Konoko Falls, Ocho Rios, Jamaica – Trip Report, June 2015
Formerly known as Coyoba Gardens, hosting what was then called Mahoe Falls, the garden has been rebranded as Konoko Falls. Located in the hills above Ocho Rios with a fantastic view of the harbor, this spot is great for nature lovers, especially those who love nature photography. What makes Konoko Falls special is that it is small but packs a punch offering a waterfall, botanical gardens, tiny museum showcasing local history, aviary, two pools, two restaurants/cafes and two bars.
We visited Konoko Falls in June 2015. If you want the full story, read on. If you just want to know the main tips, scroll to the bottom.
We did the garden tour only as that was all we had time for. We thought of walking through the garden on our own, which is an option, but we decided to use the guides. There is no extra cost to use the guides but they expect to be tipped. It was well worth it to have the guides.
The layout of the property may cause you to end up with three different guides – one for the garden tour, the climb up the falls and the “Bird Man”. Our guide for the garden tour was Desmond. Great guy. He is there every day except Wednesdays and Sundays. The bird man was Kevin. He is off on Thursdays and Fridays. We did not climb the waterfall. Some reviews and their website refer to on-site photographers. There wasn’t one when we went, which was fine. We took our own photos and preferred to do that anyway. I did not get a hard sell from anyone. The guides did mention the tip but not in a way that made us uncomfortable.
Their mini-zoo is a work in progress. There were a few turtles. Ziggy, the friendly iguana, is from Curacao. At least they are honest that he is an immigrant. Iguanas are nearly extinct in Jamaica but a few were found in Hellshire in the South East and are being protected.
There is an aviary with parrots, turkeys, peacocks and other birds. The coolest thing was watching Darrian in the middle of the aviary with budgies all around him eating out of his hands and nibbling at his feet. They are very small birds so there was no worry of harm.
It was cloudy when we went; nevertheless, Ysassi’s Look Out Point still offered a postcard worthy view of Ocho Rios. This spot is named after Don Cristobal Arnaldo de Ysassi, the last Spanish Governor of Jamaica, who fought the British between about 1657 and 1660.
The length of the tour depends on how interested you are and whether you want to climb the falls. We were there maybe two hours. I love gardens plus I was trying to see which plants they had that we didn’t so maybe I was a little more interested than the more casual visitor.
The garden is small but chock full of interesting plants. They had an amazing collection of many different types of ginger lilies, which are so amazingly beautiful … shell, red, torch, cigar, and ice cream cone ginger, to name a few. It wasn’t until I smelled a crushed flower that I realized that ginger lilies are related to the ginger plant. Interestingly enough, in spite of the familiar scent, ginger lilies are not used in cooking.
We didn’t get the demonstration and tasting of jerk chicken that some people mentioned in Trip Advisor reviews. We also can’t say that it is not offered because we did not ask about it. We were much more focused on the beautiful garden.
The waterfall isn’t as dramatic as Dunn’s River but seemed just as nice. Per the guide, they do clean the rocks to make sure they are not slippery. I have been to Dunns River Falls several times and have never actually climbed it. I think I could be convinced to try climbing this one as it seems more manageable. Dunns River is about 600ft high. Konoko might be close to 150ft. From what the guide told me, there is a part of the falls where there is a small cave, which adds even more interest. The Milford River runs right through the property and creates interesting pools with koi and tilapia. The whole Konoko experience is much less commercialized than Dunns River, by far, which is refreshing. No pun intended.
SUMMARY: Konoko Falls, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Recommended and Darrian approved!
Just so you know …
- Bring water shoes with you if you intend to climb the Falls. You can buy them there but sizes may be limited. Don’t forget a swim suit and a towel if you plan on venturing in the water, either the Falls or the pools.
- If you plan on climbing the Falls, do that first so you dry off by the time you are finished with the garden tour.
- There are small lockers for rent if you need somewhere to put your things while you climb the Falls.
- There are about 200 steps alongside the Falls. You can choose to use these steps and not climb the falls. Be forewarned … the stairs are steep.
- When we went (June 2015) we were told that they don’t take credit cards. We paid in cash. Their website encourages online booking and payment by credit card. It is unclear what is correct.
- The road off the main road to get there is not the best and is very narrow.
- Signs to the Falls are not very clear. We came upon a sign where there was a fork in the road. The sign said Konoko Falls but had an arrow that appeared to point to the road to the right. We took that road and ended up at Shaw Park Gardens which is an adjacent or almost adjacent garden. Take the road that says Mahoe Falls.
- Despite what the sign may say, the correct entrance has the big wooden gate. We went to the second entrance which said Main Entrance and had to turn back and go to the first entrance with the big wooden gate. As it turns out, they are changing the entrance and the old sign hasn’t yet been taken down.
- As with any other major attraction, avoid the cruise ship crowds and or get there early. When we went, there were no cruise ships in port so we had the place almost to ourselves.
- There is a lot of walking involved with touring the garden. It is a small garden but has a lot to see. Wear comfortable shoes.
- Don’t forget your camera and or video camera. Great spot for photography!
- The museum is small and a little disjointed but they get points for the effort to put it together. They do have some artifacts that you won’t see elsewhere, outside of a major museum.
A visit to Konoko Falls is a great side trip to take while staying at Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Our van and driver service would be delighted to take you there. Since Konoko Falls already involves a waterfall, you probably wouldn’t want to do Dunns River Falls the same day, even though it is in the same direction. You could break things up a bit by combining Konoko with a trip to Mystic Mountain to enjoy the rides and ziplining, or Green Grotto to see the caves, or lounging at the beach. There are so many other options. We would be happy discuss your interests with you and help you pick the perfect complimentary excursion. Alternatively, you could do the gardens then come home to Mais Oui and enjoy all that the villa has to offer.
Have you visited Konoko? How was your experience? Let us know.
Til next time.
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