun and taking in the sights as the sounds of the rushing waters set the tone for a perfect outing.
Get Here: Drive east from Kingston past the Harbour View Roundabout and onto Bull Bay. Keep heading east on the A4 to the Yallahs Valley and on to Morant Bay. Turn inland at Church Corner and head to Seaforth. Pass Seaforth (Serge Island) continue on to Hillside. Just a little further on you’ll find the turn off to Reggae Falls, known locally as Damhead.