Tucked away in the verdant hills of the Portland parish on Jamaica’s eastern coast, Reach Falls is an enchanting natural attraction with a rich historical background. This hidden gem offers a captivating mix of natural beauty, unique geological features, and a serene atmosphere, making it a must-visit spot for nature lovers.
Reach Falls, also known as Reach Mahoe Falls, was reportedly discovered by runaway slaves from plantations in the neighboring parish of St. Thomas in the 18th century. They sought refuge in the John Crow Mountains and used the waterfall and its surrounding vegetation as their hideaway. This waterfall then served not only as a sanctuary but also as a source of food and water for these resilient individuals.
The waterfall and surrounding area remained relatively unknown to the wider world until the mid-20th century. Reach Falls gained international fame when it was featured in the Hollywood blockbuster movie “Cocktail” starring Tom Cruise in 1988. The film showcased the waterfall’s stunning beauty and tranquil environment, leading to a significant increase in local and international visitors.
The waterfall is known for its cascading water which tumbles down a rock face into an emerald pool. This natural mineral pool is fed by the Driver’s River, which is known for its remarkably clear water. The river winds through a lush montage of tropical flora before plunging over the falls, creating a serene and visually stunning landscape.
One of the unique features at Reach Falls is the Mandingo Cave. Located to the right of the waterfall, this underwater cave provides adventurous visitors with the opportunity to swim through an opening in the river pool to come out directly under the cascading waterfall.
Since 1990, the Urban Development Corporation, a government-owned entity, has managed Reach Falls. They have introduced facilities like restrooms, changing rooms, and picnic areas to make visits more comfortable while maintaining the falls’ natural beauty and tranquility.
Today, Reach Falls continues to be a preferred destination for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience. Its captivating beauty, historical significance, and the unique experience it offers continue to draw visitors. Guided tours provide insights into the local ecosystem, highlighting the rich biodiversity of the area, including several species of ferns, butterflies, birds, and more.
Reach Falls stands as a testament to Jamaica’s rich history and stunning natural beauty. It offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience a part of the island’s past while basking in the magnificence of one of its most beautiful waterfalls.
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