Somerset Falls

Port Antonio, Portland Parish, Jamaica

About Somerset Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside; short tour
Suggested Time:

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

Waterfall Latitude: 18.19365
Waterfall Longitude: -76.5534

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 that it spills into.

Our visit to the Somerset Falls was pretty straightforward once we got past the large quad area, where it was just a short bush fringed walk to the first waterfall.

Somerset_Falls_072_12282011 - Somerset Falls with people on a small boat headed further to the Hidden Falls and Grotto
Somerset Falls with people on a small boat headed further to the Hidden Falls and Grotto

That quad area consisted of a restaurant and bar, shops, a few captive birds, an artificial swimming pool, and a changing room.

Experiencing Somerset 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 Somerset 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 waterfall tumbled into.

Somerset_Falls_006_12282011 - Looking towards a lower waterfall further downstream of the Somerset Falls
Looking towards a lower waterfall further downstream of the Somerset Falls

There was a platform where we boarded a short boat tour past the main falls into a narrow gorge that turned a corner before revealing Hidden Falls.

Prior to boarding this little boat tour, we left our stuff in a locker by the platform where 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.

Experiencing Hidden Falls

Speaking of Hidden Falls, the boat ride was part of the paid admission and was definitely worth the look.

Somerset_Falls_036_12282011 - Direct look at the Hidden Falls and Grotto, which was beyond Somerset Falls
Direct look at the Hidden Falls and Grotto, which was beyond Somerset Falls

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.

Somerset_Falls_045_12282011 - Looking out from behind the Hidden Falls from inside the dark confines of the Grotto
Looking out from behind the Hidden Falls from inside the dark confines of the Grotto

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.

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.

Unfinished Business at Somerset Falls

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.

Somerset_Falls_078_12282011 - A footpath that appeared to be closed at the Somerset Falls. I wondered where it went and whether it would have improved the viewing experience
A footpath that appeared to be closed at the Somerset Falls. I wondered where it went and whether it would have improved the viewing experience

Otherwise, I’m sure it would’ve provided some additional chances to view the Somerset 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.

Authorities

Somerset Falls resides in Hope Bay near Port Antonio in the Portland Parish, Jamaica. It is privately owned. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try to visit their Facebook page.

Somerset_Falls_001_12282011 - Julie entering the Somerset Falls complex
Somerset_Falls_002_12282011 - Walking through the renovated quad area for Somerset Falls
Somerset_Falls_003_12282011 - Now re-entering the bush alongside the stream after having passed through the Somerset Falls quad area
Somerset_Falls_004_12282011 - The bush-fringed walk beyond the quad area en route to the Somerset Falls
Somerset_Falls_014_12282011 - The boat launching area, which allowed us to access the Hidden Falls
Somerset_Falls_018_12282011 - A clean look at the Somerset Falls from the boat launching area
Somerset_Falls_020_12282011 - Broad contextual look at the Somerset Falls
Somerset_Falls_029_12282011 - Approaching the Somerset Falls while on the boat
Somerset_Falls_030_12282011 - Passing right before the Somerset Falls
Somerset_Falls_033_12282011 - The narrow gorge beyond the Somerset Falls
Somerset_Falls_051_12282011 - Looking out towards daylight from inside the Grotto, which was behind the Hidden Falls
Somerset_Falls_062_12282011 - Back at the boat launch area where we got to check out the Somerset Falls again
Somerset_Falls_073_12282011 - Our last look at the Somerset Falls before we headed back out

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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.

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

Right to left sweep starting downstream and ending with a zoom-in of the Somerset Falls itself as seen from the shelter


Passing beneath the main falls


L-shaped sweep from the darkness of the grotto to the brighter brink of the falls up above


Left to right sweep from the brink of the lower falls ending downstream


Approaching the Hidden Falls


That's me clumsily jumping through the falls and cannonballing into the plunge pool

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Tagged with: portland, port antonio, jamaica, waterfall, caribbean, boston bay, hidden falls



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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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