We decided to plan out one day trip out of Negril during out stay and with so many options, it was really hard to choose. We wanted a lot of bang for our buck, to be able to see more than one attraction and definitely involve nature. What we really would have loved to do is visit Kingston and the eastern side of the island where the Blue Mountains and Bob Marley museum are, but that would have required a flight or a very long drive and an overnight stay. With just a few days on the island we decided to skip that option. Dunn’s River Falls is one of the most popular attractions and it looks beautiful, though it was a bit of a drive and we knew it would be swarmed with people. Closer to us was Mayfield Falls. The girls who were staying next door to us went and did not recommend it.
After researching online and talking to a few different people, we narrowed it down to the perfect spot for us: the Black River and YS Falls. Our faithful driver Carleton showed up early as promised and was ready for a day full of fun. The drive was about an hour and half and captivating. I barely blinked. We drove into Saint Elizabeth Parish passed small villages, urban centers, beautiful mansions, tiny shacks, fires in a sugarcane field, and the most beautiful ocean scene.
As we passed towns like Little London Carleton began to explain to us the history of Jamaica and its connection to England. Blasting Bob Marley and Beres Hammond we drove the winding roads that showed me the story of real Jamaica – outside of the tourist town that is Negril. We made it to the Black River and Carleton helped us find a small local boat with a guide to show us the river.
We met our tour guide Teron and had a quiet little tour with just one other couple – also from New York! After we were all acquainted we got underway and we weren’t out of our spot before we spotted our first Crocodile!
I’m sure that one was happy to have a prime territory near all of the fishermen. So we headed up the river away from town and it was so peaceful, such pure beauty.
I was excited to see all of the birds. I started asking Teron a million and one questions about all of them and we became fast friends. We happened to be the same age and have a lot in common such as being tour guides on boats and loving nature. He focuses on environmental studies in school so he had a great knowledge about ecosystem to share. He told us the names of all the egrets and herons.
He explained that the river was brackish and tidal, as we passed through the mangroves. We spotted more crocs and he seemed to know each one and their specific territories.
He showed an old basket shrimp trap and explained how it worked.
At a certain point he stopped the boat and asked if we would like to swim. It sure was hot out and we had our suits. And how many times do you get to swim in brackish water after spotting a whole bunch of crocs? My mom and I were in.
The water was dark and cold and the current was moving fast, but we had a blast and came back with all fingers and toes. On the ride back Teron passed me the helm and I drove the boat.
He only had to remind me a few times that in Jamaica they drive on the left, whoops! I was so happy to be on this little boat with our crew of five as we passed by bigger ones filled with people. When we got back to shore Teron took us through the little zoo filled with crocs and other wildlife from the area.
After our goodbyes we made a pit stop for lunch at a roadside lunch spot. We asked for a little of everything and everything was good!
I don’t believe there is any bad food in Jamaica. After lunch we were onto YS Falls for some more fun. You start out with a jitney ride from the lot across the beautiful land to the falls area.
The YS estate breeds horses so you’re likely to see them. Watch those gorgeous far away mountains and take in the scene. When you’re dropped off everything is in walking distance. The first thing we did was head to the boardwalk leading to top of the falls. At the top it was crowded, lots of people were swimming and making their way to sit under the falls.
The water was brisk but beautiful! We didn’t last too long in this environment and went down to check out other levels. There are seven falls in all, tributary to the Black River. Below many of the falls are different natural pools, less crowded. You can even capture pictures of the natural beauty here, without people!
This is where we were happy to hang out. We also grabbed some of the grungy gloves and did the high rope swing in a deep pool to get an adrenaline rush.
Ziplining is also offered. We walked around the grounds and admired the flora, so exotic and colorful.
Once we had our fill in the action packed area we headed for the spring fed pool to relax in the sun.
We promised Carleton we’d be back at a certain time, so we took the Jitney back to the lot and found him with ease. We really loved the day trip we chose filled with wild and beautiful sights, it truly was perfect for us!