Imagine you're in Jamaica, and you've just set foot on the most charming bamboo raft. You might have planned this for weeks and now you're anxious to discover where this incredible experience will take you. All you can see as you look ahead and to the sides of the raft is the lovely green vegetation that surrounds the river. The tour guide cracks some jokes, lightening the mood, and you feel as though he's an old friend you've known for years. The raft begins to glide down the river. You can't remember the last time you felt this much at peace. Cascaded in tranquility, you settle into a blissful state of joy, keeping an eye out for exotic animals along the way.
That in a nutshell is the Jamaica bamboo rafting adventure. If you want to try this excursion during your Jamaica vacation, you’re in just the right place. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about bamboo rafting in Jamaica including where these tours are available and why you should absolutely sign up for this adventure during your vacation!
Good to know: In terms of cost, a bamboo raft excursion in Jamaica will cost between $60 and $77 USD per person. The overall cost will depend on the location and the number of people you’re booking it for.
You can go bamboo rafting in Jamaica on the Martha Brae River in Trelawny, the Rio Grande in Portland, and the White River in Port Antonio.
While you'll have a few options in terms of location, the tour that takes you along the Martha Brae River is the most popular. The Martha Brae River is about 3 miles inland from Falmouth, 20 miles from Montego Bay, and 40 miles from Ocho Rios. Each bamboo raft along the Martha Brae River accommodates two people and this tour starts at around $77 USD per person.
At the White River, two adults are allowed on each bamboo raft and one small child. Much like on the Martha Brae, an experienced captain will take you up and down the river. River tubing is also available on the White River. There are areas with rapids that you may need to venture through with some tours along the White River. Along the White River route, there are bars to get drinks if you get thirsty. This tour starts at $60 USD per person.
The next option is the Rio Grande. This is one of the longest rivers in Jamaica which means the trip down the river is a bit longer here. Much like at the White River, two adults will be assigned to each bamboo raft and one small child. The tour here starts at “Rafters Rest” and can last 2 - 3 hours. The cost is about $65 USD per person.
Good to know: The best location to go river rafting in Jamaica depends on where you’ll be staying. Our list of the best areas to stay in Jamaica can help you decide.
The rafts used for the river rafting adventure in Jamaica are made almost entirely of bamboo held firmly together with metal wire. Each raft is around 30 feet (9m) long with a raised platform. On that platform, there’s a seat for two near the back of the raft. There are cushions as well, which makes the seating cozier. On this rafting adventure, you don't necessarily have to get wet as the rafts are quite stable, both for getting on and rafting down the river!
If you’ve never been on a bamboo river rafting tour before, you might not know what to expect during this experience in Jamaica. Depending on where you will be embarking on your river rafting tour, your experience may be different. Bamboo river rafting tours can be done alone or in a group. No matter who you decide to go with or where you decide to go, you can surely expect amazing scenery, excitement, and adventure.
Going a little deeper into the Martha Brae River experience — this tour begins at “Miss Martha's Herb Garden”. Within this garden, there's a variety of Jamaican herbs and spices and you can learn about their medicinal and healing properties. Next, you’ll board the raft from a concrete pier — a licensed dispatcher oversees the boarding process. There are around 85 licensed and experienced raft captains who will be able to share information with you about the general area and point out things you might not have seen otherwise along the route.
As part of the river rafting experience at the Martha Brae River, captains often speak about the “Legend of Martha Brae”. This legend involves a witch, Spanish settlers, and a hidden chest of gold! While the story is intriguing enough, you’ll have other high points that can include swimming in the river. Families will enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this adventure that happens against the backdrop of nearly untouched parts of Jamaica.
The ride down the Martha Brae is about 1 hour and covers over three miles. Along the way, you’ll get to see all types of plant and animal life. Overhead, you’ll see lots of colorful birds that are sure to grab your attention. At the end of the tour, you’ll arrive at the disembarkation area known as “Martha’s Rest”. Once you get there you can spend some time in the bar or lounge, or shop around in the souvenir shop. Restrooms are also available in this area.
Expert tip: Traveling to Jamaica for the first time? These Jamaica travel tips can help you figure out what to expect. You might also want to check out some of the interesting things Jamaica is known for.
Your bamboo river rafting adventure in Jamaica is just a quick booking away. There are quite a few excursions available in this category including standalone river rafting adventures and options that include more than one stop. Some of the best river rafting adventures in Jamaica include the rafting tour, swamp safari, and the self-drive Mini tour. The latter of these combines the river rafting tour with a ‘drive your own tour’ type of adventure.
Once you decide which tour you want to go on, the next step will be figuring out how to get there. Some tours include transportation to and from your accommodation. Generally, transportation for the river rafting adventure is included for guests who stay at all-inclusive Jamaica resorts like Beaches Resorts. You can either book your tours and excursions before you arrive in Jamaica or book them once you get there. For the more popular tours and excursions, you’ll want to book these well in advance. Some people prefer to wait until they get to their destination to book tours for the sake of flexibility (and more beach time!).
When you go bamboo rafting in Jamaica, there are a few items you should make sure to bring along with you:
● Solid shoes - Since the rafts are made of bamboo, this means the surfaces aren’t always completely flat. The rafts can also be a bit slippery. To stay safe, wear sturdy shoes with a good grip on the soles for your bamboo rafting trip.
● Camera - There will be lots of sights that you won’t want to forget during this tour so a camera or a phone to take pictures is always recommended. If possible, bring a waterproof camera. This is the safest option as this tour is around water.
● Bottles of water - The river rafting tour runs for around 1-2 hours. As such, staying hydrated is essential. To make sure you have water when you need it, you might want to bring along your own bottled water or purchase some before getting on your raft.
● Insect repellant - Bug spray will come in handy for most outdoor tours in Jamaica, especially for the river rafting adventure. Bringing some with you will help keep the bugs at bay.
● Swimsuit - Bringing a swimsuit to your river rafting tour is a good idea just in case you decide to take a swim along the way. This is completely optional though. There are areas where you will be able to change at the various river rafting locations in Jamaica.
● Towel - If you plan on getting wet, bring a towel along. You’re going to need to get dry before getting on the transportation to return to your resort.
Expert tip: Want to have some river rafting fun? The best time to go to Jamaica for this adventure is between mid-December to April. This is the peak season for travel to this island and there are usually lots of exciting activities happening during this time. Aside from river rafting, you can try some of these great Ocho Rios excursions.
Now that you know what bamboo rafting in Jamaica will entail, perhaps the only thing left to do is start planning your Jamaica vacation! Bamboo river rafting is one of the top things to do in Jamaica with kids, but even if you won't be traveling with kids, bamboo river rafting is still sure to be a memorable adventure.
If you’re not sure where to stay in Jamaica for your bamboo rafting adventure, look in the direction of Ocho Rios resorts and Negril resorts which offer a little something for everyone. Kids can enjoy the water parks and kids camps at these resorts while parents enjoy some time to themselves, lots of dining options, and even a spa!
Good to know: Not only is Jamaica a great place for families, but this island is also one of the most amazing getaways for couples. You’ll find beautiful beaches, luxurious all-inclusive resorts, and lots of exciting entertainment. Hands down, this is one of the most upbeat islands around!