Good family fun at YS Falls
YS Falls, situated in St Elizabeth on the southern coast of Jamaica, provides a family environment for relaxation.
Opened in 1992, YS Falls is a nature-based attraction with beautiful waterfalls, relaxing gardens, and three pools, one of which is fed by underground and above-ground springs. That pool is said to be more suitable for children and persons who are unable to swim.
More recent additions to the attractions at YS Falls are canopy rides, which glide from the top of the falls to their base.
Gazebos and pavilions also add to the beauty of the area, which also has a gift shop.
"It's a great place for a family or one and two groups," said Simon Browne, manager of YS Falls.
"Now that we have the pools with the falls, visitors more come to make it a day out. It's more to chill and relax," added Browne, while noting that there are bars and a restaurant on the property.
Visitors are also allowed to take their food and drinks, but under certain conditions.
"We ask them to prepare their food beforehand. We do not allow anybody to cook at the waterfalls. We also ask them not to bring styrofoam," Brown said.
YS Falls can accommodate groups of between 20 and 30 persons. However, the attraction does not cater to more than four groups per day. Browne said that this is to prevent overcrowding. Groups also have to make reservations.
"If you don't have a reservation for a group, you might be turned away," said the manager. He said that most groups want to come on weekends, close to holidays, or in the summer.
The compound, which is about 20 acres, gets an average of 230 to 250 visitors per day.
Browne encourages persons wishing to visit to come early. The operating hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesdays to Sundays. The attraction is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
He said the local crowd mostly comes at midday, but warned: "YS is a place you need to come early."
"We get an average of 90 inches of rainfall a year, so we get a lot of afternoon rain."
He listed April to mid-June as a period when they get a lot of rain. Mid-July to October is also rainy.
THE WEEKEND STAR, on its visit to the falls last week observed a lush lawn, but Browne was quick to point out: "It's lovely and dry now but gets soggy during the rainy months."
"We don't want people to kick football to destroy the lawn or disturb other visitors who might be using the lawn," he added, noting that music sets are not allowed at YS Falls.
While things generally flow freely, Browne said that they sometimes have guests who don't want to follow the rules. Although there are lifeguards and security officers on duty, he said that there are people who want to swim in areas not designated for swimming and people who are unable to swim but want to swing off the rope.
The entry fee for international visitors is US$19, while entry costs J$1,350 for local adults. children (three to 15 years old) pay $900, and university students pay $1,100. The fee must be paid before you board the tractor or jitney for the 10-minute journey to the waterfalls compound.