Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica: What You Need to Know
Climbing this iconic 900-foot waterfall is one of the most popular activities in the whole country of Jamaica—for locals and tourists. There's no better way to experience the beauty of the country's nature and kindness of its' people. Here's a complete travel guide for everything you need to know before traveling to Dunn's River Falls.
Getting there/Entering the Park
Dunn's River Falls is located in Ocho Rios, in the northern coast of Jamaica, which is just under a 1.5 hour drive from Kingston and just over a 1.5 hour drive from Montego Bay. Most resorts will provide excursions to the falls, but check out this post for more information on renting a car and driving yourself in Jamaica. We actually tried going originally the day before, but the park had unexpectedly closed early, so if you're coming in from a city outside Ocho Rios, I definitely recommend calling before you leave!
Once you get to the gates, a parking attendant will guide you to the parking lot. After that, you'll have to get your temperature taken and wash your hands. Then, you'll be able to purchase your tickets, which are $25 for adults (~$3,500 Jamaican Dollars) and $17 for children ages 4-12 (~$2,400 Jamaican Dollars). These tickets are good for the entire park, not just the falls, so you'll be able to enjoy the water park, gardens, food stalls, market and beach.
Hiking the Waterfall
I'm not afraid of heights, but when I saw this in person, I though "nope, no way, I will die if I try to climb this." Well, lucky for all of us, your entrance fee includes a guide to climbing the waterfall, and since there was practically no one at the park when we went, we basically got a private tour.
Your guide will wear a face shield throughout the climb, and trust me, it's not as slippery as it looks, but still, bring sneakers/water shoes, and prepared to get wet!
You can rent a locker to put your things in, but I brought a tiny bag (see this post for how to pack in Jamaica) along with me on the journey. Our guide was actually kind enough to hold my bag the entire way up because it was so small. He also held my phone the whole time (trust them), and he took pictures/videos of the whole thing!
It's customary to tip your guide at the end but not required. I tipped well because of our "private tour."
Though seemingly difficult, I promise this climb is much easier than it looks. It's not slippery, and the guide will show you exactly where to step so you don't fall. Plus, where else in the world will you be able to climb such a tall waterfall?
There are natural pools, water slides and steps along the falls, so be ready for it all! If I have one piece of advice, it's to slow down and enjoy the scenery because it goes by quicker than expected!
There's a reason Dunn's River Falls makes everyone's Jamaica travel itinerary, it's popular for a reason, so be to add it to yours.