This was a day trip that we booked from our hotel reception and included a boat tour of the Black River--lunch at a beach bar and a trip to the Y.S. Falls.
We heard these were less touristy than the Dunn’s River Falls--and with other events, this was certainly the better value for our money. The whole day was planned in tour group fashion. The mini-bus picked us up from our hotel and drove along the south coast to the Black River, where we all got off and piled into a "Safari Empress" boat and began our river tour. The local guide was funny and full of amusing little stories, but the tour was like many similar ones where they take you looking for crocodiles and seem to know exactly where to look, yet pretend it’s a surprise when they find one.
It was fun though, and the guide had lots of knowledge of the local wildlife and surrounding areas. The river itself had a tropical feel, with trees and mangrove roots forming tunnels for the boats to go through.
After this, we all got back on the bus and traveled on to YS falls. The bus took us through Bamboo Avenue and past all the market stalls where locals sell fresh fish and the famous "hot pepper" seafood. These are made with very spicy scotch bonnet peppers bashed into the shrimp or crayfish. Our bus driver was very open to stop and let us buy stuff or take photos.
At YS Falls, we had plenty of time to walk around the area, which was really pretty, or walk the trails to the top of the Falls and swim in them. They were very cold, but it had to be done. There were signs saying "Swim at your own risk," but I never figured what the dangers could be, other than hypothermia! A few rope swings were strategically placed for kids to swing across and into the waterfalls. They were actually really pretty and not too full of tourists, as they had promised.
Finally, we stopped at a beach bar on the route back. The food was just so-so, but the beach it was on was deserted and had a wild, unkempt feeling to it, with loads of stray dogs wandering around. Doesn’t sound idyllic, but it was really beautiful and wild.
I think they really packed a lot of things into our day and made it great value for the $50. I am not a fan of organized tours, but they were more than willing to go off course and take diversions when you wanted.