As its name suggests, Pretty Close 876 is not far off the beaten path. It is a refreshing oasis in the hills of Kingston & St. Andrew that contrasts the fast pace of the nearby city. The cool waters of natural pools provide relief for Kingston Jamaica’s characteristic heat. Its rustic, eco-friendly ambiance was brought to life by Omar ‘Ramo’ Edwards, a local Rastafarian who curated this idyllic chill out spot on land that has been in his family for generations. Continue reading to learn what to expect once you step through its bamboo doors and just how easy it is to find Pretty Close from Kingston city.
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- Pretty Close: River Oasis in Kingston, Jamaica
Pretty Close: River Oasis in Kingston, Jamaica
Pretty Close is a quiet, family-friendly environment with serene streams and hearty done-to-order meals. It includes natural freshwater pools and 4 notable waterfalls along the Flora River. The space is curated with structures mostly handcrafted from stone and wood. It is a comfortable place for some rest and relaxation, adorned with gazebos, hammocks and an outdoor kitchen plus conveniences of a dining area, a bar and restrooms. The riverside terrace of Pretty Close is the established base on the way to a handful of cool cascades. Intimate sizes of each area require reservations to maintain the tranquility of the venue; it is not a weekend river spot where you should expect loud environs and overcrowding.
By the way, before you continue…
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Pretty Close Kingston Waterfalls
The moderate hiking trails to nearby waterfalls are roughly 10 minutes from the home base. With some help from signs, treated trails, and optional company of a human or dog guide, patrons may venture to these hidden Kingston waterfalls named by Ramo. Though the hillside terrain create some challenges getting to these natural gems, amendments such as ropes and carved steps make the journeys simpler. Until more developments are added patrons can assess each routes and decide themselves which trek(s) to embark on.
Orchid Falls at Pretty Close
With the exception of the small swimming spot by the entrance, this is the easiest waterfall of the lot to find. Orchid Falls is a tall cascade tucked beyond fruit trees. The pool that it pours into is fairly shallow, waist deep on average.
Governor Falls at Pretty Close
Water streams pour over boulders into a small rock pool. The water level can get shoulder deep or above here, depending on the season. This oasis is found within what looks like a now-dry river bed, sitting within a stony valley. Its rock walls create a pool pocket that allow it to comfortably accommodate about 4 adults at a time.
Fern Fever Falls at Pretty Close
Reaching this waterfall will require getting wet first. It’s a cascade that has visibly smoothed stone over time to create a course which pours into a swimming hole. Out of caution I didn’t carry my devices when venturing here so unfortunately didn’t capture any of my own photos. Its untouched beauty speaks to how infrequently this spot is probably accessed.
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Lion Falls at Pretty Close
This is the largest and hardest to get to of the 4 mentioned hidden waterfalls. A grand finale, towering cascade whose rock face reminds me of a hidden waterfall in Stony Hill. It is mostly knee-deep, with a powerful raining shower overhead. Lion Falls calls for some extra upper body strength and heart-of-a-lion perseverance when compared to the others, neither of which I possessed at the time.
A narrow slope marked with a climbing rope at the side of Orchid Falls leads to what seems like the top, which is also the starting point of your journey to Lion Falls. A knotted rope clung to sturdy tree roots to provide support to ascend the angled dirt path, to reveal another knotted rope. The 2nd rope aids the vertical rock climb against a smaller gushing cascade to get to the big attraction above.
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Pretty Close Riverside Dining
You may visit Pretty Close 876 for the waterfalls, but the food here is also a good reason to hang around. Pretty Close offers ital meals in true Rastafarian style, serving vegetarian and fish options free of added preservatives and salt. Its riverside dining takes place beside a mini waterfall, which doubles as a soothing backdrop as much as it does a worthwhile swim area. Enjoying nutritious food in the open air by a river somehow makes it taste better, especially fish [according to my personal theory and best seafood meal experiences]. Couple this with the fact that the meals are also prepared al fresco using wood fire and coal stove cooking― all theorized factors for a better-tasting Jamaican meal. The outdoor kitchen has everything prepared freshly within view of the various sitting areas.
How to Find Pretty Close 876
The tucked away attraction is located in Gordon Town, about 10 mins from the bustling Papine Square. Its pocket of nature sits at the end of Enfield Road, which is lined by private hillside residences overlooking the river.
• Take the 1st exit at the Papine Square roundabout, leading to the Blue Mountains.
• Follow the road until you reach a fork (adorned with multiple signs); the right takes you to Gordon Town.
• Upon reaching the Gordon Town Square a statue of beloved Jamaican literary icon and community native, Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverley stands tall in the centre.
• Continue straight past the statue until you pass a small bridge and Enfield Road sign.
It is a private road with limited parking spots. Upon making your reservation to visit Pretty Close, you’ll be instructed where to park before walking the asphalt to the entrance gate. At the time of this article Enfield Road wasn’t listed on Google Maps however Pretty Close was, and the pinned location was fairly accurate.
This river attraction is still very much a work in progress; I’m excited to see its continued developments! If you’re in Kingston & St. Andrew craving a refreshing relief from high temperatures and haste, you have a simple option― Pretty Close. If interested in swimming by its hidden waterfalls and outdoor dining just outside the city, reservations can be made. In the echoing words of the welcoming hosts, “We’re not far”.