There’s nothing as refreshing as a waterfall. These vertical rivers of water are found throughout the world, however it’s the lush tropical foliage that makes Caribbean waterfalls so captivating. Here are ten waterfalls worth traveling ashore to see.
1. YS Falls, Jamaica
There’s not one but seven cascading waterfalls plus a natural spring-fed wading pool at this former sugarcane estate located near the island’s south west coast. There’s a ten-minute tractor ride across beautiful fields to the falls, where facilities include changing area and snack bar. Canopy tours and river tubing are available for those who want more than a splash.
2. Bassin Blue, Haiti
It might not take planes, trains and automobiles, but it does require a four-wheel drive vehicle, a 20-minute hike and rappelling down a 12-foot rock face to get to this idyllic waterfall-fed swimming hole. Thankfully, there are often residents ready to serve as guides. Soak in one of the bright blue pools or climb up on the surrounding rocks and jump in. Legend tells these pools are bottomless …
3. Juan Diego Falls, Puerto Rico
Drive-in waterfalls, the kind you can park next to and look at like La Coca Falls, are some of the most popular in El Yunque Rainforest and currently the only falls open to the public in the wake of 2017 hurricanes. However, when it reopens, take a hike off the beaten trail to the more tranquil Juan Diego Falls. This is a pair of falls located on the Big Pine Trail less than a half-mile from the lookout at the Yokahu Tower.
4. Trafalgar Falls, Dominica
Two is always better than one when it comes to waterfalls. These two, a taller (278-foot) ‘father’ and shorter (131-foot) ‘mother’ make up these falls, which are located 20 minutes east of the island’s capital of Roseau and then a ten minute walk along an easy trail to the viewing platform. Those who want can venture further for a quick dip or swim.
5. Dark View Falls, St. Vincent
Pouring over lava rock, these twin falls tumble some 100-feet plus and 200-feet plus into the Richmond River below. Bamboo from the surrounding forest was used to build the bridge needed to cross from the parking lot, over the river and to the falls. This walk is very short. The drive from Kingston, however, is an hour and a half long. There’s a welcome, restrooms/changing area and food kiosk just off the parking lot.
6. Concord Falls, Grenada
This trio of waterfalls located on the west side of the island south of Gouyave offers something for everyone. Those who want to can drive to the first fall. Those up for a rugged hike can check out the second and third falls. Either way, a dip in cool, clear mountain water awaits.
7. Argyle Waterfalls, Tobago
A splendid white cascade of water gushes down the three tiers of this 175-foot tall falls like icing on a wedding cake. In fact, you can hear the falls long before you see them while taking a 20-minute trek along a well-marked trail. Hike in by yourself or hire a guide. The latter might be prudent if you plan to hike the often-overgrown path up the side of the falls where there’s a wave of thick mist and several shallow rock ‘tubs’ perfect for a quick dip.
8. Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
Likely the hardest falls to reach in the Caribbean, these are a sight to go on a bucket-trip list. Kaieteur is the largest single drop waterfall in the world as measured by the volume of water flowing over it. Located in the namesake national park, the falls are in a section of the Amazon rainforest that takes an hour by air to reach from the capital in Georgetown. A massive nearly 800-foot tall wall of water that’s not to be missed.
9. Butterfly Falls, Belize
Book a night at the Hidden Valley Inn, located in the 7,000-plus-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve to have access to this 80-foot classic tropical waterfall. From the Inn, there’s an arduous trail that takes 30-minutes to traverse. This means it’s often deserted; just you and the white and blue butterflies that live here.
10. King Vulture Falls, Belize
This is another great fall to visit in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. In fact, you would be in famous company if you did. The Discovery Channel’s Bear Grylls made a grand entrance to the Belizean jungle by jumping out of a helicopter and then rappelling down these falls. Mere mortals can simply take a trail to the falls from the Inn.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.