Somerset Falls is a pretty waterfall, but we’d argue that it’s probably more of a side attraction compared to the neighboring Hidden Falls and the cave-like grotto it spills into.
Our visit to this falls was pretty straightforward as once we got past the large quad area consisting of a restaurant and bar, shops, a few captive birds, an artificial swimming pool, and a changing room, it was just a short bush fringed walk further to the falls. The nice thing about our visit was that it was pretty low-key and quiet. There were only a handful of tourists trickling in so it wasn’t as overrun as say Dunn’s River Falls or as bustling as YS Falls.
In the falls area, there was a shelter with some picnic tables situated above the lower cascades just downstream of a large and colorful pool into which the main Somerset Falls tumbled into. There was a platform where we boarded a short boat tour past the main falls into a narrow gorge that turned before revealing Hidden Falls. Prior to boarding this little boat tour, we left our stuff in a locker by the platform (the guide or someone from the staff held onto the keys) so that let us take a dip in the large pool area at the start of the boat tour as well as beneath the Hidden Falls.
Speaking of which, the boat ride was part of the paid admission and was definitely worth the look. The well-named Hidden Falls was said to be about 10m, and the spooky cave-like grotto behind the falls made for some pretty cool photo-ops.
Apparently, there were also some interesting limestone formations in the grotto, but we couldn’t really tell what they were. The guide asked for Julie’s small camera and took some flashed photos of formations, but as we looked through the camera roll, we still couldn’t tell what they were.
The pool beneath Hidden Falls was deep enough that our guide encouraged me to jump through the falls and into the pool. It was a nice and refreshing swim though I did need his help to find natural rock steps that enabled me to get back onto the boat. Another nice thing was that our cameras didn’t get damaged from water since it was possible to put the camera in a bag and cover it up with our bodies as we passed beneath Hidden Falls (though it certainly helped to have Julie holding the camera while I went in for a dip since she didn’t want to get in the water).
Finally on the way out, I did notice a closed series of steps that looked like it led to a top down view of both Somerset Falls and Hidden Falls though I couldn’t be sure. I wasn’t sure why it was closed though I suspected that perhaps it was for safety reasons. Otherwise, I’m sure it would’ve provided some additional chances to view these falls (or possibly more?) from a different perspective.
Back at the main quad area, I couldn’t help but wonder if this place also doubled as a party place because the size of the bar area seemed to be pretty extensive (I recalled it even had a dance floor!). It was almost as if this facility had a dual personality – waterfall attraction by day and party pad at night? Indeed, this was one of the stranger waterfall experiences we could recall.
Since we hired a driver and guide, we can’t give specific directions on how to get to Somerset Falls from say the Sandals Resort in Ocho Rios. However, we can say that its turnoff is right off the main road (A4) minutes west of the town of Port Antonio. It took us about 90 minutes to go from Ocho Rios to the entrance of this falls.
The admission price as of our December 2011 visit was $12 USD per person.
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