An Easy Jamaica Day Trip With Kids
Portland Parish is easily my favorite part of Jamaica. Away from the busy tourist areas of the North coast, Portie, as it’s affectionately known to Jamaicans, is always lush and tranquil. The unspoiled natural beauty takes your breath away. Often on a Sunday we pack up the boys, a 7YO and 1YO, and take a drive around Portie.
Here’s how I recommend you spend the day.
First stop, Somerset Falls
Most hotels in Jamaica will offer scheduled trips to Somerset Falls, near Port Antonio. It’s not as busy as Dunn’s River Falls. It’s an impressive experience and is doable even with small children and babies. The property has a large natural pool near the entrance, a kiddie “zoo” with parrots and small animals, and a restaurant.
Families can do what we do and follow the signs through a cool, thick canopy to a small set of falls. It’s a quick walk that’s rewarded with photo-ready cascading waterfalls and a shallow pool where kids can swim and climb on the rocks. The water is cold, be warned!
The first time we visited I thought these were the falls. Then I noticed a canoe coming toward us. What’s this about? I realized there was more to see and soon learned that as picturesque as this spot was, it wasn’t really the falls. So we set out the find those falls.
The real falls
Our awesome guide was very particular in how he placed us in the canoe, I guess to make sure we didn’t capsize (good thing). Once we were settled in we were off to discover the Hidden Falls.
After a short and wonderfully scenic ride in the canoe we rounded a bend and saw the cave. We glided in, looked up and there they were, the hidden Somerset Falls. Water appeared to be coming from the sky through an opening in the rocks. Magnificent! I just sat for a bit and took it all in.
Baby and I stayed in the boat, but the invincible 7-year-old couldn’t wait to go swim explore, and promptly did with his Dad.
Take the wet trip
Earlier on, the guide had asked if we wanted a wet or dry trip. Holding a one-year-old baby, I wasn’t quite sure. It turns out the wet trip takes you under Somerset Falls. We opted for it and it worked out fine. But consider yourself warned: Not all babies will relish this impromptu shower!
The day trip details
Somerset Falls is off of Route A4, between Annotto Bay and Port Antonio, in Hope Bay (about two hours from Kingston). The boat ride is included in the entrance fee.
Leave time for lunch
After you’ve dried off, continue toward Port Antonio to Boston Beach and keep an eye out for the Boston Bay Jerk Centre, known for its “Boston Jerk” pork. Vendors cook that along with chicken, fish and sausage outside in authentic jerk pits and serve them up with rice and peas. Locals and tourists flock to it.
The jerk is spicy, of course. But your dip in the waterfalls and pools should keep you cooled down all the way back to your hotel.
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Renee Lindo is a mom of two boys who lives in Canada but loves spending time in Jamaica.
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