YS Falls

South Coast, St Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica

About YS Falls

Hiking Distance: < 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2011-12-30
Date last visited: 2011-12-30

Waterfall Latitude: 18.15408
Waterfall Longitude: -77.82453

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

YS Falls has to be one of the prettiest waterfalls in Jamaica.

In fact, we’d argue it’s pretty close to Dunn’s River Falls in terms of scenic allure.

YS_Falls_018_12302011 - Full context of most of the tiers of YS Falls
Full context of most of the tiers of YS Falls

According to the signs here, the falls consist of seven main tiers almost all in close succession, which was why we thought it was so pretty.

We spotted an additional waterfall further upstream from what was shown on the map sign near the main play area, but the trail past that waterfall was closed.

Thus, I’m sure there were probably more waterfalls further upstream to add to the experience if everything was open.

However, as far as the main waterfall area was concerned, it was said to have a cumulative drop of 36m over the seven or so drops that we were able to access.

YS Falls = Fun

YS_Falls_118_12302011 - Someone zipping down over all the drops of YS Falls while others were frolicking in the plunge pools within the waterfalls themselves
Someone zipping down over all the drops of YS Falls while others were frolicking in the plunge pools within the waterfalls themselves

In addition to the scenic allure of YS Falls, what really struck us during our visit here was the fun atmosphere of the place.

We saw people taking their pick of which swimming hole to choose from, and each of the waterfall tiers seemed to have pools conducive to swimming both above and below it.

On some of the waterfall tiers, we witnessed people taking turns plunging off rope swings into some of the deeper pools.

In others waterfall tiers, people did straight cliff jumps.

And while all of this was happening, we heard zipliners screaming in excitement above us as they were zooming by from the top to the bottom of the YS Falls.

YS_Falls_030_12302011 - Many people enjoying themselves amongst the many swimming holes along YS Falls
Many people enjoying themselves amongst the many swimming holes along YS Falls

Even though each of the waterfalls on YS Falls were too steep to safely climb in the way Dunn’s River Falls allowed, it didn’t seem to matter here.

Thus, we were totally able to see why it was pretty crowded here, but it wasn’t quite as overwhelming as Dunn’s River Falls probably in large part because of YS Falls’ more distant location (see directions below).

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh at this theme-park-like atmosphere (which seemed to be the norm amongst Jamaica’s major waterfalls), but I had to admit that there was a certain fun energy buzzing about this place.

Of course, the falls itself still retained its character and the place wasn’t so built-up that we would have forgetten we were still in Nature.

YS_Falls_009_12302011 - The artificial swimming pool near the bustling lawn area at the foot of most of the YS Falls
The artificial swimming pool near the bustling lawn area at the foot of most of the YS Falls

By the way, in case you’re wondering (like us) what the letters YS mean, they apparently came from the names of the original landowners John Yates and Richard Scott.

Our YS Falls Experience

The way we experienced YS Falls began with a tram or “jitney” ride that consisted of Disneyland-like tram trailers with seats except they were being pulled by tractors (as this place was fronted by a farm).

After a few minutes on this tram ride, we were then dropped off at what I’m calling the start of the play area.

Here, there was a gift shop, a waiting area for the return tram, changing rooms, and an artificial swimming pool.

There were also other footpaths that went away from the waterfall towards other parts of the complex for additional activities.

YS_Falls_024_12302011 - YS Falls. Notice the people swimming towards the top of this picture
YS Falls. Notice the people swimming towards the top of this picture

Anyways, we followed a pretty obvious walking path that led past the artificial swimming pool and then to a pretty extensive lawn area.

In this lawn area, there were picnic tables and even booths for booking the zipline ride as well as shopping at more curio shops.

Beyond the lawn area, there were a few small cascades and swimming holes to already start cooling off from the tropical Caribbean heat.

Next, the walkway then became stairs as it flanked the right side of the stream alongside each drop of the YS Falls.

We were able to see most of the main sections of YS Falls both directly and at various angles.

YS_Falls_057_12302011 - Frontal view of the uppermost tier of YS Falls
Frontal view of the uppermost tier of YS Falls

There were also multiple exit points where we could take a detour towards each cascade for the opportunity to take more photos, go for a swim, or even wait in line to plunge off some rope swings (not sure if that costed extra).

This walkway also allowed us to capture all the action without getting wet (a good thing for taking pictures without the risk of destroying our camera).

Eventually, I was able to go up to a wide waterfall just past the starting point for the zipline (which I believed was called the Chukka Canopy Tour during our December 2011 visit).

That was when I encountered a closure sign that prevented further progress upstream.

YS_Falls_131_12302011 - Back at the big lawn area after having our fill of experiencing the YS Falls
Back at the big lawn area after having our fill of experiencing the YS Falls

If I wanted to, I could’ve gone swimming in the plunge pool right in front of that wide waterfall as I would’ve been the only one here.

When we had our fill of the YS Falls, we returned to the main lawn area to chill out and soak in a little more of the atmosphere.

That was when we realized that there were even more activities on offer here such as river tubing further downstream of YS Falls as well as more walking trails to explore a little more of this pretty extensive complex.

Needless to say, we could’ve easily spent an entire day here, and it was no wonder why YS Falls was as popular as it was on this quieter side of southwestern Jamaica.


YS Falls resides near Black River in the St Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica. It is privately owned and operated by the YS Estate. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try to visit their website.

YS_Falls_004_12302011 - The jitney taking us to the YS Falls
YS_Falls_010_12302011 - Walking from the start of the play area towards the busy lawn area on the way to YS Falls
YS_Falls_013_12302011 - A swimming hole beneath the lowest of the main cascades of the YS Falls
YS_Falls_017_12302011 - Zoomed in look at the upper tiers of the YS Falls as seen from closer to its bottom
YS_Falls_022_12302011 - Looking up at most of the upper tiers of the YS Falls
YS_Falls_027_12302011 - The walkway leading further up the YS Falls
YS_Falls_047_12302011 - The cascades and plunge pool at the uppermost section of YS Falls where the rope swing folks jump in
YS_Falls_062_12302011 - Perhaps the tallest of the tiers of the YS Falls
YS_Falls_067_12302011 - Another look at the penultimate tier of YS Falls
YS_Falls_070_12302011 - The wooden walkway leading to the uppermost YS Falls that we can access as well as the zipline tour
YS_Falls_072_12302011 - The uppermost YS Falls that we could access though it didn't seem to be visually part of the main series of cascades
YS_Falls_077_12302011 - Context of the swimming hole at the foot of the uppermost publicly accessible tier of YS Falls
YS_Falls_091_12302011 - This particular pool was the dropping point for the rope swing so it was one of the more popular spots of the YS Falls
YS_Falls_103_12302011 - This couple was looking to scramble along the rim of one of the lower cascades of the YS Falls
YS_Falls_110_12302011 - Looking back at the context of the YS Falls as we made our way back down to the lawn area
YS_Falls_132_12302011 - Awaiting the jitney ride back to the car park for YS Falls

Since we hired a driver, we can’t give specific directions on how to get to YS Falls from say the Sandals Resort in Negril.

However, we can say that it’s roughly a 90-minute drive from Negril to the falls.

YS_Falls_002_12302011 - The car park for YS Falls
The car park for YS Falls

We actually did this waterfall as part of packaged tour with the Black River Safari, which gave us the opportunity to spot American Crocodiles (or are they alligators?) in the Black River wetlands about 20 minutes south of YS Falls from the town of Black River.

Once we were at the car park for the YS Falls, we we paid for our admission, then we boarded a tractor-pulling jitney which took groups of people across the YS Plantation (roughly a 10-minute ride) to the main waterfall area.

The jitneys generally show up it seemed every 10-15 minutes or so.

The admission price as of our visit in December 2011 was $15.50 USD per person.

However, the packaged deal with Black River was about $35.50 per person, and with lunch it was $39 per person.

YS_Falls_003_12302011 - The entrance facility for the YS Falls, where we waited to hop onto a jitney to reach the main fun area
The entrance facility for the YS Falls, where we waited to hop onto a jitney to reach the main fun area

One thing worth noting is that even though there were a handful of change rooms, there weren’t lockers.

Basically Julie kept an eye on our stuff when I took a dip since she didn’t want to go in the water.

Finally for some additional context, Negril was about 81km west of Montego Bay (Mo Bay).

Find A Place To Stay

Bottom up sweep from perhaps the best photo spot with successive zoom-ins towards the top of the YS Falls

Nearly 360 degree sweep from the walkway to the falls (with a rope swinger) to the falls downstream and beyond

Right to left sweep starting with the tallest tier than ending downstream

Left to right sweep of the large pool before the uppermost waterfall that we could reach this day

L-shaped bottom up sweep starting with pool then going past tallest tier before finally zooming in on zipliners

Someone plunging off a rope swing

Fixated on a particularly busy plunge pool until a zipliner came zooming across above the scene

Progressive zoom-ins on each tier of the falls as we work our way up from the most photogenic spot

A zipliner zooming above us from the photogenic spot

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Tagged with: st elizabeth, saint elizabeth, negril, white house, black river, jamaica, waterfall, caribbean, glenbrook, savanna la mar, ys plantation, jitney, south coast

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.