Johnny Falls, Saint Mary

There’s this waterfall hidden in Palmetto Grove, St. Mary called Johnny Falls which I heard of years ago on Facebook. There were no directions on how to find it anywhere, so I added it to my list of Jamaican waterfalls to visit and moved on. Last year my interest in visiting Johnny Falls piqued again with Grove Swimmers, a fearless group of youngsters who perform admirable dives into the river which runs through their district, headed by 17-year-old Nathan Douglas. They have taken to Instagram and YouTube to showcase their talent, and have even been featured in national newspapers. Thus, I happily tagged along with a group of avid explorers and friends to cross this enigmatic and twenty-second Jamaican waterfall from my list with Nathan as my unofficial tour guide.

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Brae Head Falls, Clarendon

Clarendon is not a parish which comes to mind when one thinks of a Jamaican adventure, but it’s a parish which has been on my mind to explore for nearly two years as an adventurous nature lover. Clarendon is a parish on Jamaica’s south coast in the centre of the island and has a population of 246,000 people, most of whom reside in and around May Pen on the Vere Plains. Clarendon is bordered by St. Catherine to the east, Manchester to the west and St. Ann to the north. The parish, like all 14 parishes of Jamaica, is washed by the Caribbean Sea and has attractions like Milk River Bath and the recently crash-landed plane at Rocky Point on its south coast. Up north is mountainous with rivers, a nature reserve and the geographic centre of Jamaica at Bull Head Mountain Peak. It’s surprising that the area isn’t marketed for ecotourism, but again Jamaica is a country which is full of unmarketed potential. This is the first time I’ve ever ventured into this side of Jamaica and it didn’t disappoint. The waterfalls in Brae Head are often listed as being located in the neighbouring communities of Crooked River or Trout Hall, just because Brae Head isn’t on the map of Jamaica! Here’s how to find this remote corner of Jamaica.

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Millbank Falls, Portland

By some stroke of luck, my favourite parish of Portland in the northeastern side of Jamaica remains lush, green and untouched by mass tourism. Portland is home to the Jamaican Blue and John Crow Mountains which has species not seen in other parts of the island, let alone the entire world. It houses the Windward Maroons, an indigenous group of Jamaicans who are direct descendants of runaway Africans and Amerindians. The Jamaican Maroons are a proud people and have called the rugged inhospitable mountains home for over three centuries. Their governance is largely independent of mainstream Jamaica, they live off of and respect the land, and have managed to preserve their rich heritage and traditions to this day. It’s in this region of Jamaica that Millbank and its majestic waterfalls are located: the Upper Rio Grande Valley which is Windward Maroon country. Here’s how that adventure went.

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Mayfield Falls, Westmoreland

Mayfield Falls is a delightful series of 21 widely-spaced mini cascades along the Mayfield River, a tributary of the Cabarita River in rural Westmoreland, bordering on the parish of Hanover. In fact, most of the attraction lies in Hanover, but you know how Westmoreland is always stealing Hanover’s attractions, or we pass everywhere off as Negril for the travel brochures. Anyway, I knew about this waterfall long before I ever heard of Benta River Falls, but somehow ended up visiting there first– likely because it was more accessible. Both attractions are located on the same road, but are 20 minutes apart in terms of driving time give or take. I went to Mayfield Falls as a staff trip one month ago. One of my colleagues was recounting a previous staff trip to the falls which they held several years ago and I encouraged her to plan a second trip. The date ended up even clashing with work but.. errr, here’s how the trip went. 🙂

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Noisy River Falls, Manchester

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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Benta River Falls, Westmoreland

Benta River Falls is a family-owned business found in the lush verdant outskirts of Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland. The property features a beautiful river with seven small waterfalls flowing underneath tall bamboo trees and other tropical plants which filter out the piercing afternoon sunlight to cast a cool viridescent glow over everything. What’s lovely about this gem is the owners’ commitment to sustainable tourism. Very little has been done to modify the grounds, and the the building materials for the limited buildings and staircases are eco-friendly.

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Konoko Falls, Saint Ann

Konoko Falls is a tourist attraction nestled in the hilly outskirts of popular resort town Ocho Rios. The Arawakan word for rainforest, konoko, lends its name to this 600-feet cascading waterfall and garden, formerly known as the Mahoe Falls and Coyaba Gardens; coyaba is also an Arawakan word meaning heaven. Both names are fitting, even more so given that Taino artefacts have been found here, suggesting that the area was once a settlement.

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Turure Water Steps, Trinidad

Happy New Year! I hope it’s everything you wish it to be and more. Welcome to my first blog post of 2020. Visiting the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago (well, really just Trinidad and to be specific, mainly northern Trinidad) is a sentimental trip for several reasons. My boyfriend of one + year is Trini so it was lovely meeting his family even though I’ve already met two members during their trips to Jamaica. Visiting during the festive season was special. My heart was full seeing all the decorations; their malls come alive at Christmastime, and parang music and their culture of paranging is so sweet, for want of a better adjective. It’s just my luck that my boyfriend’s aunt is a parang singer and we rang in 2020 paranging and watching the fireworks of Port of Spain from several miles away. That’s enough to make this trip memorable, but there’s more.

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Fish Dunn Falls, Portland

Last month I decided to see what lies beyond the road to Holywell and what awaited was a pleasant surprise. I’d intended to visit at least one more waterfall from the parish of Portland going by this list of all the waterfalls in Jamaica, but ended up seeing three: Cascade waterfall which I already wrote about here, an unnamed pair and this mesmerizing beauty named Fish Dunn/Done Falls in the community of Silver Hill.

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Cascade Falls, Portland

Jamaicans are so matter-of-fact when it comes to naming places. Cascade waterfall is located in a tiny rural district by the name of– you guessed it– Cascade. What Cascade lacks in breadth it makes up for in height measuring over 100 feet tall! The waterfall is visible from the main road and that seems to be where most people are content with getting their view of this beauty. Of course, that wouldn’t be adequate for an adventurous soul like myself.

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