Some people find Fern Gully to be a bit spooky. We get it... sorta. This scenic road that leads from Ocho Rios to the community of Colgate with the overhanging canopy-like forest and noticeable chill does have a mysterious vibe to it. Sometimes, as you are driving along taking in the views, it might seem as though you’re the only one there.
If you can take your mind off being spooked (which honestly isn’t that hard in a space as beautiful as this!) then you'll be able to enjoy Fern Gully for what it is — one of the most scenic, fascinating stretches of road in Jamaica. Fern Gully can be explored by simply taking a walking, driving, or taking a tour down its three-mile length. As you navigate this area you’ll witness just over 300 types of ferns as well as other plant and tree life including Blue Mahoe and banana trees. If you’re planning on visiting Fern Gully while in Jamaica, here’s what you can expect:
Expert tip: In Jamaica, you can choose to visit Fern Gully on its own or find a tour where a visit to this area is an add-on. Other than Fern Gully, you’ll find lots more amazing things to do in Ocho Rios during your vacation!
The area where Fern Gully exists today was once a riverbed. As history tells it, the gorge here was one of the eight flowing rivers in the Ocho Rios area. There has always been dense, canopy-like rainforest in this area that covered this riverbed. It is said that after an earthquake in 1907, the river stopped flowing and pretty much disappeared. Over time, the riverbed transitioned into the paved road that exists today. Fern Gully’s popularity has a lot to do with the wide variety of plant life that literally lines the road.
If you take a drive down Fern Gully road in Jamaica, you can get to areas like Moneague and Kingston (the capital of Jamaica). As Fern Gully continues to grow in popularity, the road in this area has become increasingly busy. Traffic not only includes visitors but locals using this route to get to work as well.
Expert tip: Do you know yet where you'll be staying during your vacation in Jamaica? The best areas to stay in Jamaica include Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, and Whitehouse. In these areas, you'll find some of the best Jamaica resorts and lots of things to do in Jamaica with kids.
Part of the fascination of Fern Gully is the fact that from the starting point, it literally looks as though you're heading into a natural tunnel formed by the dense trees. The sun streaks through the treetops and onto the road in some places adding a magical ambiance to this space. For the full effect of the sunlight filtering through the trees, day-time is the best choice for a Fern Gully drive. If you don’t mind the sunlight and just want the peace that comes with a scenic drive, then it really doesn't matter what time you go. Overall, the most popular time to drive through Fern Gully is during the day.
It is possible to walk or hike along Fern Gully and many visitors choose to do this while in Jamaica. Walking and hiking are both great ways to take in the scenery at this location and soak in the tranquility that it all brings. Prepare for the temperature to be slightly cooler in the Fern Gully area and dress appropriately. Fern Gully is around three miles (almost 5 kilometers) long, and the path is a bit windy. As there are quite a few ups and downs along the way, this walk might not be suitable for small children or anyone who is not able to walk for very long. Overall, walking or hiking Fern Gully is best for people who want to soak in the fullness of a nature-based experience.
Expert tip: There are many ways to add to the excitement of your family beach vacations in Jamaica. In addition to exploring amazing beaches, you and the kids can make your way to some of the best waterfalls in Jamaica including Dunn’s River Falls. Sampling the various Jamaica foods and drinks while beachside will be good fun too!
As you’re exploring Fern Gully, there will be a few places you can stop along the way to purchase souvenirs, and local crafts, or just to take in some entertainment. There are often vendors in this area that cater specifically to the sightseeing crowd. This means you won’t have a hard time finding something interesting to take home with you. Some of the common finds in the Fern Gully area include local arts and crafts, animal sculptures, wooden masks, handmade bags, and more. Drinks, fruits, and snacks are often on sale as well. Entertainment-wise, keep your eyes peeled for the local man who sometimes walks on stilts decorated with leaves. That is definitely something you’ll want to be on alert for while driving!
Fern Gully is located in St. Ann Parish near the town of Ocho Rios in Jamaica. The best way to get to this location is by car. If you’re planning to have a rental car during your time in Jamaica, it won't be hard to make your way to the area to take a scenic drive. Driving yourself to see Fern Gully means there won’t be any limitations on your time and you can stop along the way when you feel like it to take in the sights. You also won’t need to pay for any tickets or tours to do this.
Other than driving yourself there, the next best option is taking a tour that includes Fern Gully. If you don’t plan on driving in Jamaica at all, this is the best option as some tours include a visit to Fern Gully along with stops at other attractions. Island Routes offers a 4x4 Off-Road Adventure and Waterfall Experience that makes it possible to see Fern Gully and the Ocho Rios Blue Hole on the same day. This combination tour quite likely will be one of the highlights of your Jamaica vacation.
Expert tip: The best time to go to Jamaica is between the months of mid-April to mid-December. Our handy Jamaica packing list can help you get prepared for your trip once you’ve decided on when to go.
Deciding what to bring with you to Fern Gully will depend on whether you’ll be walking or driving to this location. Some people choose to walk along this area and if you decide to do so, you’ll need to think about bringing clothing that is a bit warmer. There are lots of dense trees in this area which can make the place feel a bit cooler. If you’re planning on walking, you’ll also need to wear comfortable shoes that are easy to move around in. Fern Gully isn’t a long hike, but comfort can help ensure that your experience is completely peaceful. Bring water just in case you get thirsty along the way and a small amount of cash in the event that you choose to pick up a souvenir or two at the nearby shops. Small cash can also be useful if you want to tip your driver or guide as well.
If you are driving along Fern Gully, you won’t need to worry too much about comfortable shoes but you can still consider wearing slightly warmer clothing if you’ll be getting out at the various stops. In addition to souvenir shops, there are a few places to buy drinks and snacks in this area. You might also want to hop out to get photos of the amazing scenery. The most important things you’ll need to bring with you if you plan on driving here are a map and a functional GPS navigation system. Don’t forget to bring along your camera for this experience.
Expert tip: If you don’t want to leave your resort with warmer clothing for this experience (think Caribbean chilly), then you can just bring extra clothing like a light jacket that you can throw on once you get there.
One thing’s for certain, Fern Gully with its lush vegetation and charming windy road is a must-see in Jamaica for travelers who love nature. For three miles, you can take in tropical views and just take your mind off of everything that does not exist at the moment. With so many options to explore this area, including simply driving through or taking a tour, there just isn’t an acceptable reason to miss out on this experience while in Jamaica.
The green and beautiful Fern Gully is just one of the amazing things Jamaica is known for. As you explore this island, which is one of the top getaways for couples in the Caribbean, you’ll definitely grow increasingly convinced that Caribbean vacations truly are like no other … and they’re even better if you opt for an all-inclusive resort like Beaches Resorts which caters specifically to families. Beaches Resorts has impressive group all-inclusive vacation packages as well with quality inclusions that will provide everything you need for the best island getaway!
Insider tip: If you're looking for all-inclusive resorts in Ocho Rios Jamaica, remember that Beaches Resorts offers loads of inclusions parents and kids will enjoy including luxury accommodation, kids camps, world-class restaurants, a water park and so much more!