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Seeing Jamaica on Television

Jamaica had a fantastic few weeks on American television when two reality shows, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and The Bachelor, filmed some of their episodes there. Although neither show appeals to me, I swallowed my distaste and allowed the storyline to take a backseat to the view unfolding on my television screen. I ended up catching more of The Bachelor than of the Housewives. Here are some of the places they featured (not in oder):

YS Falls, St. Elizabeth

The show centers around a young man who’s trying to find a marriage bride. In the episodes that were filmed in Jamaica, the prospective groom travels with one of the two female finalists to YS Falls. Located on a 2,00-acre spread in southwestern Jamaica, YS Estate and Falls is a former sugarcane and logwood tree (a natural dye) farm and privately owned stud farm. YS has its own waterfall – seven, to be exact – that reach to 120 meters with several natural pools.  

Seeing Jamaica

YS Falls

The area surrounding the falls is lush and green. Visitors can swim, do canopy rides or just relax. There are also activities for children.

YS Falls, Jamaica

YS Falls, Jamaica

#TPThursday: Falling for YS Falls

Falling for YS Falls

Good Hope Great House

I saw only a part of the episode that was shot at Good Hope Great House. When I tuned in, the couple was standing outside the house. Although the grounds are beautiful, I think the interior is even more stunning.

Good Hope Great House

Good Hope Great House

A Photo Review of 2013

Good Hope

Counting House, Good Hope Great House

The Counting House

The Blue Lagoon

When they showed the couple at the Blue Lagoon, also called the Blue Hole, the popular local destination was unusually devoid of people but still recognizable. Located between the parishes of St. Ann and St. Mary, the Blue Lagoon, was not quite ready for international visitors when I visited a few years ago. It’s possible that the show could have rented it for filming. 

Blue Lagoon

It was great to see the Blue Lagoon on television. I was a little sad though as it’s one of those places that, given the choice, I’d keep for local use.

Blue Lagoon,

Do you ever go out of your way to watch a show that featured your country?

Linking this week with Travel Photo Thursday that Nancie of Budget Travelers Sandbox, Jan at Budget Travel Talk, Ruth at Tanama Tales, and Rachel at Rachel’s Ruminations

 

Budget Travelers Sandbox

Falling for YS Falls

My YS Falls adventure begins as soon as I board the tractor-drawn jitney that would take me from the main entrance of YS Estate, a 2,000-acre, privately owned stud farm, to the falls.

Falling for YS Falls

Falling for YS Falls

It’s a leisurely 10-minute ride through lush vegetation that stretches as far as the eye can see. Pass logwood or bloodwood trees, which the estate used to export to Europe back when dyes couldn’t be made without it, poinciana and ackee trees among others, grazing Jamaica Red Poll cattle with an egret or two waiting patiently to catch its next meal, and horses roaming freely in the distance.

About halfway into the ride, part of the YS River, from which the falls derive, comes into view, its sound hardly noticeable over the put-put-put of the jitney. The water is clear and looks refreshing on this day that is being baked slowly by the sun.

Falling for YS Falls

Wading Pool

As we come to a stop, I take in the view: a wading pool ringed by ginger lilies and lounge chairs is to my left, a gift shop and cafe on my right, and dead ahead, the bottom of the falls — the rest disappearing into the verdant foliage. A huge logwood tree with a platform catch my eye and as I look up, someone lets out a big woohoo as they take off flying 50 feet above the canopy of trees.

Falling for YS Falls

One of the seven falls

Falling for YS Falls

The Falls

At approximately 120 meters, YS Falls has seven waterfalls that form several natural pools that invite you to take a dip or, for the more adventurous, a jump.

Falling for YS Falls

The Falls

Falling for YS Falls

Jumping in

There have been changes to the grounds since the last time I visited YS. Walkways now lead from the base of the falls to the top, a zip line canopy tour has been added and there’s tubing for the less adventurous. Several guides are on hand at each pool and accompany tubers and zip liners. Only swimmers are allowed to enter the water.

For the little ones, there are play areas far away from the water, and a few benches placed strategically around the grounds entice you to sit and enjoy nature’s bounty. Or grab a seat on the porch of the gift shop and watch as bird feeders call colorful hummingbirds to take a sip.

YS Estate is also a working stud farm that has produced several thoroughbred champions for Caymanas Park, the local racetrack.

Respect for the Environment

The Browne family, who own the estate and the falls, which are nestled in the foothills of the Cockpit Country, has taken great care in maintaining the natural environment. According to their site, when the falls opened in 1992, Simon Browne wanted to limit the number of visitors to 25 a day but that had to be revised as interest grew. Still, he’s said to monitor the numbers. (Groups are limited to 25.) In keeping with their drive to be environmentally aware, all toilets are eco-friendly.

My friend who joined me for the visit announced that she was in love with YS Falls, that because of the lushness of the surroundings, she preferred it to Dunn’s River Falls. True, YS feels more in harmony with the environment than Dunn’s River though I believe each has its own charm.

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Before you go:

YS Falls is located 50 miles from Montego Bay and Negril. Tours can be arranged through your hotel or guest house.
Admission: Adults $15/Children $7.50
Canopy Tour: Adults $42/Children $20
Tubing: $6 (20 minutes)
Hours: Tuesday to Sundays 9:30 – 4:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and local holidays
Telephone: 876-997-6360

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.