Experience The Magic Of The Dunn’s River Falls On Your Jamaica Getaway


Cover image credit: bypty/Shutterstock.com

Saying that Dunn’s River Falls is a popular attraction in Jamaica is a bit of an understatement. Over the years, this attraction has worked its way onto the list of things you probably don’t want to leave Jamaica without seeing. In fact, if you return home without a photo at Dunn’s River Falls, did you even go to Jamaica at all?

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica

Photo credit: gmeland/Shutterstock.com

On a more serious note, Dunn’s River Falls is definitely one of those places you can absolutely enjoy with your kids and family. A half or full day at this attraction near Ocho Rios can be spent climbing the falls, hiking, bathing in natural pools, and even relaxing on Dunn’s River Falls Beach. As your exploration of Dunn’s River Falls begins, you’ll find out details like the fact that the falls were once called “Las Chorreras” by the Spaniards, and that it is one of the only travertine waterfalls in the world. You’ll also get better acquainted with the 180ft high falls and the many natural pools in the area.

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the Dunn’s River Falls climb, what to expect, and why so many people even climb the falls in the first place.


What to expect when climbing Dunn’s River Falls

The view from the summit of Dunn's River Falls is simply amazing! This is why so many people go out of their way to have this experience while in Jamaica. If you want to climb Dunn’s River Falls, you’ll first need to decide whether you want to do the wet climb or the dry climb.

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica Climbing

Photo credit: Lost Mountain Studio/Shutterstock.com

While the wet climb takes you directly through the falls and toward the summit, the dry climb will lead you along the falls to a spot near the summit. If you’re trying to decide which to try while at the Dunn’s River Falls, here's some information that might help:

Wet climb at Dunn’s River Falls

First off, you’ll need a guide to embark on the wet climb and this is the only way to get to the summit of Dunn’s River Falls. As you make your way to the top during the wet climb, the tour guide will provide guidance on the best path to take and where to step to avoid slipping. Sometimes along the way on the wet climb people who’re climbing will hold hands and make their way up and down the falls. This human chain is a Dunn’s River Falls tradition, and it is more likely to happen on days when the falls are more crowded.

Good to know: If you’ll be doing the wet climb, you should bring a swimsuit or quick-dry clothing and anti-slip sneakers or water shoes.


Dry climb at Dunn’s River Falls

Much like the wet climb, you’ll also have to get a guide for the dry climb at Dunn's River Falls. You should bring or wear suitable sneakers and lightweight clothing. These will help keep you cool and comfortable as you make your way to the furthest point of the dry climb. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes (sometimes less) to get to the end of this hike. As you walk along the path, you’ll be able to use the built-in handrails if you need help to steady yourself. Even on the dry climb, there are areas where you can dip into natural pools as you ascend.

Good to know: The climbs at Dunn’s River Falls are not recommended for pregnant women, people with heart conditions or high blood pressure, anyone with back, knee, or neck problems, people with significant physical ailments or other conditions (eg. respiratory issues, recent hand or arm surgery), those with diabetes or other health problems that may make them more vulnerable to injury, those under the influence of alcohol or drugs or those under three feet tall.


Other things to do at Dunn's River Falls

You can do much more than just climbing the falls at Dunn's River Falls. If you want a more relaxed experience or just something else to do once you’ve made your way to the top, there are lots of other activities nearby to keep entertained at this Jamaican national treasure!

Dunns River Falls Beach Ocho Rios Jamaica

Photo credit: Atomazul/Shutterstock.com


The Central Gardens

The Central Gardens at Dunn’s River Falls is a totally kid-friendly zone complete with a splash pad, waterslides, and three lush gardens. As you look around, you’ll see water spouting up from the ground, a series of colorful, overflowing water buckets, and lots of other mists and water jets that kids can play around in. This space within the Dunn’s River Falls area is perfect for children of all ages. There are also a few kiosks in this area where you can purchase Dunn’s River Falls merchandise to keep for yourself or to gift as souvenirs. You'll find a photo shop, ice cream and pizza shops, and other conveniences nearby.

Shop at the Craft Market

A trip to the Caribbean calls for some cool crafts to take home, especially if you visit Dunn’s River Falls. There are many craft markets around Ocho Rios, but the one at Dunn's River Falls Park is one of the best thanks to the variety and quality of souvenirs you can find. Have fun first, shop around later, or in whichever order suits your mood!

Dunn’s River Falls Beach

When visiting Dunn’s River Falls Beach, you just might be able to spot some of the areas where the falls empty out into the sea. If not, you'll still have an amazing beach day that can include a fun stroll, sunbathing, swimming, and admiring the views of the falls from the beach. Beach access is included in the price you’ll pay to access the falls, so you can stay on the beach for as long as the falls remain open. While out near the shore, you’ll find lots of photo-friendly locations with backdrops of tropical flora including bamboo, ferns, crotons, orchids, ginger lilies, palm trees, and more.

Expert tip: Want to find the best places to stay in Jamaica? There are lots of options including Ocho Rios resorts and Negril resorts, which are located near the best beaches in Jamaica.


Enjoy local food at the Falls

Trying the cuisine is a large part of the experience when visiting Jamaica. The Dunn’s River Falls gives you a chance to experience the best Jamaican food and drinks firsthand. There’s a cafeteria at the falls where you can have an authentically Jamaican culinary experience that includes island favorites like jerk chicken, pork, fish, and a range of snacks. If you’ll be going to the falls with friends or family, you can even pack a picnic lunch and use the grills that are located at various points in the park to get lunch ready together!

Ride the zip line

A little zip line adventure sure won't hurt during a visit to Dunn's River Falls! This is an activity both older kids and parents can enjoy because it provides the opportunity to see the falls from a whole new perspective. The zip line at Dunn’s River, called the Falls Flyer, will allow you to soar high above the falls between the trees and feel the rush of pure exhilaration as you glide along. You might even spot some of the climbers making their way up the falls along the way! It'll cost more to add the zip line adventure to your Dunn's River Falls package — about $39 USD for a half ride, or $49 USD for a full ride.

Expert tip: If you and your family are interested in visiting more waterfalls, you can also visit Konoko Falls in Jamaica. There are also other amazing things to do in Jamaica with kids like spending time at a Caribbean waterpark resort.


How to get to Dunn’s River Falls?



Dunn’s River Falls is on the north coast of Jamaica, not too far from Ocho Rios. It takes just five minutes to get to Dunn’s River Falls from Ocho Rios by car, or you can arrive at Dunn’s River Falls by water from Beaches Ocho Rios, Sandals Ochi, or Sandals Royal Plantation.

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica Tour

Photo credit: Jan Schneckenhaus/Shutterstock.com

It takes a bit longer to get to the falls from other parts of Jamaica. For example, it’ll take a 1 hour and 10-minute drive to get there from Falmouth, 1 hour and 45 minutes from Montego Bay, and 3 hours to get to Dunn’s River Falls from Negril. If you’ll be staying in Negril, you can book your Dunn’s River Falls tours through Beaches Negril. Using this method, you’ll dock in Ocho Rios via a cruise, and it'll take around 10 minutes to drive from the port to Dunn's River Falls.

To get to Dunn’s River Falls, you can take a taxi, drive yourself via a car rental, get there by boat, or take a tour like the Dunn's River Falls Experience. When taking a tour, transfers and entrance fees are usually included, but if you decide on any other option, you’ll need to pay the regular admission price listed below:

● $25 USD Non-resident adult (or JMD equivalent)
● $17 USD Non-resident child (or JMD equivalent)
● $1000 JMD per Resident adult
● $500 JMD per Resident child

Good to know: All tickets for Dunn’s River Falls include a tour guide. You’ll need a guide to climb the falls, so that will come in handy. You can purchase your tickets with USD, local Jamaican dollars (JMD), or with a credit card once you get to the falls.


The best time to visit Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn's River Falls is one of the most visited attractions in Jamaica and can sometimes get crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit Dunn’s River Falls is either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. In terms of the weather, sunny days are best for the falls, but overall, the water temperature remains pretty consistent year-round. On hotter days, the water does tend to feel a bit warmer, but still absolutely refreshing.

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica Bottom View

Photo credit: Joseph Thomas Photography/Shutterstock.com

Check the Ocho Rios cruise ship port schedule, if you can, and plan your visit on days when there are few or no cruise ships in port if you want to avoid crowds. Wednesdays tend to be busy cruise ship days, in general. Saturdays and Sundays are both good days to visit the falls, but they tend to be a bit busy with the local crowds.

If you want to find out the best days before booking your tickets, you can ask your tour operator for more information. Keep in mind that Dunn’s River Falls opens from Monday to Sunday, from 8 am until 4 pm on non-cruise ship days and from 7 am to 4 pm on cruise ship days.

Expert tip: If you plan on going to Dunn’s River Falls in the afternoon, be sure to give yourself enough time to climb the falls (about 1 hour and 30 minutes) before the site closes!


What to pack for your visit to Dunn’s River Falls

If you’ll be going to the Dunn’s River Falls, there are a few things you’ll need to bring along. Some of the basic items you’ll want to pack include extra clothes, a towel, and a camera (a waterproof camera or pouch would be ideal!). There are locker rooms at Dunn’s River Falls that you can rent out -- these cost $10 USD to rent, and you get $5 USD of that money back once you collect your items and return the keys. Here’s a more detailed list of everything you might want to take along on your trip to Dinn’s River Falls:

Swimwear - comfortable swimwear is ideal if you plan on getting into the water
Water shoes - these come in handy for the wet climb and for getting into the natural pools. If you don't have your own water shoes, you can rent some when you arrive at Dunn’s River Falls. However, it is best to buy these ahead of your trip as it can cost the same price to rent them in Jamaica as it would cost to buy your own!
Money for the entrance fee (if not already covered), food, water, and tips for your guide (these are not mandatory)
Change of clothes - keep these safe and dry in your locker at the falls so you can change into them once you’re done exploring
Camera - if you don’t have a waterproof camera, you can use the services of the photographer at the falls. You’ll be able to purchase your photos for a small fee! The photoshop is located at Central Gardens in Dunn’s River Falls.


FAQ’s about Dunn’s River Falls

If you’ve got a burning question about Dunn’s River Falls, and need a quick answer, these frequently asked questions might help to summarize things!

How much does it cost to go to Dunns River Falls?

It’ll cost around $25 USD per person for non-national adults (ages 12 and older) to access Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica. If you’ll be traveling with kids, you’ll appreciate that children pay slightly less to get into the falls — $17 USD each for kids aged 3-11. For Jamaican residents, access to Dunn’s River Falls costs around $1000 JMD per person for ages 12 and up, and $500 JMD for children aged 3-11.

Why is Dunn's River Falls famous?

Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica's most popular attractions, and with good reason. Not only is this attraction simply mesmerizing to look at, but it is also packed with historical value as well. The “Las Chorreras” battle was fought here between in Spanish and the English in 1657, as both groups fought for ownership of this island. In English, “Las Chorreras” literally translates to “The Waterfalls” or “The Springs”.

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica Tourists

Photo credit: Yingna Cai/Shutterstock.com

Along with its historical significance, Dunn’s River Falls has cinematic value as well. The falls are featured in the James Bond Movie, “Dr. No”. It has been reported that the author of the James Bond novels, Ian Fleming, fell in love with this island during a naval meeting. From that time, Fleming visited the island often and stayed at a property he owned there to escape cold winters!

How long does it take to climb Dunn's River Falls?

It can take between 35 minutes and 1 hour and 30 minutes to climb Dunn’s River Falls. The time it takes can depend on whether you want a leisurely climb or to finish in the quickest possible time. It'll also make a difference whether you do the wet or dry climb, and how busy the falls are. Keep in mind that there’s no rush to get to the top. You’ll have plenty of scenery to admire along the way!

How difficult is it to climb Dunn’s River Falls?

Climbing Dunn’s River Falls can be challenging, but it is not overly difficult. Climbing the falls is one of the highlights of a Dunn’s River Falls experience, so you should definitely give it a try if you are in a position to do so. The fact that you’ll be climbing with a guide makes the task a little easier because your guide can help you get up the falls in the safest possible way.


Dunn’s River Falls is the ultimate Jamaica experience

There are lots of things to do in Ocho Rios and visiting Dunn’s River Falls is one of the best. A tour to this location involves more than just admiring the scenery, but really getting into the experience with opportunities to climb and explore the falls. If you want to visit Dunn’s River Falls, it's a good idea to stay at one of the Jamaica resorts that can help you organize this and other Ocho Rios excursions.

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica Detail

Photo credit: Julie Fine/Shutterstock.com

At Beaches all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, you’ll be free to enjoy the best attractions in Jamaica while indulging in unlimited food and drinks, day and night entertainment, a waterpark, land and watersports, and awesome family-friendly shows and other activities. All these quality and kid-friendly inclusions are sure to be a vacation highlight, much like your Dunn’s River Falls tour!

Expert tip: Planning a Jamaica vacation and not sure when to go? The best time to go to Jamaica is between the months of mid-December to mid-April when there’s usually lots to do and amazing weather!

Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Writing for 13-years, Kylie discovered that experiences tell the best stories. As a Caribbean mother who wrote for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, she believes inspiration is even found in our kids!