Bowden Hill, Jamaica

I’ve been in Kingston for a week now and I was starting to miss the countryside, so I decided to search for some local people on the Couchsurfing app (a site/app to meet local people who like to host travelers or show them around their city) who might be able to show me some cool spots like waterfalls or rivers etc.

A guy my age who lives near the hostel said he’d read an article about a waterfall less than an hour away and he’d be happy to try and find it with me, so I brought two girls from the hostel and met up with him to try and find the waterfall in a place called Bowden Hill. We succeeded, so I’ll tell you how it’s done…

From Half Way Tree (a main transport hub in the centre of Kingston), you need to take a bus to Stony Hill (just ask anyone which bus to take). It costs 100jmd (the equivalent of 1 US dollar) and the ride is about half an hour.

When you reach Stony Hill, a community with a little market and a few small takeaways and grocery shops etc., ask someone where to find a taxi going to Bowden Hill. Ask how much it costs before you get in, because it should cost 100jmd so if they say anything more, look for a different driver or let him know that you know that isn’t the right price.

The ride up to Bowden Hill is about 20 minutes and the views are pretty nice. When you reach the top, all you can see is greenery and this primary school:

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When you’re looking at the school from the angle of the photo, you’ll see two paths on the right which go into the jungle. The path which is furher to the right goes to a dam which is interesting to see but it can’t take you to the waterfall, so you can just go there to see it and come back.

The path on the left is the one you need, and it looks like this once you go in:

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Literally just follow it until you reach the waterfall. The only time you have to make a decision is when it forks into two after about 10 minutes walking. Make sure you take the right hand one. After less than half an hour in total, this is the waterfall you’ll come to:

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It’s FREEZING but still nice. There are little pools nearby like this:

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The one problem is, once you come within a 10 metre radius of the water, SWARMS of mosquitoes appear from nowhere. You literally see five of them on your leg at once. I was only standing there for a few minutes before getting in the water, but my legs got covered in bites.

Our solution was to make a fire and stand beside it when we were out of the water because mosquitoes don’t like smoke.

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We walked back out to where the school was, and we’d taken the number of our taxi driver because they don’t often go all the way up there so it’s better to take the number and call them to come and get you.

It turned out there was no phone signal so we just started walking back down to Stony Hill, and I really enjoyed just walking through a quiet community with fruit trees and little wooden houses with views like this:

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…and some cute goats:

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The walk down would have been quite long and it started raining so when we got signal we called the taxi man and he came to get us for 100jmd.

I would definitely recommend going to this waterfall because it’s cheap to get there, easy to do the walk, and there’s no one else there so you have it all to yourself. Just remember to bring mosquito spray and get your taxi driver’s number.

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