Waterfalls in Jamaica | 10 Magical Falls to Explore
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by Kristin Young | Updated On: December 27, 2021 | Jamaica
There’s no doubt about Jamaica being a destination soaked in beauty. Its tropical climate, lush jungle landscapes, and insanely good snorkeling waters have gained this island international recognition. But it’s also the magnificent waterfalls that add to the wondrous charm of Jamaica.
Seeing the falls isn’t just about reaching the final destination. Rather, it’s about admiring the colorful and vibrant Jamaican landscape as you trek through the outdoors. Discover mineral-rich rock pools and towering cliffs as you make your way to see these magnificent cascades.
You’ll gain the experience of hiking amidst wildlife to explore waterfalls, making it even more memorable. Some of the falls are hidden secret gems; others are renowned around the world.
To get to these incredible waterfalls, you can choose to join a guided tour of the area or book a guide for you and your travel crew. Others may even choose to mission to the falls on their own, all as being part of the experience.
Find the most awe-inspiring Jamaica waterfalls in this post, as well as the essential items needed for an awesome trip to them.
JAMAICA WATERFALLS MAP
TOP WATERFALLS, JAMAICA
While Jamaica is usually associated with a tropical climate and crystal clear waters, the island also boasts incredible waterfalls. Some unlike any others in the world.
If venturing to crazy falls and trekking through the jungle landscape sounds like your kind of holiday, here are 10 of the best waterfalls in Jamaica.
Access: Street parking and a 10-minute walk
Fee: Entrance is $20, and visitors must travel with a guide who is tipped around $10.
Nearest Town: Ocho Rios
Blue Hole waterfall, also known as Island Gully Falls and Secret Paradise, is set in the pristine jungle setting and shows off invitingly crystal blue waters. The aquamarine waters are like a paradise swimming pool that’s quickly become one of Jamaica’s top natural attractions.
While the clear waters are incredible to swim in, the 20-foot waterfall is what the majority of the visitors come to marvel at. To reach the waterfall, you’ll embark on an adventure through the trees and on a dirt path, which you can walk barefoot.
The Blue Hole is made up of a series of small waterfalls and bodies of water, making it worth spending the entire day at. Although being a 25-minute drive from Ocho Rios, you’ll have the freedom to visit the falls throughout the day.
Dunn’s River Falls
Access: 1.5-hour hike to the falls
Fee: $25, excluding tour guide
Nearest Town: Ocho Rios
If you’ve based yourself in Ocho Rios, you’ll find that you’re in the perfect spot for endless visits to Dunn’s River Falls. The falls has earned itself international recognition for its length and beauty.
The waterfall cascades into the waters of the Caribbean, after arriving on the white shore beaches. As well as the beauty of the Caribbean, you can discover the glory of both the waterfall and the jungle that encapsulates it.
Journeying to Dunn’s River Falls is not only about seeing a spectacular waterfall. It offers the thrill of an amazing hike through nature, a chance to mingle with the locals, and please yourself with fantastic views.
A guide will also navigate you through the terrain and help make this 1.5 hour climb a walk in the park. By opting for a day trip tour from Ocho Rios, you can be picked up from your hotel to enjoy a day at Dunn’s with a local guide and river tour.
Access: Park at YS Estate and take a tractor ride to the falls
Nearest Town: Saint Elizabeth Parish
From the 1800s to the 1900s, the area surrounding the YS Falls was used for growing sugar cane. But since 1993, the space has been open to the public. YS Falls is now one of the most beloved falls by the locals and tourists alike.
With a visit to the park, guests can explore the surrounding area and lush greenery, hop into the natural springs water pools, and of course, marvel at the waterfall. Colorful blooms, majestic trees, and an array of wildlife can also be seen in the park.
The area features 7 waterfalls, but they are not all entirely accessible, given how rocky the terrain is. Still, they’re beautiful to gaze upon.
Once you’ve built up a gentle sweat from the Jamaican climate and wonderful walk, head to the designated swimming areas to cool off at. There are also grass fields that are perfect for lounging on with a picnic and a good book.
Turtle River Falls
Access: Parking and a walk around the park
Nearest Town: Ocho Rios
Turtle River Falls isn’t a single waterfall; it’s so much more of an adventure than that. Turtle River is situated in a 15-acre garden, and you’ll come across 14 different waterfalls that flow into the river.
At the end of many of the waterfalls, there’s the opportunity to splash around in the shallow waters. This is truly special because each of the falls is completely different, so you can always expect something new.
When you’re not galavanting from fall to fall, you can discover the rest of the park. There are magnificent lush gardens that are hidden amongst the trees. It’s recommended to get a guide; they’ll identify all the plant and flower species for you.
Before ending off your day in the area, be sure to spend an hour or two at the bird sanctuary that homes native birds. There’s also an incredible Koi pond that shows off a rainbow of colorful koi fish from Japan.
Access: Parking and a short walk
Nearest Town: Hillside
Reggae Falls is a little different from Jamaica’s usual waterfalls, purely because it’s a man-made structure. Still tucked away in nature, the 6-foot dam wall was constructed in the 1920s to supply water to the locals.
To get to the falls, you’ll need to prepare yourself with a little adventure off-the-beaten-path. It’s not clearly marked, and kind of a local secret. But fear not, the locals in the area are friendly, and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Visitors can dip into the cool waters below the fall, surrounded by vegetation. There are some small banks to rest on near the water as well. To reach the top of the waterfall, look out for the small steps near the dam wall.
Access: Parking and paved path
Nearest Town: Port Antonio
Reach Falls appears on every list that sums up the best falls in Jamaica, and deservingly so. The waters fall into a precious heart-shaped pool, which also creates a gentle, natural whirlpool.
And for everyone who loves the movie Cocktail as much as I do (yikes- am I showing my age?!), Reach Falls is where the famous waterfall scene between Tom Cruise and Elizabeth Shue was filmed!
Beneath the waterfalls, you can spot hidden small caves that have been carved out by the flowing waters. There’s even one big enough to climb in and out of.
But it’s not only the water that entices its visitors. By planning a trip to visit the falls, you’ll also set yourself up for a day of adventures and excitement. The journey to the cascades is one of the top highlights.
The falls are found in the ecological sanctuary in the Montane Forest. You’ll come across an array of plant species that make this jungle landscape so diverse. Spot colorful parrots nestled between trees and vines hanging from above.
Access: Parking and a challenging hike
Fee: Free, unless you opt for a (recommended) guide
Nearest Town: Saint Mary’s Parish
Tacky Falls is praised for being one of the least commercial waterfalls found in Jamaica. It’s not surrounded by souvenir shops, crowds of tourists, or food stalls. So feel free to completely immerse yourself in the outdoors.
Another thing that makes Tacky Falls great is that it’s a two-tiered fall. It cascades down the rocks and splits into two tiers, reaching around 200 feet.
The waterfall is quite magical. But because this enchanted fall is mostly untouched by humans, getting to the water is an exciting challenge. Come prepared with adequate hiking shoes and a sense of adventure.
Bushwack through the twisty turning paths, and you’ll reach the falls in around 40-minutes.
Fee: Free, unless you opt for a guided walk
Nearest Town: Moore Town
The Nanny Falls symbolizes an important part of Jamaican heritage. Queen Nanny was the Jamaican Maroons leader, who led slaves to their freedom through the trail that passes this exact waterfall.
A path will lead you around 10-minutes to the waterfall. During your trek through the jungle landscape, you might get lucky and come across a variety of fruit trees. Guavas, apples, and unfamiliar fruit mammee are the perfect snacks to fuel your mission.
Spring waters along the way provide fresh drinking water as well.
After your walk, you’ll be delighted to discover the large rock formations that hide the waterfall and rock pools. You can choose to lounge on the rocks, dip in the waters, or admire the natural beauty.
Access: Parking and a walk up the river
Fee: $20 and $7 for water shoes that can be rented
Nearest Town: Negril
Journey on a 60-minute drive from Negril and make your way to a series of astounding falls. The Mayfield Falls is made up of 21 small-scaled falls that flow into a part of the Cabarita River.
You won’t find any large waterfalls here. Instead, it’s a chance to embark on an excursion through the jungle and discover rock falls and formations along the way. It’s an extremely tranquil setting that makes for an excellent day outing.
Given that it’s not a rapidly flowing river, the falls aren’t incredibly powerful, and depending on the season, the terrain may change. This means that you’ll need to come with good shoes to prepare for the trail. And, of course, a bathing suit for taking dips in the shallow rock pools.
Access: Raft Ride and 30 minute hike
Nearest Town: Berrydale
A trip to Scatter Falls isn’t just about seeing a spectacular waterfall. It’s an adventure that combines hiking through the jungle, peaking through limestone caves, and spotting the wildlife that resides in the tall trees.
Finding the waterfall can be quite tricky, though. It’s recommended that you travel with a guide or a friend who’s at least been to the falls. But once you’ve found the towering waterfall, it would have made the hunt well worth it.
For those brave enough, why not try to ascend the falls? It makes for an epic photo opportunity. Taking an underwater camera along will make the photos even better.
And if that’s not your thing, you can always use the alternative path alongside the hill. It’ll lead you to the top of each of the four cascading falls.
During your trip, you’ll be treated with a rock pool that’s unlike most. The flowing water creates a massaging sensation as if you’ve immersed yourself in an outdoor jacuzzi. The mineral waters and clay is also super beneficial for the skin.
WHAT TO PACK FOR A JAMAICAN WATERFALL ADVENTURE
Packing for a day trip that involves waterfalls can be challenging at times. Most waterfalls require you to hike through the jungle and walk through rough terrain. And often, this isn’t exactly a party when you’ve got a heavy load of supplies.
When planning a waterfall excursion, there are a few things that are essential for a successful trip. After all, who wants to be soaked with no spare clothes? Or slip on rock faces because you thought sandals were the way to go.
In order to make your adventure run as smoothly as possible, you’ll find this list useful.
A Good Pair of Shoes
This is your top priority. Jamaica has a pleasant and warm climate, so it may be tempting to hike in a pair of summer shoes.
Your feet are arguably one of the most important features of our bodies. They deserve to be protected during treacherous journeys. Ensure you pick a shoe that protects your ankle and offers good support.
If you’ve got a travel appropriate GPS, that’ll be perfect for bringing along on your trip. However, this doesn’t have to be a GPS that uses technology. Maps of the area are NB for when you’re traveling in an unfamiliar place.
Protection For Insects and the Sun
Sunblock is an absolute essential for a Jamaica waterfall hike. Don’t be fooled by cloudy weather or shaded areas. The sun can always make an appearance near the waters.
Insect repellent is another goodie to pack along. Nothing is worse than pesky insects hovering around while you’re getting sweaty.
Hats and Sunglasses
Another form of protection against the sun. Sunglasses come in handy when you’re gazing at the crystal waters and trying to avoid the sun hitting your eyes. And when it comes to hats, it’s best to opt for one that offers adequate neck protection.
Reusable Water Bottle
The majority of the flowing waters in the jungles of Jamaica are freshwater. You can pack your bottle in your bag and refuel whenever you come across some flowing water. Just ensure that the waters aren’t used by the community for bathing or washing.
With a reusable bottle, you’ll always have water ready to quench your thirst.
The majority of plastic bottles take hundreds of years to biodegrade. With a reusable one, you’ll be doing your part to protect the environment.
Specialized water protection gear, like camping and hiking ponchos, are compact enough to fit in a small backpack. While the skies may be sunny, you could catch yourself being sprayed by the cascading water. Or the unexpected summer rain.
Rain protection gear is also effective at keeping your equipment and cameras safe.
A good day pack is just as important as any other one of your other backpacks. With the thrill of traveling to new cities and countries, having a small bag available makes day trips a breeze.
When you’re selecting a day pack, look out for ones that offer good back support and comfort. You’re going to be trekking through nature for possibly hours, so you’ll need something comfortable and able to store the essentials.
If possible, look out for a bag that has space to hold a water bottle on the side. That’ll make retrieving your bottle super easy, and you won’t be stuck unpacking an entire bag.
WHICH WATERFALL IN JAMAICA HAS ENTICED YOUR SENSE OF ADVENTURE?
Besides gorgeous beaches and friendly people, Jamaica has some of the most alluring waterfalls and magical rock formations. With most of these waterfalls being easily accessible, visitors from all over the world can enjoy their beauty.
If you’ve conjured up images of an unforgettable vacation in Jamaica, a trip to any one of these magical falls is all part of the adventure. And with all you need to pack already listed down for you, you don’t have to worry about being unprepared for the journey.