YS waterfalls are part of YS estate which is located deep in the center of the Parish of Elizabeth. It is surrounded by green fields and distant mountains with five rivers running through the Estate with magnificent trees along its banks. It is no wonder this place has become one of the top waterfalls to visit in Jamaica. The experience begins with a 10-minute Fun ride on a Jitney pulled by a tractor along the fields and the riverside Before you arrive at the nature's true playground.
YS Falls area is well maintained and everything is setup for your convenience. There are changing room’s lockers and bathrooms. There is a beautiful green lawn and several river pools just before you reach the waterfall. The pools are at a comfortable depth of four feet floored with smooth river pebble stones and the crystal fresh spring water can be enjoyed by young and old alike. The Pools are where you can idle your time away. Have a picnic at the tables found in the garden, while having stunning views of the waterfalls.
There are also a lot of bird feeders in the area so keep an eye open to see hummingbirds in the wild coming to have lunch a few steps from you. Actually the pools, the garden and the
Birds can be an experienced in their own right. They are perfect for a relaxing getaway with a family
The main attraction
The YS falls consists of a large 120 foot tall cascade of seven waterfalls with natural pools at each base. This is one of the few waterfalls in Jamaica where wooden steps have been built along the side of the falls so visitors can view the falls without getting wet. Visitors just navigate through red ginger lily walkways with pockets of flowering trees and get refreshed by the river mist before reaching the top of the falls.
Now of course one of the most awesome things you can do is swimming in the water by the waterfalls. The pool at the top is the most convenient for swimming because it's shallow in the beginning but gradually gets deeper. If you are a good swimmer we suggest you go all the way to get a waterfall massage and hide behind the waterfalls for fun. If you wish to explore all the pools or walk around to the opposite side of the river you might want to bring water shoes with you. Water shoes can be purchased at the entrance of YS estate.
There are several swinging (Tarzan) ropes in place. There is one where you can gently glide above the water. For those who are up for more exciting activities like cliff jumping there is a special platform put in place. You can either jump off directly from the platform or use a Tarzan rope.
The entrance fees that include an access to everything we have mentioned so far is $20 United States dollars per person or $1500 Jamaican dollars you are a Jamaican citizen. There is an extra bonus available at the location which is a zip line operated by a company called Chukka Caribbean Adventures. The ride consists of three parts. You ride above the waterfalls at approximately 40 feet for 30 seconds.
The second part is through the rainforest and the third part is a short ride down. It is totally safe, the quality is great and the view is absolutely fantastic.
The Downsides to YS Falls
Let’s begin with the zipline it's run by a separate company unrelated to YS falls so the ride is not included in your entrance fees. If you want the zipline experience be prepared to pay extra 50 US dollars per person on top of the entrance fees or about $35 US dollars with a local discount. We have to be honest with you guys some people believe it's not worth it. $50 USD for an overall one minute ride, however others say it's an experience of a lifetime in which case it is worth it.
In general zip line is not a cheap experience anywhere in the world. So it's really up to you to decide whether you want to do it or not but the key is to set your expectations right.
Number two point to mention is the water quality on the rare occasion the water might get a bit murky and yellow. This happens when heavy rain persists for several days in a row before your trip it's still worth visiting though and you can still swim in the waterfall. It's just that the color of the water is not going to be as pretty please note though the official website for YS Falls has a warning that's women might be prohibited on certain days. So it's always nice to give them a call at least one day in advance to confirm if they are operating before you come.
The last thing YS falls is a properly commercialized attraction while for some people it's a good thing because of all the comfort. For others the comfort is actually a turn off because they're worried about the place being too touristy. Personally we think that the YS Falls attraction has this unique balance since most tourist areas are along the north coast of Jamaica. YS Falls being in the south hardly ever gets overcrowded with visitors. We wouldn't say it's particularly off the beaten path. But it feels like a wild nature experience with a little touch of luxury.
History of YS Falls
Obviously YS hasn't always been a tourist attraction. We checked out a few historical facts to learn about the origins of the place. YS falls are located on the grounds of
YS estate which started off in 1740s with its first registered owner John Moores an English attorney who owned thousands of acres of land in several Parishes in Jamaica. The place stayed within his family for almost a 100 years and apart from the usual sugar and rum production, it also specialized in livestock and logwood. Like all plantations it fell apart by the mid-19th century and went out of business.
By 1887 the property had changed hands many Times and was held in the encumbered estates court in London. It could have become just another abandoned place but at that time a person named John Browne who is a great grand uncle of the current owners traveled to London to purchase a property with a river running through it and he was lucky to come across wise estate and bought the place sight unseen in the 1950s.
The present owner Tony Browne started to breed and raise thoroughbred horses. He also focused on breeding Jamaica Red Poll cattle. These are the red cows you see in rural areas.
As you can see the origins of wise estate are not related to tourism industry and it had stayed like that all the way until 1992. This is when YS falls was opened as a tourist attraction.
YS Falls can certainly be added to your list of top places to visit in Jamaica especially if you are staying in Treasure beach Negril or Montego bay. If you live in Jamaica and want a beautiful place for a family getaway or a romantic trip with special someone do consider YS falls as your destination. The nature park is blending beautifully within its surroundings with bird feeders attracting hummingbirds expansive Mirandas and the pools all of that make it a perfect choice for people who wish to have a relaxing rejuvenating experience.
We find visiting YS falls feels like a magical expedition into the rainforest and if you come about an hour before the closure time you will kind of have the whole waterfall to yourself. So if you have the chance to visit Jamaica's south coast this is definitely a place of natural beauty to consider.