I always considered my general happy place to be by a river, so imagine my joy at the stunning Laughing Waters estuary – a meeting point of the river and the sea! This spot took me 4 years to cross off my original travel list , mostly because it is widely considered as a part of a private property popular for corporate events and weddings, therefore restricted from the general public. I was determined to find it after noticing an increase in leisure visits there by local residents … and happily, I did!
Laughing Waters Jamaica
Laughing Waters is possibly one of the most tranquil scenes I’ve visited. It’s frequently passed and overlooked by many (I was one of them), with probably no clue of the treasure just a short distance away. An oasis of calm near a lively city, hidden in plain sight by tree canopies. Steep, irregular ‘steps’ carved into a sandy slope create a path to the wonderland. A long wire and protruding tree roots along the sides are there to aid the uneven journey.
Laughing Waters River
The freshwater here is actually from the Roaring River, not to be confused with the community attraction near Negril. A grove of shady trees shelter the cascades, chirping birds glide just above the horizon. The river area has a few nature-made seats amongst the rocks to allow the stream to wash over your body. There are also a couple natural pools, shallow enough to stand in but also deep enough to jump into. Freshwater rushes over a series of stones and fallen tree trunks to mix with saltwater. Sand dunes peek above shallow pools on the beach connected to the sea. The point where the river spills over on the sands creates a dividing conveyor belt that runs into the sapphire blue. The middle area is where the water pathway of the river to the sea is most forceful, creating a natural water jet .
Laughing Waters Beach
I consider Laughing Waters to be a perfect place for both river and beach lovers! The shore stretch is kissed by gentle waves and backdropped by an eroding cliff face topped with trees. A stroll along the beach will reveal sunbleached tree trunks, sitting boulders, and even a shallow cave. Warm golden sands wrap around toes, brushed off by wave breakers and onshore pools. The scene here of the water spilling into the Caribbean Sea is somewhat similar to what you’d see from a boat ride to Dunn’s River from Dolphin Cove.
Laughing Waters’ sandy space is adequate for sizable crowds and activities like sports and picnics. Like any good day by a Jamaican water body, visitors sometimes bring jerk pans, coal stoves, and beverage selections to ‘run a boat’ by the water’s edge. The beach is relatively shallow for a decent distance from the shoreline. In the middle area, the chill of the river can be felt on the surface of the water but becomes warmer below. Depending on who you ask, the mix of temperatures caused by cool river water and warm sea water can be either a refreshing or weird feeling. If you’ve experienced this before, how does it feel in your opinion?
Laughing Waters Wedding & Event Venue
Laughing Waters gained some fame thanks to its feature in Dr. No, the 1st James Bond film, when Honey Ryder emerged from the sea singing. A few other natural Jamaican attractions have gained popularity from films, such as Blue Lagoon and Reach Falls in Portland, surely a testament to natural beauty. It’s a popular destination for beach weddings and private events. With so much space, gentle breeze and waves, plus a photo opportunity at just about every step, I’m sure this comes as no surprise. An astonishing scene with the wonder of waterfalls, balminess of the beach, and serenity of nature all in 1.
The property is managed by the government body Urban Development Corporation, with a residence reserved for state use on the known privatized area of the land; I’m honestly not sure of the status of the portion that I and other locals usually enjoy.
Upon leaving during a recent visit, police were in the process of denying access and re-fencing the entrance many locals like myself used. I can understand that if a group pays thousands of dollars to book an event at the venue exclusivity would be desired. It’s not a standard activity park along a public beach, and as far as I know now there is currently no standard way for the general public to enjoy this treasure outside of that.
What do you think about natural attractions like this being restricted only to those who can literally afford to use them?
Let me know in the comments.
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