Moon Author's Review
Y.S. Falls (9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m Tues.-Sun., US$17 adults, US$8.50 children 3-15 years) on the Y.S. Estate is by far the best conceived and organized waterfalls destination in Jamaica. It's been operated by Simon Browne since 1991. The Y.S. River changes with weather--crystal clear blue normally, and swelling after rain in the mountains to make the perfect venue for tubing (US$6). There is a bar and grill on the property, as well as gift shops with an excellent array of books, crafts, and Jamaica-inspired clothing. There is also a swimming pool just below the falls.
A series of ziplines traverse over the falls (US$42 adults, US$20 children) and is operated by Chukka Caribbean Adventures. It is a rush, to say the least, and perhaps the most exhilarating of Chukka's three canopy tours in Jamaica.
The origin of the name "Y.S." is somewhat disputed: one version is that it comes from the Gaelic word "wyess," meaning winding and twisting. The second version is that it comes from the last names of the two men who ran the estate in 1684, John Yates and Richard Scott, who branded the cattle and hogshead of sugar with "Y.S." The 3,238-hectare property was bought out of bankruptcy from the list of Encumbered Estates in London by Simon's great uncle, John Browne, in 1887 for Â£4,000--without Browne ever having seen the estate. Some of the land was sold, leaving 809 hectares today where champion thoroughbred racehorses are bred and Pedigree Red Poll cattle graze the Guango tree\lined fields. Sugarcane production was discontinued in the 1960s.
The Y.S. River originates in Cockpit Country and is fed by many springs on its course to where it meets the Black River. A spring on the estate is the original source of water for the town of Black River, 13 kilometers downstream.