Sun | Jan 22, 2017

Konoko Falls: Tropical Paradise in St Ann

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMBarbara Ellington
Take a step back into Jamaica's past and check out the museum at Konoko Falls to see how our forefathers survived the horrible consequences of slavery. There are more rest rooms nearby.
The cascading waterfall greets you as you enter the lower level of the newly refurbished attraction in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
The jerk pit and bar are new additions that we predict will be the perfct hangout spot for casual Fridays and after-work jam, as well as the place for visitors to sample Jamaica's indiginous jerk meats.
From the Yassi Lookout Point you can almost see forever .... and the breathtaking view of the town of Ocho Rios and its environs.
The terrace where the fountain is the centrepiece is perfect for weddings, outdoor dining, fashion shows and just about any event that needs the perfect tropical ambience.
The new gift shop has signature Konoko Falls brand items as well as the usual brand Jamaica souvenirs.
The tours take you along a smooth pathway as you view the vegetation on both sides.
Relax by the bar at the lower level or climb the falls to the tropical gardens.
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Konoko Falls, located at the Shaw Park Estate in Ocho Rios, St Ann, could easily be among the reasons that St Ann was named the garden parish. Set in the hills of the former Coyaba Gardens, its lush vegetation, calming waters, and scores of indigenous flowering plants make you want to forget you have a home to return to once you sample its delights.

The new name - Konoko - is the Arawak word for rainforest, and now it's also the name of the newly recreated haven for both visitors and locals to retreat to for relaxation, students to study, take a journey through Jamaica's historic past, or simply to enjoy nature's bounty. Konoko Falls is now being managed by the Guardsman Group and has been refurbished for its official reopening in the near future.

The destination still boasts the Yassi Lookout Point for a panoramic view of the town of Ocho Rios below. It is also home to one of the island's largest collections of exotic flowering plants, a ticket office, museum, gift shop, budgie feeding station, new rest rooms, juice bar, bridal lounge, koi carp pond, a mini zoo, jerk pit and bar, Columbus CafÈ, the waterfall terrace, changing room with lockers, and a first-aid station. The waterfall feature and a swimming pool are also new features as well as covered and open spaces where visitors can sit and eat, a wooden deck, refurbished walkways, and numerous cosy nooks for private relaxation.

General Manager Laura Heron tells The Gleaner that there is a walking tour that takes visitors through the entire gardens and gives them a feel for how the Tainos must have lived. "We hope to have murals on the walls depicting how the Tainos dressed, hunted, and worked, and the artist will be on location in two weeks' time to start working. There will also be a petting area with small animals for the children to enjoy," Heron explained during a recent tour of the facility.

"We have completed construction of the bathrooms and the jerk pit and we are now doing tours of the facility. The entry fee for Jamaicans is $1,000 - adults and children pay $500. The animals are not yet in place as we are awaiting certain approvals," Heron told The Gleaner.

There is ample parking and the tour ideally begins with climbing the falls at the lower level of the property, where visitors can opt to remain relaxed on the deck or at the juice bar while listening to or simply feasting their eyes on the cascading waterfall. Experienced tour guides are on hand to show guests every inch of the attraction.

But don't take our word for it, call 876-622-1712 or email info@konokofalls.com for more information.

barbara.ellington@gleanerjm.com