For my husband’s birthday, I planned a surprise breakfast at Reggae Falls. He looks at me sleepily and I can tell he wishes he’d just got the new ipad he’d asked for instead. However, I’m confident that he’s going to love the falls. We reach Hillside quickly – it’s early and the roads are clear and Jamaica just after sunrise I think is probably the most beautiful place on earth. What a start to your birthday I say to my husband, but he’s snoring in the passenger seat and not even the salubrious tones of Stevie Wonder singing happy birthday can awaken him.
The falls are an 18 metre high dam built in 1920 as part of a failed hydro-electric project. They are easily accessible from the village of Hillside. I was told I’d need a guide to show us where to cross the ford but it was easy enough to work out at which points to cross. It helped that there hadn’t been any rain – which obviously might make crossing trickier. The sides of the river bed are lined up with jerk stalls and there is even a bar but just after sunrise the only signs of life were a local woman doing her laundry and a man taking a wash.
It is straight forward but a little tricky to reach the top of the falls via narrow steps hidden in the vegetation to the side of the dam. However, the steps stop half way up the dam due to the large rock face protruding. So I found myself clinging onto a bit of wet rock, straddling the gap to the next set of steps. If heights aren’t your thing, maybe skip it.
Directions to Reggae Falls:
It is easy to reach the falls from the village of Hillside, St Thomas. Turn left when you get to the end of the village and the track leads down to the river. Drive across if safe to do so, and then turn right following the track through the gravel riverbed. Use caution when driving across the river to reach the falls. If you’re unsure a local will show you the safest place to cross.