Moon Author's Review
Reach Falls (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m, Wed-Sun., US$10 adults, US$5 children under 12, US$4.25 residents), or Reich Falls, as it’s sometimes spelled, is located in a beautiful river valley among the lower northeast foothills of the John Crow Mountains. The river cascades down a long series of falls that can be climbed from the base far below the main pool where the attraction, which is managed by Jamaica’s Urban Development Corporation (UDC), is based. You will want to start at the bottom and continue far above the main pool to get the full exhilarating experience. To climb the full length of the cataracts requires about two hours, but if you stop to enjoy each little pool it could easily consume all day. Before reaching the dedicated parking area there is a dirt road just before a wooden shack that leads down to the base of the falls.
To get to Reach Falls, head inland by a set of shacks just east of Manchioneel up a picturesque winding road. The turnoff is marked by a large sign for Reach Falls. Unofficial guides made their services mandatory for years when the falls were officially closed as a managed attraction. These guides often congregate at a fork in the road where you turn left to get to the falls. The guides still offer their services on days when the UDC-managed sight is closed. The guides are in fact indispensable when it comes to climbing the falls, as they know every rock along the riverbed, which is very slippery in certain places. As always, get a sense of what your guide will expect for the service up front (US$10 per person is reasonable) to avoid the discomfort associated with unmet expectations when you leave. Leonard Welsh ("Sendon") and Byron Shaw (cell +1 (876) 891-1061 or +1 (876) 871-3745) are recommended guides on Monday and Tuesday, when the UDC-managed sight is closed; contact Rugy ("Taliban") at the Look In Lookout bar (cell +1 (876) 538-6667) to arrange for a guided visit. A few craftsmen have stands along the road selling wood carvings, and Rene is a charismatic local craftsman who makes lung exercisers, which he claims enhance breathing ability and lung capacity.
Two local guides/lifeguards have been employed by the UDC since it opened the attraction officially in early 2007. The UDC’s lease on the property extends from a little below the main pool to a little above it, and unofficial guides will be turned away from the main waterfalls area on either side of the leased land. Mandingo Cave, which is found further up the river, is not currently part of the official tour offered but can be reached by going with the local guides.