“Have you ever heard of Mayfield Falls?”
"No. You mean Dunn's River Falls?"
That was the response of just about everyone we asked about this hidden treasure in Glenbrook, Westmoreland. No one had ever heard about it, let alone been there. We were now more motivated to 'discover' this well-kept secret.
As it turned out, they have a website, so directions were easily accessed. The friendly voice on the phone made the directions seem even simpler. Leaving Negril, we were all set and ready to experience the great adventure of Mayfield Falls - just up the road (in real Jamaican terms)!
The easy drive to Savanna-la-Mar became somewhat difficult after we passed miles of cane fields. The road got so narrow, I was certain it could not accommodate more than one vehicle at a time.
After about 30 minutes of driving, I was certain we were lost. Around a bend by a shop, we asked some young men sitting on the piazza for directions.
"Yeah man, Mayfield Falls just up the road. Continue straight!"
Half an hour later, we were still navigating steep hills, tricky slopes and even narrower roads. Finally, we came upon the road that was described as a 'catapult' by one of the young men from the shop. We took the left as we were instructed and after about 20 minutes, ready to give up, we finally saw a sign:
'This way to Mayfield Falls'
We parked at the top of a hill and were assured by the friendly residents of Glenbrook that the van was “safe”. The entrance to the falls is a steep path made up of bamboo steps and rails. There is an Indiana Jones style bridge which sways ever so slightly, and should be carefully traversed in single file.
The natural beauty of the thatched huts, the flowing river and the sounds of nature immediately transported us to paradise. After a quick chat with supervisor Mauvita and hostess Donesha, we paid our fees and began to explore the grounds. There is a large dining area, thatched huts for relaxing and spacious, well-manicured lawns for picnics.
We rented our crepes to protect our feet from river stones and our friendly guide Taroy was ready to go! The best part was that we had the river entirely to ourselves! When we enquired, Taroy told us that while the falls enjoys a steady stream of tourists, business was now slow.
Taroy made the tour very interesting and entertaining. A son of the community, with 10 years' experience working the falls, he knew all the natural features, hidden tunnels and paths under the river rocks. There were about nine natural Jacuzzis where we could sit and be massaged by powerful flowing water. There were 21 natural pools, ranging from the very shallow to the very deep. For the daredevils, there was a springboard atop the trees tempting you to attempt a nine-foot dive. The highlight was the 'Washing Machine'. This is the largest and most magnificent of the waterfalls with rushing waters that will entice you to take an invigorating swim.
We trekked along a well-beaten path down the river bank and marveled at our tour guide’s impressive knowledge of flora and fauna. Mayfield Falls is home to over 52 varieties of ferns and an abundance of tropical flowers and plants. We were introduced to the five-finger jack, which is said to be more potent than Viagra, a cornucopia of fruit trees, and even the turmeric used to make curry spice.
We eventually got back to the open gardens, where our fantastic guide gave us directions to an alternative route home. He assured this route would be much shorter than the one we took. We did find our way home, but the ride back can only be described as an adventure for another story.
Mayfield Falls is truly one of the most beautiful sceneries that Mother Nature has to offer.
- Drive a rugged vehicle for the terrain
- Bring your own crepes (they will get wet)
- Bug repellent is a must!
(This Article was first published in The Gleaner)
Explore more of Mayfield Falls: