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12 Best Waterfalls in Jamaica

Written by Anietra Hamper
Jan 27, 2020

Few things are more stunning than tropical Caribbean waterfalls like the elegant cascades in Jamaica. Some falls like the Blue Hole and Dunn's River Falls have earned international fame for their beauty and are two of the most popular waterfalls on the island. There are others, though, that are more subdued and tucked away in the jungles of the Blue Mountains that are worth the hike to experience and photograph.

The accent of the lush Jamaican landscape adds to the stunning beauty of the waterfalls throughout the island. Some are worthy of photographs, and others are best enjoyed by going for a swim in the pools below the towering cliffs. The other reason Jamaican waterfalls are so magnificent is the intense flow of water - the result of plentiful rainfall.

Some waterfalls require hiking to get to them or guidance by the locals, and others are located in parks and are easier to find. You should be aware that some waterfalls may require an entrance fee. Find the most beautiful ones with our list of the best waterfalls in Jamaica.

1. Dunn's River Falls

Dunn's River Falls

If your Jamaican vacation takes you to Ocho Rios, you should place Dunn's River Falls at the top of your must-see list. It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Jamaica, located in the Dunn's River Falls State Park. At 54 meters high, it cascades for about 182 meters and looks like a staircase that empties into the Caribbean. At the bottom of the falls are a number of small lagoons.

Besides capturing great photos of the waterfall, it is a popular tourist activity to also climb the falls. It is best to traverse the falls with a local guide who can navigate you around the uneven terrain for the 1.5-hour climb. For those who just want to admire Dunn's River Falls and stay dry, you can walk alongside it on the stairways. The best option is to do a Dunn's River Falls and Blue Hole combo tour from Ocho Rios. This four-hour excursion includes pickup and drop-off from your hotel or cruise ship port.

If you visit Dunn's River Falls, it is worth taking a little more time to stop by the nearby natural Little Dunn's River Falls.

2. Blue Hole

The Blue Hole

One of the most famous waterfalls in Jamaica, and for good reason, is the Blue Hole waterfall near Ocho Rios. The locals often refer to it by several names, including Island Gully, Cool Blue Hole, or Secret Falls. While Jamaica is surrounded by the Blue Mountains, the Blue Hole actually gets its name for the intense deep blue shade of the water. Though the Blue Hole is well-known, it is still relatively uncommercial.

During your visit to the Blue Hole, you can swim or even dive into the water or take a guided tour. If you plan to swim, look for the Tarzan rope that lets you swing far out over the water before taking the plunge. If you feel like being more of a spectator, you can relax on one of the nearby bamboo benches and watch others enjoy the forested swimming hole.

The Blue Hole is located about 20 minutes from Ocho Rios. If you walk around the area, you will see several smaller waterfalls feeding into the Blue Hole.

3. Reach Falls

Reach Falls

The area around Reach Falls near Port Antonio is an ecologically stunning experience. The falls is secluded in the Montane Forest and surrounded by many species of ferns and an abundance of wildlife like parrots.

The waterfall cascades into a heart-shaped pool, which is a romantic spot for couples. Reach Falls is the epitome of a tropical waterfall that cascades down the side of the rock face. If Reach Falls seems familiar it is because the waterfall has been the backdrop featured in several movies, including Lord of the Flies.

You might want to take a tour of the falls with a local guide who can tell you about the history of the falls and point out other areas around it like hidden caves.

4. YS Falls

YS Falls

The YS Falls located near Saint Elizabeth Parish in Jamaica is more of a waterfall attraction than a natural waterfall. It is located on a local estate that has a cattle and horse farm. There are seven waterfalls that make up YS Falls that all flow into pools.

While visitors can get into the pools, it is advised that only those who can swim wade into the water. There are other natural spring pools in the area that are more suitable for children and for those who cannot swim.

It is easy to make a day-long adventure to YS Falls because there are other things to do in the area. Besides the tractor ride back to the falls and relaxing by the water, you can also take canopy tours that launch you from the top of the falls to the bottom for a different perspective.

There are concessions near the falls and a gift shop that sells locally made items. A purchased ticket is required to see YS Falls.

Official site: https://ysfalls.com/

5. Mayfield Falls

Mayfield Falls

A natural valley in Westmoreland, Jamaica is where Mayfield Falls is flowing. It is a natural paradise that is ideal for those who want to get away from the touristy areas and experience some of the true natural beauty of the island. What makes Mayfield Falls spectacular is the numerous cascading waterfalls of varying sizes. The most popular is the "Washing Machine," which is over three meters high.

Around the waterfall are 21 natural swimming pools and natural jacuzzis, which are fun to experience if you have never been in them before. Be aware that the pressure of the water can be intense, so make sure that your bathing suit has staying power as you frolic beneath the falls.

You might want to hire a guide for your visit to Mayfield Falls. A guide can point out the best places to swim, identify fern species in the mountain, and point out an underwater cave. There is a fee to get into the Mayfield Falls waterfall. Lockers and water shoe rentals are available.

6. Somerset Falls

Somerset Falls in Portland Parish, Jamaica

The tranquil nature of Somerset Falls in Portland Parish not far from Port Antonio is what makes it stand out from other waterfalls in Jamaica. The falls flows out of the Daniels River and into a gorge below. The pool beneath the falls is nice for swimming.

Somerset Falls is a great waterfall to visit if you want to see a natural waterfall but do not want to trek far into the rain forest to find one. This one is located just a short walk down a path.

Surrounding the falls is a lush jungle with colorful birds and flowers. Pack a picnic and enjoy the afternoon at one of the tables alongside the waterfall. You can explore the area on your own or hire a local guide to help make the most of your visit.

You can take a nice gondola ride from Somerset Falls to see other nearby waterfalls like Hidden Falls. An admission fee allows you to visit both waterfalls and includes the boat ride.

7. Konoko Falls

Konoko Falls

The Konoko Falls waterfall in Ocho Rios is more touristy than other waterfalls in the jungle because it is located inside the Konoko Falls and Gardens. You can take a guided tour through the park to learn about the original inhabitants on the island and local flora and fauna. When you get to Konoko Falls, a guide will help you climb to the top by way of several levels of the falls where you will feel the water.

You can swim at the top of the falls in a pool and repeat the climb as often as you like. Proper water shoes are a must for this waterfall, as the terrain is slippery. Be sure to keep an eye out for the colorful birds that live in the park.

Admission is required for Konoko Falls and Gardens, but you can spend a full day here to enjoy a number of activities that are available.

8. Turtle River Falls

Turtle River Falls | keatssycamore / photo modified

The impressive Turtle River Falls is located in a 15-acre garden that makes for a nice day outside. The falls itself is actually 14 different waterfalls sourced from the Turtle River in the Turtle River Falls and Gardens park. The waterfall has a nice natural pool, where you can swim surrounded by lush tropical gardens.

The park is located in Ocho Rios, and you can spend a full day enjoying the Turtle River Falls waterfall and walking the rest of the park. Be sure to spend some time in the aviary on the property, which has many native birds, and visit the Japanese Koi Pond before or after your excursion to the waterfall.

9. Reggae Falls

Reggae Falls near St. Thomas

The hidden location of Reggae Falls near St. Thomas means you will need to ask a local to point you in the right direction. If you are up for a little adventure, the effort to get to Reggae Falls will be part of the experience. The little tucked away falls is a natural treasure and a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy a picnic. The small waterfall has steps to the top that may be obscured by vegetation.

Reggae Falls is a favorite spot for locals, especially on the weekends. It is a nice excursion if you want to mingle with the locals and see some natural beauty beyond the more popular tourist spots. The locals believe that some of the water in a section of Reggae Falls has healing properties.

10. Kwame Falls

Kwame Falls

One of the best waterfalls away from the main tourist spots is Kwame Falls in St. Mary, Jamaica. It is outside of Ocho Rios and ideal for those who enjoy the outdoors and a short hike to the waterfall. Kwame Falls is a beautiful waterfall near Robin's Bay. You will want to enlist the guidance of a local to point you to the exact spot or hire a guide to take you here.

The waterfall is tranquil and scenic. The paths to get to the waterfall are not too difficult, and the landscape is tropical, making you feel as if you are on your own private island. There is a deep pool, ideal for swimming at the bottom of the falls but non-swimmers should not attempt it beyond the wading area. Pack a picnic lunch with you to enjoy by the water before hiking back out of the area.

11. Roselle Falls

Roselle Falls

One of the most quaint and unique waterfalls in Jamaica worth visiting is Roselle Falls. What makes it special is that it is a small roadside waterfall that used to be a popular place for locals to bathe. Now, it is just a peaceful little natural waterfall that also provides views of the ocean.

Roselle Falls is near a beachside area in Morant Bay near St. Thomas. Many of the local shops and restaurants were destroyed by Hurricane Dean in 2007. The small Roselle Falls waterfall dried up for a time but it is flowing again and is a worthwhile stop on your Jamaican waterfall checklist.

12. Tacky Falls

One of the most natural waterfalls in Jamaica is Tacky Falls, located near Saint Mary's Parish about 40 minutes from Robin's Bay. It is secluded and untouched, which makes it a lovely place to visit. It does take a bit of a hike to get to Tacky Falls along a steep trail. Only those who are up for the trek and have sturdy footwear should try it.

Tacky Falls has several tiers of water along a rock face about 30 meters high. You may want to enlist the help of a local to guide you to the falls. This waterfall is an observation-only falls, which means that you cannot climb up it.

Be advised that there are no restroom or concession facilities, and you are in purely natural surroundings.

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Exploring Jamaica: Besides the great waterfalls you will want to enjoy some of the top attractions in Jamaica during your vacation, like the Blue Mountains and Port Antonio. Enjoy some sand and sunshine on the beaches and be sure to explore some of the great beach towns, like Ocho Rios, Negril, and Montego Bay. If you are just starting your vacation planning be sure to utilize our resources on the best time to visit Jamaica.

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