Mayfield Falls Jamaica
Set on Jamaica’s glorious west coast and tucked away at the base of the Dolphin Head Mountains, Mayfield Falls is one of the island’s most beautiful natural attractions. Fed by the continual flow of Hector’s River, the falls consist of several swimming lakes and more than 20 mini-waterfalls. They’re surrounded by some of the best scenery in the Caribbean. Lush vegetation and a dense jungle canopy help to protect you from the sun, which is important as you embark on what is one of Jamaica’s most unusual tours.
This is one of our favourite Caribbean attractions, and an absolute must for families on their holidays to Jamaica who want to experience an eco-tour like no other.
Wading and water shoes
The tour begins in Westmoreland, with a short walk through thickets of wild bamboo and delicate ferns to the mouth of Mayfield Falls. There, you’ll find a small entrance ‘area’, which has been incorporated into the natural surroundings with as much sensitivity to the environment as possible.
Now’s the time to change into your swimming clothes. Lockers for your clothing are available for a small fee and there are even water shoes for rent if you didn’t bring any with you on your Jamaica holidays. The ground can be rough so we recommend you avoid going barefoot. Once you’ve changed, you and your guide will wade into the cool, clear waters of Hector’s River and start your journey.
You shouldn’t wear sun cream or mosquito repellent while you’re exploring Mayfield Falls. The waters are kept as pure as possible and shouldn’t be contaminated with chemicals of any sort. If you have fairer skin, the best advice is to wear a t-shirt over your swimwear. However, the jungle’s canopy is so thick that there’s plenty of shade broken up by pockets of sunlight.
Mother Nature’s handiwork
For around 40 minutes your guide will lead you through the water and upstream towards the falls themselves. The current in the river is minimal, but you’ll soon discover that those water shoes were a good idea, as the riverbed can be quite slippery. As you slosh your way along the river, you’ll be able to spot some stunning examples of Mother Nature’s handiwork. Look out for brightly coloured butterflies, birds, and flowers. Known locally as ‘falls walking’, this is one of the best ways to see some of Jamaica’s wildlife in their natural habitat. If your camera isn’t waterproof but you still want to bring it along, your guide will be happy to put it in his own waterproof bag and carry it for you until you need it.
Playtime in the pools
As the journey continues, you’ll find yourself passing over and under miniature waterfalls and, for those who fancy it, there’s even an underwater passage to swim through. You’ll notice pools branching off from the main river and your guide is likely to suggest you stop and relax in the still waters. Some of the pools can be quite deep and these are the ones that you’ll be encouraged to play in. Surrounded by trees with overhanging branches, your guide will cheerfully point out which are the best branches to climb, so you can divebomb into the pool below.
If you’ve got any aches and pains, the waterfalls are almost guaranteed to wash them all away. Park yourself under a frothing cascade and let the water work as your own natural massage therapist. The waterfalls are small enough that you can comfortably sit under them and enjoy the feeling of the water working on your neck and shoulders. In addition, many of the pools are filled with bubbles; close your eyes and you could easily believe you were sitting in a Jacuzzi.
The star of the show is a waterfall known as ‘The Washing Machine’. Although it’s the largest in Mayfield Falls, it’s still only three metres high and the cooling waters fall onto your head and shoulders for that ultimate Caribbean experience.
The end of the tour
Once your tour is over, you’ll wade your way back to the starting point, where you can change back into your clothes. It’s considered standard practice to tip your guide before leaving. If you’re not quite ready to leave Mayfield Falls, there’s a small restaurant where you can enjoy some delicious Jamaican dishes and a drink. There’s also a gift shop, where you can buy mementoes of your holidays to Jamaica.