Reach Falls

Manchioneal, Portland Parish, Jamaica

About Reach Falls


Hiking Distance: 2km loop
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2011-12-28
Date last visited: 2011-12-28

Waterfall Latitude: 18.03006
Waterfall Longitude: -76.31151

Reach Falls (I’ve also seen it spelled Riech Falls) was a waterfall that was more about the experience than the scenic allure.

However, I found that its main waterfall was pretty nice in its own right as it was attractively wide with a rounded shape.

Reach_Falls_026_12282011 - Reach Falls - the main drop
Reach Falls – the main drop

That said, I’m not sure I’d agree with LP saying this was up there with YS Falls for the title of most beautiful waterfall in Jamaica.

There was actually a series of smaller cascades and clear blue pools culminating in the main drop that was probably 10m tall though it was much wider.

I’m sure there were more cascades further downstream, but I took a guided tour upstream towards some additional smaller cascades culminating in a very cool cave hidden beneath the last cascade we made it up to.

I’m not sure if this cave was the Mandingo Cave that was mentioned in the literature, but it was the only “cave” that I experienced during my time at Reach Falls.

In addition to the main falls and the hidden cave, there was also a heart-shaped hole under which some small cascades formed little “jacuzzis” that I was able to sit in for a little natural massage.

Reach_Falls_031_12282011 - The heart-shaped 'jacuzzi' just above the main drop of Reach Falls
The heart-shaped ‘jacuzzi’ just above the main drop of Reach Falls

That heart-shaped hole was actually part of a small natural bridge providing an outlet for this little cascade.

This outlet then spilled right into a very blue and very clear pool before the water went over the main falls.

My Reach Falls Experience

After paying the admission and getting changed into swimwear (keeping mind there were mosquitoes here), Julie and I walked down a paved path then down some steps towards the base of Reach Falls.

There was a fork deviating from the steps, where that detour ultimately led to the top of the falls where there was access to that heart-shaped hole I mentioned earlier.

However, we punted on going that route and ended up doing this later on towards the end of our visit.

Reach_Falls_004_12282011 - Julie walking underneath a towering tree full of vines on our way to Reach Falls
Julie walking underneath a towering tree full of vines on our way to Reach Falls

Once at the bottom, there was a life guard (who actually looked more like a security guard) who let the guide know that I wanted to be guided.

The guide happened to be across the stream about to take a group of other folks, but he let me wade across the stream and join their group.

Once I was on the other side, we walked up an established path alongside the main Reach Falls then up besides the heart-shaped hole to the top of its falls.

Then, we had a choice of staying on dry land or swimming upstream towards another small falls.

We had to do this a couple more times to go up a couple more small falls until finally we swam by a couple of deep pools towards the base of a fairly significant 5-10m or so cascade.

Reach_Falls_008_jx_12282011 - Looking back across Reach Falls from the other side shortly before starting the walk further upstream to the Rabbit Hole
Looking back across Reach Falls from the other side shortly before starting the walk further upstream to the Rabbit Hole

Keep in mind that there were dry paths throughout to get up to this point in the event I didn’t want to swim and just wanted to take photos.

My Reach Falls Experience – The Mandingo Cave or “Rabbit Hole”

Once at this cascade, here was where the cool part happened.

The guide then proceeded to go up near the top of this cascade before disappearing and ending up reappearing at the base of one of the steps of this falls below us!

Of course that piqued our curiosity as to how he managed to get downstream of us without us seeing him.

And that was when the next time he went back up this cascade, he took us with him.

Reach_Falls_014_jx_12282011 - Scrambling in the water further upstream of the main drop of Reach Falls towards the cascade concealing the Mandingo Cave or 'Rabbit Hole'
Scrambling in the water further upstream of the main drop of Reach Falls towards the cascade concealing the Mandingo Cave or ‘Rabbit Hole’

Once we got up to the top of this cascade, it turned out that there was a little hole that we could get into.

Miraculously, most of the cascade did not spill into this hole so that made it pretty easy for us to follow him in.

Once inside the hole, we ended up in a real cool hidden cave where there was one tiny waterfall coming into the cave from a different hole.

Most of my torso was above water and it seemed like there was enough room down here for all six of us with some additional breathing room.

That extra space alleviated some of the claustrophobia concerns some of us had.

Reach_Falls_033_jx_12282011 - The cascade concealing the Mandingo Cave or 'Rabbit Hole'
The cascade concealing the Mandingo Cave or ‘Rabbit Hole’

Then, we had to duck our heads briefly under water to re-emerge into an open-air mini-gorge where we had to duck our heads once again to get into yet another cave (though this was significantly smaller than the first one).

Finally, we had to hold our breath one last time and go through the backside of the waterfall before us to re-emerge out near the base of the overall falls.

I wish I had a waterproof camera (or better yet, put a waterproof casing around the DLSR) to capture it all, but alas, you’ll have to take my word for it.

My Reach Falls Experience – The Heart-Shaped “Jacuzzi”

Anyways, the tour then went back downstream where we took an alternate dry path towards a familiar little house at the tip of a bend where the steps led back down to the Reach Falls again.

But now we took that fork leading to the top of the falls.

Reach_Falls_058_jx_12282011 - Looking through the heart-shaped hole revealing the natural bridge
Looking through the heart-shaped hole revealing the natural bridge

That was when the guide had us go into the pool beneath the heart-shaped hole for a little “jacuzzi”, which was basically where the rush of water kind of provided natural jets to help massage the body.

There was also another little “jacuzzi” further upstream if the heart-shaped hole got a little crowded.

Finally, the little guided tour ended with a descent directly down the far right extreme of the main Reach Falls.

All told, the guided tour took roughly one hour, and the only additional cost was to tip the guide for helping and showing us the cool hidden parts of the Reach Falls for that complete experience.

Authorities

Reach Falls resides in Manchioneal Port Antonio in the Portland Parish, Jamaica. It is privately owned and operated by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC). For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try to visit their Facebook page.

Reach_Falls_001_12282011 - The car park at Reach Falls
Reach_Falls_002_12282011 - The wide path surrounded by lush jungle leading to Reach Falls
Reach_Falls_005_12282011 - Steps descending to the base of the Reach Falls
Reach_Falls_009_12282011 - Looking down the far right extreme of the Reach Falls before descending to its bottom
Reach_Falls_011_12282011 - The clear blue pool just downstream of the heart-shaped hole and just upstream from the brink of Reach Falls
Reach_Falls_019_12282011 - Full contextual view of the front of the main drop of Reach Falls
Reach_Falls_036_jx_12282011 - People scrambling their way towards the cascade with the Mandingo Cave or 'Rabbit Hole' oblivious to the gorgeous color of the stream
Reach_Falls_030_jx_12282011 - Chilling out by the cascade concealing the Mandingo Cave or 'Rabbit Hole' way upstream of the main drop of Reach Falls
Reach_Falls_047_jx_12282011 - Looking down at people gettting their jacuzzi treatment at the heart-shaped hole when we returned to the main Reach Falls
Reach_Falls_070_jx_12282011 - Looking down at a group of people giving it a go to descend the main drop of Reach Falls directly

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Since we hired a driver and guide, we can’t give specific directions on how to get to Reach Falls.

However, we do know that it’s inland from the town of Manchioneal, and it’s about 2.5 hours from the Sandals Ocho Rios to the entrance of the falls (much of the road is twisty and narrow as well as full of slow traffic requiring passing).

I believe we paid $10 USD per person during our December 2011 visit not including transportation costs, which was pretty significant given the long distances.

Finally for some additional context, Ocho Rios was about 100km east of Montego Bay (Mo Bay).

Right to left sweep starting from clear pool downstream of the heart-shaped depression (not seen) and ending over brink of main falls


Left to right sweep of the main Reach Falls and pool from the end of the stairstep descent


Fixated on the main falls


Folks disappearing into a cave beneath the waterfall and reappearing from one of the holes close to the bottom of the falls. Be patient with this movie as it took a while for each person to get through the caves (I couldn't bring camera in there as it wasn't waterproof)


Left to right sweep of the falls following the flow of water and ending at pool as tourists were swimming their way out


Right to left sweep of the cascade going beneath heart-shaped hole


Left to right sweep from the pool between heart-shaped hole and the brink of the main falls

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Tagged with: manchioneal, jamaica, kingston, boston bay, port antonio, caribbean, waterfall, portland, mandingo cave



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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