There are two major waterfalls in Jamaica. Dunn's River Falls and Reach Falls. Reach Falls is by far the most beautiful and since the east of Jamaica is less visited by tourists, there is less interruptions and people about. Dunn's River Falls can be a nightmare when overun by too many visitors. Enormous cruise liners visit the main north coast ports and disgorge large numbers which can quickly fill local tourist spots.
Reach Falls was discovered by runaway slaves from plantations in the neighboring parish of St. Thomas who sought refuge in the hills of the Montane Forrest on the John Crow Mountain Range. It is centred on an exotic waterfall cascading down a rock gorge into a whole series of emerald river pools. The lush greenery and the refreshing pools beneath the cascading waterfalls is a really great experience. There are over 23 species of ferns here, a variety of birds, including the black, and yellow-billed parrots. If you are very lucky you may even catch a rare glimpse of a wild pig trotting about.
We got in touch with some locals in Port Antonio, where we were staying, who drove us over to Reach Falls for a fee. This was an unofficial tour. Rather than drive to the very top of the falls, we climbed up the river through miriad idyllic pools and beautiful green surroundings. It is warm enough to be in swimwear as you wade and swim through each pool then climb up to each successive level. Many of the pools are large enough for diving and one even has a hidden passageway that is under water. It was a most energetic and rewarding experience.
Our local guide even made pictures of us while swimming, climbing and diving in the pools on our way up to the top. We paid only 4,500JMD (Euro 37.50) for three people for a tour of approximately 3 hours including the return car drive. It was a really memorable experience. Having a mobile phone that withstood being dunked in water also helped, but our guide would have carried them for us, if needed. On the way back, we stopped off at our local cove Winifred Beach, which is reputed to be the most beautiful beach in all of the Caribbean. We ate at Painter & Cynthia's and it was delicious. This is a wonderful bamboo shack on the beach. I had phoned Cynthia earlier and arranged for lobster meals with Wray & Nephew Rum on the rocks! Our bill for the three of us came to under Euro 24.00 all in.