It's the top attraction of Ocho Rios, and maybe of Jamaica. Advertised as among the most famous falls in the world, we must be aware that it comes from the fun of climbing it, and not for its spectacularity.
There is no comparison for instance with Niagara or Iguaçu falls, but along its 180 meters there's always people laughing.
The water is cool (cold for Fernanda, but she risked to go), but you'll soon forget it.
The entrance for foreigners is US$15 but prepare tips for the guide, the guy that offers to carry your camera (and take pictures if you ask him), five dollars to rent the inevitable shoes, negociate a crazy film they will make with your group and... have fun
There is a stairway that goes through the rainforest all the way down to the end of the falls. At the bottom is where the climbing can start. Although, when taking the stairs back up, there are places to stop and frolic in the water. It's COLD!
Special shoes are needed to keep a grip on the river bottom - and the climbers go in tandem, in a human chain. There are always guides to take the climbers up to the top.
At the bottom there is also a lovely beach with plenty of sand for sunbathing and safe swimming.
There is also a craft market here and a picnic area so it is easily an all day place to visit.
So after you put your things in a locker you can start going out to the entrance of the river. You actually walk out to the beach then things got alittle confusing. I dont know if the entrance fee included a tour but we didnt buy any tour. The guides were telling us to hurry up and get together with the tour. We joined a group of about 12 other people. Our group was fun and quickly everyone makes friends and helps eachother go up the falls. Some parts are very slippery.
We stay with this group the whole way up. There are two guides, one in front and one in the back. They also take pictures of everyone and video in case you want to purchase it later. The video on CD is $40 USD.
After your first trip up you are on your own if you want to do it again.
I think for little kids it might be a little dangerous or stressful. Like I wouldnt take my five year old here but the 12 and 13 year olds would be fine. There is a little area where the younger kids can hang out with a parent but I wouldnt recommend the falls for them. They can also hang out at the beach.
This was one of the first trips we took while in Jamaica and it was great. It was a bit of a drive from Negril but we made a few stops along the way and did some sightseeing so it didnt seem too bad.
We were told to avod this place when the cruise ships come in because prices go up and it is incredibly packed with people. I dont know if we came on a day where there were no cruise ships but the majority of the people here appeared to be locals. There were some tourist but mostly locals I would say.
As soon as you go in you can store your belongings in a locker. You can bring your own water shoes or purchase them there. You will definitely need some because as you climb the waterfalls there are alot of rocks. I did fall a few times but it wasnt too bad. It was alot of fun and when you reach the top you can go back and start again.
The falls themselves are really very nice indeed. I went on a Sunday - significant because the cruise liners don't dock on Sundays - so it wasn't too crowded. Nor did I go with an organised tour so we had to pay for everything. I thought the entrance fee was quite high, but then there was the non-slip footwear (essential), the locker to store your stuff, the guide, the obligatory photo, the guide's tip, the photographer's tip and that was without buying any additional souvenirs in the craft village.
However I really did enjoy climbing up the Falls, sploshing around and chatting to some of the other visitors. The lush vegetation, the humidity and the rushing, cascading water really does give a tropical feel to the place and I'm glad I went to experience the Falls.
You go up from the beach - after having had your photo taken - no escaping!
Encouraged to hold hands to help you steady yourself it is good fun and I was surprised to find that most people managed it to the top. I'm glad I hired the non-slip shoes though. The rocks did feel quite slippery. You climb up the Falls at quite a leisurely pace and it didnt feel as though we were being forced up there too quickly. Once at the top you get changed and then walk back to your coach/bus/car/bike etc through the craft stalls not forgetting to buy your photo on the way.
When we tired of watching the falls we headed to the small beach at their foot. Admission to this beach is included in the cost of admission to the falls, and there is no other access to it, so consequently it was fairly quiet and quite pretty. I enjoyed cooling off in the pool at the foot of the falls and also had a swim in the sea. There is a cordoned-off area for the latter, to separate swimmers from the jet-skis that operate here. The water temperature in the sea varied greatly, from warm to quite chilly to warm again in the space of just a few strokes – I imagine that this is caused by the cold rushing water from the falls pouring into the much warmer sea water, but it made for an interesting swimming experience!
If you want to swim or to climb the falls there are a few wooden changing cubicles down near the beach, and others at the top of the falls to change in when you climb out – although the warm sun should dry you quite quickly. Other facilities include hair-braiding and ice-cream stalls (we had a lovely chocolate frozen yoghurt). Nearer the entrance is a cluster of food stalls where we bought some refreshing Red Stripe beers – there’s also jerk pork and chicken, patties and other snacks available.
Between the falls and this area is the infamous craft market – we had been warned through tips elsewhere on VT, as well as by Elise at the Blue House, that hassling was a real problem here, but we didn’t find it so. Perhaps the stall-holders are more laid-back on a Sunday (see photo 4 for a good example of laid-back!), perhaps they’d just had some good sales from other tourists (though it seemed fairly quiet that day) or perhaps our firm but friendly “We’re not shopping today thanks” was enough to deter them – whatever the reason, we had no problems at all.
Admission to the falls is US$15 per person (adults) and US$12 (children 2-12 years).
This is the best known, and arguably the most hyped, tourist attraction in the Ocho Rios area. However, the falls are well worth a visit and the development has thankfully failed to mask their attractiveness, despite what appear to be considerable efforts to do so!
The “done thing” here is to climb the falls. A group of tourists, usually bussed in from a cruise ship, lines up hand in hand at the base of the falls and is led up from ledge to ledge by an experienced guide. It can be slippery but is quite safe, providing you wear the rubber shoes that can be hired or bought (or take your own if you have them). We were in two minds whether to join a group for this activity however, and in the end decided against it – partly because I’m not the most agile of people, partly because Chris is not very keen on getting that wet, and partly because the cattle-train approach to shepherding people up the falls seemed somehow out of keeping with the beauty of our surroundings. So we contented ourselves with enjoying the various views of the falls from the wooden steps and platforms along the edge – and, I must confess, with laughing at the struggles of some of older ladies, in particular, who found it hard to stay on their feet in the swift current (see photo 2)!
The surrounding gardens are nicely maintained and the vegetation is lush; the overall effect is very pretty despite the commercialisation. As well as the falls themselves, the colourful tropical flowers and a very large spider (see photo 4) kept my camera clicking happily for some time.
Admission to the falls is US$15 per person (adults) and US$12 (children 2-12 years).
Continued in next tip
we did not buy the excusion from the cruise. And found out that the local tours all having fixed price on this, $8 per person for the transportation-round trip between terminal and the park, $15 park fee per person, ($12 for kid younger than 13), you may also need to buy or rent water shoes if you did not bring your own, and $5 for a locker.
overall, it is a bit much for just climbing the fall, but it is fun, also considering this is the only attraction in ocho rios.
This was the best part of our trip to Jamaica. You basically climb your back up a huge water fall that ends in the ocean. There are lots of little crevices and fun places to explore on your way up. Don't forget your swim suit and water socks!
Tip: Don't take the guide because they will make you go in one straight line one after another--just explore your own way up the falls; it's more fun that way!
Dunn's River Falls is beautiful! 10 of the 13 of us climbed it. Two of them were in their 60's. Everyone enjoyed it and they did use a guide and were thankful they had as it helped them navigate better. A tip was asked for and given at the end, but he really was very helpful and nice.
We were supposed to take a sunset cruise on a catamaran but it was booked for a wedding party. I have heard great things about it though!
The beach was very nice at Dunn's River and not too busy when we were there. This must have been an off season as at times we felt as if we were the only tourists except for a Thursday when a cruise ship pulled in.
Be warned as you leave the park, you must go through the craft stands. We were pressed for time and knew our driver was waiting, so we felt a bit bombarded by the crafts people. Again, there weren't many tourists there that day. They tried to "give" us a free gift and then tried to get money from us but when it wasn't what they thought it should be, they tried to get us to give them more. Finally, they could see our frustration and offered to take it back. If I had more time, I wouldn't have minded just talking with them and looking around, but just felt overwhelmed. Some of our group got out a bit before us and were able to find some nice souvenirs and good deals.
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