Ocho Rios Blue Hole — A Splash Worthy Jamaican Adventure!


Cover photo credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

Whether you call it the Ocho Rios Blue Hole, or the Cool Blue Hole, it doesn’t change the fact that this spot is one of the most breathtaking attractions Jamaica has to offer. So popular is the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios that many travelers put it at the top of their to-do list when they’re headed on a vacation to Jamaica.

Ocho RIos Blue Hole Jamaica

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

You might wonder… what is the Cool Blue Hole? Well, the Ocho Rios Blue Hole consists of a series of natural pools made out of limestone. These are pretty much water-filled sinkholes, and they are located in a secluded area known for its stunning waterfalls. The ‘Cool Blue Hole’ gets its name from the brightness of the water - it’s a captivating blue that just makes you want to jump right in from the moment you arrive.

At the Cool Blue Hole, you can swim, hike, cliff dive, and even enjoy swinging from a rope (like Tarzan!) into the inviting waters below. Before we get ahead of ourselves though, we’ll touch on some of the things you can do at the Ocho Rios Blue Hole to make your experience there simply magical!


Things to do at the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios

Get into the water in a range of ways

You can get into the Ocho Rios Blue Hole in a bunch of different ways, which really adds to the fun of the whole experience. If you’re brave enough, you can jump into the 20ft deep blue hole from an area of about six feet above, or you can use the rope swing for a bit more excitement. If you don’t want to jump or swing, you can simply climb down the rocks and ease your way into the blue hole.

Ocho RIos Blue Hole Jamaica Jumping

Image credit: Nazar Skladanyi/Shutterstock.com

Jumping in can be so much fun, and you might even be able to get someone to capture that perfect photo of you mid-air. The blue hole itself is pretty deep, so you’ll be safe using the rope swings, or jumping in from one of the surrounding cliffs. Before jumping in, it is worth getting instructions from the tour guides on where to jump, and how to do so safely. With caution in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy getting into the blue hole in many different ways.

Enjoy the cool blue waters

Ahh... the cool blue waters of the Cool Blue Hole. Falling in love with this attraction is as easy as a first glance! As many people go to this attraction to experience dipping into the famous blue hole, this is probably one of the first things you’ll want to do once you get there. The water is fascinating enough to look at with its stunning turquoise hue and getting into it will be super refreshing as well.

Ocho RIos Blue Hole Jamaica Aerial

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

You’ll be doing your skin a favor as you soak in the nourishing, mineral-rich water of the blue hole. Swim and splash around as much as you would like and even explore the little cave that’s partly hidden by the water pouring over the rocks. From inside the blue hole, you’ll also be able to climb up on one of the surrounding rocks to relax and take in the amazing views!

Hike to the Secret Falls

You might hear about the Secret Falls near the Ocho Rios Blue Hole or the Island Gully Falls, but don’t get confused as these are one and the same. Secret Falls is not too far away from the Ocho Rios Blue Hole. If you visit the blue hole, it can be a cool hiking experience to walk the 10 minutes along the river to get to the Secret Falls. This is quite a scenic hike and once you get there, you’ll find a 20ft waterfall, a few natural swimming pools, rope swings, and spaces to cliff jump if you’re looking for some excitement. The best part about the hike to Secret Falls is that it is quite shady as the trees make for an excellent natural canopy — this is great for keeping cool along the way.

Blue Hole Island Gully Falls Jamaica

Image credit: Sheldon B/Shutterstock.com


Expert tip: No matter which of the Jamaica resorts you choose to stay in, there are some cool things to do in Jamaica with kids. Aside from the Ocho Rios Blue Hole, some of the attractions children might enjoy on this island include Dunn’s River Falls, Konoko Falls, Mystic Mountain, and going to Jamaica water parks.


What to expect when you get to the Ocho Rios Blue Hole

Entrance Fees

You’ll be required to pay an entrance fee of $20 USD per adult to get into the area where the Cool Blue Hole is located in Jamaica. If you’ll be going on a tour, your entrance fee will most likely be included in the cost of your package. Even still, you should confirm this detail with the tour operator before booking your tour. Children pay half the price to access the Blue Hole ($10 USD).

Food and drink

The possibility of enjoying some delicious food after an amazing tour can really build anticipation. Around the Cool Blue Hole, one of the restaurants you might wind up going to once your tour is done is Linda’s Jerk & Seafood Restaurant. Quite a few tours stop here for lunch or dinner, though there are some tours where food is included from other restaurants or cafes in the area. If you want more details on this, you can check with your tour operator during the booking process. Closer to the Cool Blue Hole, and even along the way to Secret Falls, you might see vendors selling coconuts or the local Caribbean beer of Jamaica, Red Stripe Beer.

Lockers, bathrooms, and other amenities

If you want somewhere safe to store your belongings while at the Cool Blue Hole, you’ll be able to rent out one of the lockers on the property for $2 USD each. These are ideal for storing clothing, shoes, and other personal items while you explore the blue hole. There are also bathrooms and changing rooms on-site that are useful for changing into swimwear or back into dry clothes when you’re done splashing around.


Getting to the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios



The Blue Hole is on the north coast of Jamaica in Saint Ann Parish. This attraction in the hills of Ocho Rios appeals to anyone hoping for a nature-oriented experience that includes a chance to hike and even swim in natural pools. The Ocho Rios Blue Hole is about 30 minutes from the town center and can be considered a bit off the beaten track. Though it can be tempting to drive here yourself, it’s definitely easier to go with a tour group. It can even be hard to get a taxi to get to the Ocho Rios Blue Hole as taxi drivers aren’t too keen on damaging their cars on the rocky path they’d need to take to get there. Book a tour and spare yourself the inconvenience.

Booking a tour to the Ocho Rios Blue Hole

As mentioned, one of the easiest ways to get to the Cool Blue Hole is by booking a tour. There are quite a few tour options available, including half-day and full-day tours. Most of these excursions include pick-up and drop-off from your resort, so you'll be able to leave your accommodations and return straight there once your tour is done.

River Tubing Tour Montego Bay Jamaica

For the Cool Blue Hole, you'll also have the option of choosing a one-stop tour or a combination tour that allows you to check out two attractions in one day, like the River Tubing and Blue Hole Experience Ocho Rios offered by Island Routes. Tours of this nature also tend to include a guided tour of the included areas once you arrive. There are various combination tours you can choose from.

Expert tip: For the most convenient and cost-effective access to the Cool Blue Hole, it is worth staying at one of the Ocho Rios resorts which will make it easy to book your tour directly through the tour desk on the property.


Shuttle bus

It is possible to get to the Ocho Rios Blue Hole via a shuttle service available from Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay, Tower Isle, and the airports in Montego Bay and Kingston, Jamaica. Shuttle services usually cost around $20 USD per person, particularly for pickup from Ocho Rios and Tower Isle, for a minimum of 4 people.

Expert tip: Planning a family vacation with older kids? Here are the best all-inclusive resorts for families with teenagers!


What to pack for your trip to the Ocho Rios Blue Hole

Swimwear and a towel

The highlight of the Cool Blue Hole is bathing in the dazzlingly turquoise waters and soaking in pure relaxation. For this reason, swimwear and a towel are two of the things you won’t want to leave behind. While you can also dry off beneath the warm sun rays, towels come in handy if you want to dry off quickly to go hiking or if you need to change to get to another destination or back to your resort. If you’re not a strong swimmer, you may also want to bring along a life jacket so you can stay safe and enjoy floating around. If you don’t own one, you can also rent one once you get to this location.

A change of clothes

Lightweight clothing is best for a trip to the Cool Blue Hole as this will help keep you cool throughout the day. You might also want to bring along a change of clothing so that you have something dry and comfortable to wear once you’re done swimming. Even if you don’t go swimming, a change of clothing might be useful if you wind up doing the short hike to Secret Falls and want to change into fresh clothing afterward.

Water shoes

Water shoes are helpful when visiting waterfalls, some beaches, and other locations in Jamaica like the Cool Blue Hole. These can protect your feet from rocks and keep you comfortable in the water. If you don't have your own water shoes, you can purchase a pair on-site once you get to the blue hole.

A small amount of cash

It’s necessary to have a small amount of cash on hand when visiting the Cool Blue Hole for things like renting out a locker to store your things or purchasing food and drinks. Your tour package would likely include most things, so you won’t need to bring much, just enough for incidentals.

Bug spray

Bugs are something you’ll need to watch out for while exploring the great outdoors. Ward off bug bites by bringing some insect repellant along with you, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time out in nature, hiking (perhaps to Secret Falls while visiting the Blue Hole?) or going on tours.

Sunscreen

Jamaica is pretty much sunny year-round, so sunscreen is sure to come in handy during your trip. This is even more necessary during the hotter months of the year to prevent sunburn, which can be a real vacation buzz killer. Regardless of which type of sunscreen you get (waterproof sunscreen is preferable for this adventure!), try to reapply a few times during the day so that it's most effective.

A camera

You'll find plenty of photo opportunities at the Ocho Rios Blue Hole whether you're a seasoned photographer or just want some cool snaps to share with friends or family. You will definitely want to bring your camera, particularly a waterproof one if you have access to it, so you can make the most of this attraction.

Good to know: You’re likely to leave the Ocho Rios Blue Hole raving about its beauty and serenity. There are other things you’re sure to enjoy on this island as well like scuba diving in Jamaica.


Where can families stay near the Cool Blue Hole?

The best places to stay in Jamaica are indeed the all-inclusive resorts where you can get that touch of luxury and adventure that makes island vacations awesome. If this is what you're looking for as part of your Jamaica vacation, then Beaches Ocho Rios will be a sure thrill. Beaches Resorts are ideal for families who love the water — there’s even a water park within this resort with ginormous waterslides, a lazy river, and lots more!

Beaches Ocho Rios Overview

There are also toddler water slides, a playground for kids, and lots of other kid-friendly inclusions like an X-Box Play Lounge, Kids Camps, and unlimited fun with land and water sports. Staying at Beaches Resorts in Jamaica will put you near some of the best attractions on the island including the Cool Blue Hole.

Expert tip: Want to enjoy the Ocho Rios Blue Hole while in Jamaica? If you’ll be staying at Beaches Ocho Rios, book this tour or any other Ocho Rios excursion you’re interested in through your resort. Don’t hesitate to ask resort staff for tips on the best Ocho Rios hot spots!


Enjoy the Ocho Rios Blue Hole while in Jamaica!

Vacations are all about living in the present and creating new, fun memories. The Ocho Rios Blue Hole in Jamaica is a great place to do just that. Visiting this attraction can surely be one of your vacation highlights on this island whether you’ll be traveling as a group, couple, or on a family trip that includes children, particularly kids old enough to enjoy the blue hole.

Ocho RIos Blue Hole Jamaica Tour Photo

Image credit: Nazar Skladanyi/Shutterstock.com

Now that you know what to expect, all that’s left to do is plan your trip. Here are some Jamaica travel tips (dos and don’ts) and details on the best time to go to Jamaica to get you started!

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!