Travel in the time of ‘Rona is such an interesting experience. I visited this beauty tucked away in the north Manchester hillsides in a little district called Oxford last weekend and like nearly all my trips to date, I had a lovely time. It really doesn’t take much to make me happy at all. Anyway, back in primary school (in Kingston at least) they taught us that the parish of Manchester has no rivers, and I’m really appalled at this ‘fact.’ I wonder what they taught the children from the parish of Manchester who grew up next to these rivers. This is the second such ‘fictional‘ river in the parish of Manchester I’m visiting, and I’m sure I’ll get around to its other two rivers eventually.
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As I have mentioned in several posts past, I hail from the capital city of Kingston which has and will always hold a special spot in my heart BUT one year ago I traded its hot, grimy and bustling streets for the cool breezy laid-back town of Mandeville in the centre of the island. Thus, my trip to the community of Oxford in which Noisy River Falls is located was a mere 45 minutes’ drive, as opposed to the 2 hours it would take if I were travelling from Kingston. I wouldn’t say that this river on its own is worth travelling all the way from Kingston, but it would make a great stop on a road trip to see other Manchester sights.
Related: Gut River, Manchester
The river is actually very easy to find! At the New Green roundabout I took the second exit (third exit if you’re travelling from Kingston) towards Mile Gully and literally let Google Maps guide me since the map marker is rather accurate for Noisy River Falls. However, take care on the roads! The turns can be rather sharp so drive cautiously around the bends to ensure you don’t swing out on the wrong side of the road. There were 2 hairpin bends. Most of it is rather excellent road surface however, since it’s actually a main road linking many mountainous Manchester villages to mountainous villages in other parishes such as Trelawny and St. Elizabeth, contrary to the sparsity of buildings and abundance of trees and overgrown bushes on the road. The roads you’ll need are B6, then B10 respectively. If you miss the turn to B10, you’ll end up crossing the parish lines to Balaclava in St. Elizabeth. The sign below is on your left and will let you know exactly when to make the right turn onto B10.
After that, crane your neck to the right of the road for a glimpse of the river and listen out for it too. It’s called Noisy River for a reason. 🤣 Look out for a soft shoulder once you hear and see the river, then park. From here, walk all the way up to the Oxford Bridge and take the beautiful lane on your right down to a safe spot where you can enter the river and its rapids.
I’m sure you can get a taxi to Oxford from Christiana, but just know that those will be few and far between. I’ve yet to find any of the houses, and people kept sticking their thumbs out to try and “boom drive” (hitchhike), so I guess vehicles are scarce in this side of Jamaica.
There are changing rooms available for $50jmd per person but no restrooms. Inside these rooms are very dark as there’s no electricity and hence no light bulbs. There are also no shelves or lockers or anything inside them, so the rooms are quite rudimentary but that’s OK. The river is FREE and uncommercialized after all. Small signs of development are evident however such as a shop, bar, gazebo, jerk pans and benches. When I went, all these establishments were closed but a single changing room was left unlocked and the self-appointed caretaker Buzzy allowed my friend and I to use it free of charge. That’s because of the pandemic though. According to Buzzy, Noisy River is usually booming business on weekends and holidays, so people who just want to appreciate its natural beauty without any crowds are better off visiting in the mornings or on a weekday.
Noisy River Falls
The minute I heard the water my stress melted away. Right next to the main road, Noisy River isn’t exactly inconspicuous just like Fish Dunn Falls in Portland, but not many cars traverse here. Let’s take a minute to just admire Noisy River! 😍
The water gets very brown when Trelawny has a lot of rainfall the day before, and given the lots of rain we’ve been getting recently I’m amazed at how clear the water was! The current is very strong though and many parts are deep but there were still lots of shallow bits to be enjoyed. The falls felt amazing too! Honestly, the waterfalls of Jamaica I keep chasing save me from a chiropractor bill.
My friend and I spent a lovely 2 hours or so just chatting and admiring the natural beauty of the location until more and more people started visiting. Initially, it was just us two and maybe 2 other families. I envy the people who were just taking a bath and washing their hair! I hope they appreciate the luxury of living in such a gorgeous spot! Anyway, my friend and I (another female in my age group) eventually attracted some unwelcome attention from a group of males who looked as if they were up to no good, and at that point, would you believe a police van came around and they started ordering people out of the river?! That was how we figured out that the river was still closed. 🙈 Pardon our ignorance. We’re both doctors and sometimes the job is like living under a rock when it comes to keeping up with current affairs. I thought that ban had been lifted weeks ago, especially since I know people who visited recently with no trouble. Anyway, we were already changed and heading back to the car by time the police were ordering everyone out so it didn’t spoil our experience in the slightest. It’s pretty sad that all the free uncommercialized rivers and beaches are closed, while paid attractions are open and operating with minimal modifications.
Noisy River is well worth the stop! I’ll be back once the ban on free rivers in Jamaica is lifted, but definitely with at least one male in my group. Going to free rivers as a female can be a daunting experience…. and it’s not an experience I’d rather have again. Otherwise my time here was great, and I rate the waterfall 4/5 stars, ☆☆☆☆.
Take care, stay safe and see you later this month!