Monday, June 9, 2008

YS Falls in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica

YS Falls are located near the Black River on the south coast of the island, in the parish of St. Elizabeth. The waterfalls themselves are located on a working cattle ranch and thoroughbred horse farm. We started our road trip out in Montego Bay and drove up through Anchovy. We took a turn a little early which ended up being a route to the falls but, it wasn't the quickest or easiest. The map we were using was not real helpful because the writing was minuscule and every time I would find my place on the map, we would hit a pothole and I would lose my place. A few times we stopped and asked if we were on the right road and every time we were assured that the road would lead to the falls. They were correct and we did arrive after an hour and a half of twists, turns and bumps.

Nathan and Uncle Howie unloading.

Nathan woke up not feeling well, but we convinced him to come along with us. I couldn't tell if he was truly sick or if he wanted to stay home and play with his Wii all day.

The boys paying.
The entrance to the falls is US$14.00 for non-residents and JA$500.00 for resident adults (about US$7.00) and JA$300.00 for resident children (about US$4.25). The cashier was very nice and gave Uncle Howie a resident rate even when he told her that he wasn't a resident.

After paying, they pointed us down the walkway to the jitney.

At first it seemed like we were the only ones there because there was no one else on the tram. But, more people arrived throughout the time we were there. A few park employees rode with us to man the gates. We rode for about ten minutes. We stopped twice to go through two gates. Each time we would stop, an employee would jump down, open the gate, we would drive through and he would close the gate and re-board the tram. I assume that was to keep the cows and horses in the proper pasture. The scenery was beautiful. The smell of the cow pasture reminded me of home. There were huge mango trees loaded with fruit as well as other flora and fauna.

We disembarked from the tram at the souvenir shop which led to a boardwalk. The trail was nicely marked with informational signs. They showed pictures of birds and flowers that were located inside the park and also gave information about them.

The rules were clearly spelled out for all to abide by.

Besides the seven waterfalls, their greatest attraction is the zipline. It starts at the top of the falls and has three separate "legs" to it.

A large gazebo was built around the base of a huge tree. The last leg of the zipline is built above the roof of the gazebo. The zipline fee is of course separate from the entrance fee. For non-residents the price is US$30.00 and the resident price is $20.00. They also have a price for going unlimited times. Uncle Howie did the zipline and again they gave him the resident rate.

This is a view of the gazebo built around the big tree and the platform above the roof where the last leg of the zipline starts.

Uncle Howie on the zipline.

Keep an eye out for Uncle Howie's blog. He actually has a video of him doing the zipline and he said it was a lot of fun. The only drawback was that you travel pretty fast down the zipline and it is hard to "sight see." That is probably why they offer a price for unlimited trips.

View of the first layer of falls.

The next layer of falls with the pretty red ginger plant in the foreground.

Nathan and Uncle Howie.

View of the boardwalk and steps along the falls.

They also have two rope swings. To our surprise there was not an additional charge for using the rope swings. Todd was the only one in our group that went off this rope swing. He even did a flip off of it on his second time going.

Checking out the rope.

Gloves are provided and required.

Nathan NOT going on the rope swing.

Todd prepping for his second go.

They had another rope swing on the other side of the big tree that was for those who weren't brave enough to swing down from a platform.

Life guards were stationed along the climb of the falls to help with the ropes and various other stops. They were very nice and helpful. The thing that impressed me the most was the fact that the park had a sign posted explaining that tipping was permitted but to please advise the front office if any of their employees solicited tips. That is very unusual for Jamaica. Here, if a service is provided, no matter how menial or insignificant it may be, a tip is expected.

Nathan wasn't real sure about trying out one of the rope swings.

After his daddy was pushed around for a bit...

...he was easily convinced.


Here is a short video of my boy swinging. I love how the guard stood at the top of the falls in case there were an unfortunate incident. When we got through here, we gladly gave him a tip! At another location on toward the top of the falls, another employee offered his services taking pictures of groups. We let him take ours and he remained friendly and helpful when we didn't offer him a tip.

The water wasn't too terribly cold. I even walked out to the top of one of the falls with a little help.

Another set of waterfalls.

Very pretty.

They weren't kidding!

More waterfalls.

Bird of paradise?

We enjoyed a drink before the return trip on the tram back to the main gate. When we arrived, we went over to the snack bar. They had a full menu ranging from jerk chicken, fish, pork and hamburgers, fish sandwich, and french fries. They also offered a full bar with juices, soft drinks, water, beer and alcoholic drinks. For some reason most of the places here keep food and drinks separate. You order and get your food at one place and order and get your drinks at another.
We didn't take the same route home. We chose the easier route through Middle Quarters which is shrimp country. We were glad to get home after a long day. DeeDee had roast with onions and potatoes, broccoli casserole, rice and gravy as well as salad ready when got home. It was all delicious. She also had a banana pudding which she made from scratch and it too was wonderful.


DeeDah said...

Emmy said she wants to go there so she can do that!

Nathansma said...

Well come on! What are you waiting for? We'll take her wherever she wants to go!

DeeDah said...

I'm waiting on MeMe to offer an all-expenses paid vacation or a honeymoon - whichever comes first! We could leave the kids with you :)

Nathansma said...

Do I need to contact Uncle Roland for a ceremony?

DeeDah said...

You'll be the first to know!