YS Falls is the twelfth Jamaican waterfall I’ve visited and written about on here, and I couldn’t be happier. Waterfalls are my favourite natural feature and like the other eleven falls, YS didn’t disappoint. YS Falls is located near Jamaica’s South coast and is part of a river which emerges from limestone caves and springs high up in Breadnut Valley, St. Elizabeth. The YS River is the main tributary of the great Black River, the longest navigable river in Jamaica and also the widest. Consider taking a combined tour to the YS Falls and Black River Crocodile Safari.
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Where Is YS Falls + Rates
YS Falls is located in St. Elizabeth near Jamaica’s south coast. My driver took the route through Mile Gully and Balacava (B6), but the road was lonely and narrow. This was a rather interesting alternative to the A4 route I usually take to St. Elizabeth. We passed the turn-off to the infamous Duppy Church, but he wasn’t having that stop. 🤣 Anyway, I recommend using GPS and driving on A4 instead which takes you through Santa Cruz. The number of kilometres may be longer but it’s way better road quality and you’ll arrive faster in my opinion. YS Falls is about 2 hours from Montego Bay, and 2 hours 30 minutes from Kingston.
As of 2022, admission costs US$20 and US$12 for adult and child visitors. Local rates are JM$1,750 for adults and $1,000 for children. The canopy tour which includes CHUKKA ziplining costs US$49 and US$39 for adults and children respectively. Locals, enquire about the zipline rates via phone or at the venue. YS Falls is open from Tuesdays to Sundays between 9:30am to 3:30pm. They are closed on Mondays and all public holidays. Facilities include ample parking spaces, snack counters, a restaurant, changing rooms, and fairly decent restrooms with eco-friendly compost toilets.
After paying by the ticket booth, you’ll be directed to where the shuttle boards passengers. It took me a while to realize we were literally driving through a huge cattle pen! Like the bus had 2 staff members, the driver and another person who would open and close gates for us at intervals which seemed so unnecessary until I realized ohmagerd we’re driving through a cattle pen, but fret not. The cows couldn’t care less about humans. I also wondered why didn’t they just put the entrance to the falls further up the road so they wouldn’t have to shuttle us around, but I think it adds to the laid-back rural Jamaican countryside or ranch type of vibe they were likely trying to create. Otherwise we might drive past on our own and miss the charm of the landscape, what with large open meadows for miles against the upturned egg-carton topography of the Cockpit Country. I enjoyed watching the cattle graze, the egrets doing their thing next to them and the beautiful horses minding their own business in the distance. After about 5 minutes, you’re by the main attraction of:
God must have spent a little extra time creating the limestone rock and jungle-like foliage in which the centuries have carved seven delightful perfectly-tiered waterfalls at YS. The seven falls total 40 metres in height. If you paid for the zipline option, I imagine the view of the falls from air must be wonderful (not to mention the adrenalin rush) but this visit didn’t become my first zipline experience. Instead, I busied myself with splashing around in the shallow part of the natural pools or getting my usual watery back massages which the various Jamaican waterfalls I’ve visited so far are so good at delivering.
Of course, I spent most of my time by the natural pools but there are nice man-made ones too!
The pools are best suited for children and families since the depth is clearly marked, and they don’t exceed 4 1/2 feet or so in depth. The palm trees and deck chairs add a nice resort touch too– now you really feel like you’re vacationing. 🌴
In terms of other tidbits I think people should know if planning a trip to YS:
- You’re allowed to bring your own food onto the property, but 3 restaurants/grills are available too. Of course it won’t be your roadside corner-shop or cook-shop prices, but they weren’t too bad. I’ve seen way worse at tourist places.
- Bring water-shoes. You’d think I’d have bought a pair by now. Sigh.
- No lockers are available so bring as little valuables with you as possible.
- Make sure you have EVERYTHING you need because you’ll have to pay again if you leave the gates.. plus catch a shuttle.
- Oh and re the shuttles, they’re fairly reliable with one always waiting as soon as another departed.
All in all, a well spent day with good weather at a lovely location. I rate YS Falls full five stars, ☆☆☆☆☆, and next time I’ll take the zipline perhaps. I must say it looked and sounded terrific (errr, frightening). 😅 Swim upstream for free at Breadnut Valley Falls or take the safari tour with the crocs downstream. Or perhaps end your day like I did at Lovers’ Leap. There’s quite a lot to do in St. Elizabeth. It’s now right up there in my favourite parishes behind scenic breezy Portland.
Also, look at me starting the year right! First place down on 2019’s bucket list.
‘Til next time, ✌🏽.
*** Updates: I visited again in August 2019 and did the zipline! It’s a bit pricey but I 10/10 would recommend. YS is even more stunning from air and the adrenalin rush was great. The well-trained professional guides are awesome too and make the experience. Also, after heavy rains the water gets very muddy and brown but the pools offer an alternative for swimming.