Magic happens when local female travel bloggers get together, and Breadnut Valley happened to be the first destination of hopefully many future linkups. Breadnut Valley Falls are a series of mesmerizing cascades and turquoise pools set in Breadnut Valley, Maggotty, St. Elizabeth parish. For an off-the-beaten path waterfall, surprisingly little hiking was involved! With that said, let’s talk about:
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How to Find Breadnut Valley Falls
Starting from Kingston, take Washington Boulevard, Mandela Highway then Highway 2000 through the St. Catherine and Clarendon parishes. Highway 2000 charges toll which is currently JM$550 for a class 1 vehicle (small car), thus consider the alternative route through Old Harbour if you’re familiar which is free, but also a bit longer, with traffic and without the advantage of excellent road quality. After exiting Highway 2000, follow the main road through Clarendon, Manchester and into St. Elizabeth. Landmarks you’ll pass in St. Elizabeth are St. Elizabeth Technical High School (S.T.E.T.H.S.) on your left and the turnoff for Jamaica Zoo in Lacovia 5 minutes later and also on your left. At this point, start looking out for the next road on the right, marked by a Texaco Gas Station. Turn here then continue until you reach the sign for the Maggotty JPS Hydroelectric station (sign pictured below). Turn right to actually reach the station, just after which is a dirt track. This will take you through a chainlink fence and gate after which you can drive to the large open clearing (also pictured below) and park anywhere convenient/ close to the river.
Mind you, this space is used to host events but hopefully you won’t run into any taking place like we did. A wedding and reception were being set up when we arrived so we tactfully avoided the lower portion of the river which was the event backdrop, but also the shallow end and suitable for non-swimmers (womp!). We left before things got into full swing too, so don’t worry, we didn’t intrude at all. 😅
Anyway, the path from the clearing is towards the left and pretty straightforward until it branches into three. Take the trail on your right then be guided by the beckoning purr of the water which you’ll hear before you see. Provided you stay on the correct path for the whole journey (and don’t stop for too many photos 😂…
guilty), the entire walk from the clearing to a suitable point for entering the water is 10 minutes. A guide would be helpful, and you’re sure to run into at least one friendly guy who can assist, and may charge you JM$500 per person in exchange for help. It’s not commercialized though and we ended up not needing to pay, but use your discretion. Also, as is expected with off-the-beaten-path places, there aren’t any restrooms, changing rooms, shops etc. so come prepared with food, drink, empty bladders and wearing your swimsuits from home. We did encounter a restroom in the clearing though but as to whether or not it’s clean or works, I couldn’t say.
P.S. Water shoes would’ve been very handy!
Breadnut Valley Waterfalls
Breadnut Valley Falls consist of three stunning waterfalls cascading into turquiose pools set in the perfect tropical paradise of a lush green valley. Tall towering trees meet overhead, mosses and lichens glisten wetly from tree trunks and roots in the cool humidity and a gazillion shells litter the path, testimony to how high the river rises when “river come dung.” We encountered one small amiable group of friends who left shortly after we got there, at which point we got to experience the true tranquility of the location. Blue and green were the only colours for miles, a true delight to the senses of an eco-lover.
If you’re willing to swim across or walk along the pool’s edge then through a practically non-existent trail, you’ll be rewarded by this third waterfall, but it’s perhaps only wise to do this with someone familiar with the area. And as for swimming, our expert guide advised against it given the unfriendliness of the river’s current and its depth. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t all get wet. We just didn’t venture too close. This was one of those cases where we admired nature’s masterpieces from afar; no waterfall massages at this one.
As Jhunelle joked, “rivers are only best with under five people” and I can’t say I disagree. It was really a lovely day out with lovely people, and for free! It amazes me that places this untouched by commercialization still exist and as such, Breadnut is an easy five stars, ☆☆☆☆☆ for me. Just a reminder to clean up after yourselves when you visit places like this. Take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints.
Happy New Year everyone! I made sure to write this before school resumes tomorrow, else, I would forget the essential deets & God knows when it would get published.
Here are the lovely girls who made this trip memorable. Check out their blogs!
‘Til next time. ✌