Hiking YS Falls in Jamaica

Hiking up waterfalls seems to be a particularly Caribbean pastime. In Jamaica, the best known waterfall hike is Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios. Being on the north side of island near Montego Bay means the falls get a lot of tourists. For a similar, some would argue better, waterfall climbing experience, head to the south side of Jamaica, near the city of Black River, to take in YS Falls.

YS Falls is a natural, seven tier waterfall with a total drop of over 40 feet. The hike from the bottom is led by a life guard. The guard shows you where to step in the water and on the rocks so that you don't fall. You gradually climb up the seven tiers stopping along the way to get doused by a cascade, swim a little, and have your picture taken numerous times. Near the top there is an opportunity to leap from the top of one tier into the deep, cool water. At the end of the upward climb there's a rope swing to allow the visitor to fly out over the water before plunging into the swimming hole below.

Speaking of flying, YS Falls also has a zip line tour. There are five lines with the longest running straight over the falls. Because of the heat and humidity in this part of Jamaica it's advisable to do the zip line first and then cool off by hiking the waterfall.

Additionally there is a man made pool between the bottom of the falls and the restaurant/gift shop. Guests can hang out in this area as long as they like. The restaurant serves traditional Jamaican food, including curried goat.

YS Falls was originally developed as a private residence. In 1992 it was opened to the public to enjoy. It's easy to spend a couple of hours to half a day at YS Falls, which leaves plenty of time to tour the Appleton Rum Factory on the way back to Black River.

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