Mahoe Falls was the first waterfall that Julie and I saw in Jamaica. Its name (pronounced “ma-HO”) was said to be derived from mahogany, which we did see a few during our visit here. It made for a pleasant introduction to the waterfalls in Jamaica as it was a typical “play” waterfall where we were able to swim in some of its pools though we weren’t sure if we could climb portions of the falls as some parts looked a bit too steep to climb.
Speaking of which, the falls was of the sloping variety where the underlying limestone (calcium-carbonate) gave the falls its rounded and Jabba-the-hut-like quality. Even though we didn’t swim in the falls, we did spend a good bit of time viewing the falls from as many vantage points as possible. There were also a couple of vantage points to get pretty panoramas of Ocho Rios and the Caribbean Sea beyond.
One thing we noticed was that there was a fence blocking access to the lower tiers of the falls. The paid admission part of the falls only comprised most of the uppermost tiers of the waterfall. However, the lower tiers could not be accessed from these grounds.
Fortunately for us, our local guide that we hired lived just up the hill from the Coyaba River Gardens (where this falls is located; pronounced “CUY-ah-bah”) so he had no qualms about taking us to the base of the falls. It turned out that in order to get down there, we had to leave the paid admission premises, then drive the local roads down to what appeared to be a private residence.
At the time, the guide said that no one lived at this residence so it became a locals-only hangout. There was even a sign and bin encouraging locals to pitch in and donate money to keep the falls clean.
Still, the view of the falls from down here was probably the most satisfying (see the photo at the top of this page) as we could see all the tiers of the falls as well as have an opportunity to do some more dipping in a quieter setting. We even managed to startle a pair of local ladies in one of the pools a few tiers above us who might have been bathing in the nude.
Since we hired a driver and guide, we can’t give specific directions on how to get to Mahoe Falls from say the Sandals Resort in Ocho Rios. However, we can say that it is adjacent to the Coyaba River Gardens, but admission to this waterfall is separate from that of the gardens. Since we were on limited time, we only opted to do the waterfall and not the gardens (so we can’t really say anything about the gardens themselves).
Admission price at the time of our visit in late 2011 was $10 USD per person not including transportation costs.
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