I have always wanted to visit a maroon community and I got excited when my co-workers said the “weekend par on a budget” was to Nanny Falls in Portland. Out of all the 14 parishes in Jamaica, Portland is my all-time favourite. I also had the chance to live and attend school in Portland but that is a story for another time.
Nanny Falls is located in the hills of the Blue and John Crow Mountain. From the parish capital, Port Antonio, it took us about 15 to 20 minutes to get to Moore Town. We had a tour guide that came into the town to meet us and he drove with us so we wouldn’t get lost.
We actually had two tour guides; Andre and Deino but we were in contact with one of them from their Instagram page (@nannyfalls_tours).
BEFORE GOING TO NANNY FALLS
It is important to note that you cannot jump in your vehicle and go to Nanny Falls to explore without a tour guide. The laws of the maroon community clearly states that you must be accompanied by a maroon from the beginning to the end of your tour.
Visiting the falls is not free so we had to pay an entry fee. It was a group of us and as Jamaicans, you know we are always asking about our discounts, so we got one. We paid $700 JMD per person for the tour and we learnt a lot about maroon history.
MAROON TOWN & TRAIL TO NANNY FALLS
We got to Moore Town and we parked in front of a cemetery that is across from a bridge. We walked across the bridge and went to a community shop where we bought drinks and snacks for the tour. After getting drinks, we did a tour of the Moore Town Cultural Center (I think that is what it’s called) where Deino and Andre showed us some instruments on display.
When we left there, we went to the bump grave that is located across from a primary school. It is said that Nanny of the Maroon was buried a few feet away from the bump grave. They explained why it was there and not the spot she was buried but I cannot remember what exactly was said.
Our next stop was finally the falls but we had to hike for about 15 to 20 minutes to get there. On our way, Deino told us a lot about the maroon community but I can only remember that they only pay one bill – I think he said water bill (please don’t quote me on this). We also learnt about the hierarchy system within the maroon community. There were numerous fruit trees on the way but I forgot to take photos of them.
Finally! We arrived at the falls but honeeeyyyyyy! those steps to get down to the falls were “not it for me”. It is a concrete staircase that is slippery with moss and it goes down, literally. You have to be careful when going down to the falls and please wear proper shoes to avoid falling. Also, the staircase is rusty and it has little to no rails so that can be a bit scary. However, the falls is beautiful and the sound of the water alone was relaxing for me.
I am encouraging each and everyone of you to visit Nanny Falls for the experience. It is worth every sweat, hike and complaint of being tired.