Waterfalls, Ponds & Even An Aviary — Here’s Why You Should Visit Jamaica’s Turtle River Falls!

Cover image credit: Erik Klietsch/Shutterstock.com

Attractions like Turtle River Falls & Gardens really emphasize just how beautiful the Caribbean island of Jamaica is. This waterfall is located in the Saint Ann Parish in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. An exquisite slice of nature, this location is home to 14 incredible waterfalls, a bird aviary, fish ponds, and a swimming pool. A visit to Turtle River Falls promises to be a fun and exciting experience for nature lovers and anyone who just wants a fun and peaceful island adventure.

Turtle River Falls & Gardens is found deep within the Jamaican rainforest. This location is known and loved for its stunning waterfalls and diverse flora and fauna. A waterfall and garden combo, Turtle River Falls is the ideal respite from the city's hustle and bustle, and it is well worth a visit while you’re in Jamaica. To help you plan your Turtle River Falls trip, we’ve compiled information about the falls’ history, the sort of plant life you'll discover there, and all of the interesting activities offered at this location.

History of Turtle River Falls & Gardens:


Cover image credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

This tropical garden underwent a few changes before it became the award-winning Turtle River Falls & Gardens. In 1987, its doors were first opened and it was known as the Carinosa Gardens. In 1991, the property was expanded and then renamed the Enchanted Garden. A 4-star resort with 130 rooms was also added. Though it has since changed ownership, the property was once owned by the former prime minister of Jamaica, Edward Seaga.

Today, this picturesque location is known as the Turtle River Falls & Gardens. It was named after the Turtle River that runs through the area and supplies water to the on-site waterfalls and swimming pools. The attraction is also said to have gotten its name from its similarity to the shape of a turtle and the curved rocks found in the garden.

The Turtle River Falls & Gardens certainly has a rich history that will undoubtedly enhance the fantastic experiences you can have during a visit.

Things to do at Turtle River Falls

Take the guided tour at Turtle River Falls


Cover image credit: Erik Klietsch/Shutterstock.com

The best way to explore the Turtle River Falls and Gardens is to take a guided tour. By allowing a knowledgeable tour guide to walk you through the gardens, you will be able to learn so much about Turtle River Falls, its history, and even the Ocho Rios area. Your tour guide will know all the best spots to get an amazing garden view and all that it has to offer. Plant lovers will be amazed by the variety of trees and plants growing right here at Turtle River Falls -- there are almost 100 different species!

Guided tours take a little over an hour. As part of the tour, you’ll trek through the rainforest and see the 14 waterfalls cascading through the gardens. This walk is suitable for most families as there are steps leading up to the viewpoints and the shallow pools that children can play in. The waterfalls are exciting to explore and adventurous visitors will enjoy the waters splashing over the cavern. If you don't plan to get into the water, you can just spend your time here relaxing and admiring the scenery.

Expert tip: Ocho Rios is one of the most exciting places to stay in Jamaica. If you're searching for things to do in this area, you can start with these exciting Ocho Rios excursions!

Learn about fascinating flora and fauna at Turtle River Falls


Cover image credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

Since the Turtle River Falls stretches through 15 acres of land, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the flora and fauna found there. A visit to the gardens reveals the native and endangered plant species growing throughout this space. These plants are a sight to behold and your tour guide will be glad to tell you more about the dozens of species found here and their various medicinal benefits. The fauna should not be forgotten either. The exotic animals living in these gardens are just as interesting as the plants.

Feed the birds at Turtle River Falls walk-in aviary


Cover image credit: Erik Klietsch/Shutterstock.com

A visit to the bird aviary at the Turtle River Falls & Gardens will introduce you to hundreds of exotic birds. The bird aviary is about 400,000 cubic feet, giving the birds plenty of room to move about with ease. Plus, these birds are accustomed to humans and so a handful of seed treats will get them to eat right out of your hand.

Don’t be shy, just relax and enjoy the time spent with these friendly creatures. They may even decide to have some fun of their own by perching on top of your head. This would be a great time to take some pictures and capture the memories so all your friends and family can share them with you too.

Enjoy the tranquility at the Koi Pond


Cover image credit: Vital Safo/Shutterstock.com

The Japanese koi is a type of carp fish that is known for its bright colors and patterns. They can be found in the lily-covered pond at the Turtle River Falls. If you want to get an up-close look at the fish, all you have to do is grab a handful of fish feed and spread it out into the water. Sure enough, these colorful fish will come swimming to the top for a bite.

If you take the guided tour, your tour guide will happily tell you more about these fishes and all the other animals that have made the Turtle River Falls their home. Although feeding the fish in the pond is exciting for everyone, children, in particular, will really enjoy this activity. Children should be supervised at all times near the pond and along the tour.

Take a dip in the swimming pool

After you’ve taken a tour of the gardens you might feel the need to cool off. This would be the perfect time to make your way to the swimming pool on this property to take a dip. You can ask your tour guide to point you in the direction of the swimming pool. The pool at Turtle River Falls is quite large so there will be plenty of room for you, your friends, and your children too. This will be a great way to unwind, breathe in some fresh air, and have fun with your loved ones in sunny Jamaica.

How to get to Turtle River Falls in Jamaica

Turtle River Falls & Gardens are located in Ocho Rios, which is one of the most popular towns in Jamaica. A brief walk from the town will take you to your destination. This attraction is very close to Dunn’s River Falls, also in Ocho Rios. If you’re traveling from other towns or the main city of Kingston, Turtle River Falls is about an hour away. This includes locations like Montego Bay and Falmouth.

You can also get access to Turtle River Falls through your resort. All you’ll need to do is ask about scheduling tours to visit this location. If there are many tourist attractions in Ocho Rios that you’d like to visit, it may be best to book your stay at one of the Ocho Rios resorts or other resorts in Jamaica. Beaches Resorts are a great option for families with children.

Expert tip: Will you be spending the majority of your vacation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica? Here are some of the most exciting things to do in Ocho Rios including visiting the simply stunning Ocho Rios Blue Hole and Konoko Falls Jamaica.

What to take with you to Turtle River Falls in Jamaica


Cover image credit: Pheelings media/Shutterstock.com

Before you head out on any Jamaica excursion, be sure to pack necessities like water and a few other items that will help to make your experience a more comfortable one. Here’s a list of some of the things that may come in handy:

  • Water and snacks – When visiting a tropical island like Jamaica, be sure to carry water with you to keep you hydrated as you walk about in the sun. Although there is a snack bar at Turtle River Falls, it is always best to carry water and snacks to keep you satiated until you can get some more goodies. In addition, if you are traveling with children, they may need the energy boost for the trip.

  • Sunscreen – This is a must to protect your skin while you enjoy your tour of the falls. Although the lush vegetation protects you somewhat from the sun’s rays, it is best to carry some sunscreen so you can really enjoy lounging in the pool without worrying about sunburn.

  • Swimwear – This is something you certainly do not want to leave at home. By the time you have toured the grounds and arrived at the pool, you will be eager to jump in for a refreshing swim. Pack swimwear (for yourself and children if they’ll be coming along) and a change of clothes. Bring a couple of towels as well to dry off.

  • Water shoes – Since Turtle River Falls is made up of several waterfalls, it is best that you walk with a pair of water shoes to help you maneuver through the area. The climb to the falls is easy enough, but water shoes will help ensure your safety as you ascend. This is important for both adults and children.

  • Camera – You simply can’t have a vacation without a good camera. All these memories need to be captured and a camera is one of the best tools to use to do it. Plus, there are so many wonderful sights you must capture at this location - from the birds to other fauna and lush flora, you need to be camera ready.

Things to know before you visit Turtle River Falls

There you have it -- all the information you need to make the most of your Turtle River Falls experience. The waterfalls are accessible every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Plan to go early enough so you’ll be able to see everything and take in every detail of your tour. It will cost $15 USD for adults and $5 USD for kids aged 12 and under to get into the falls. Free admission is offered to children under the age of three.

Turtle River Falls is quite a convenient location as there’s access to parking, restrooms, and a small snack bar where you can grab a quick bite to eat or drink. If you’d like to bring your own food, you are free to do so as well. Although it is a good idea to go to the falls with a camera (preferably waterproof), if you don't have one, there are professional photographers on site who can snap your pictures for a fee.

Some people who go to Turtle River Falls make a point of visiting more than one waterfall in a day. If you feel like visiting another waterfall after this one, you should check out Dunn’s River Falls which is also located in Ocho Rios.


Good to know: Dunn's River Falls Jamaica is 180 feet high and 600 feet long and it is the largest and most popular waterfall in Jamaica. Adults pay $25 USD to access the waterfall and children ages 4-12 pay $17 USD.

Turtle River Falls - an authentic Jamaica experience

Turtle River Falls & Gardens is ideal for a family outing, a picnic, or some peaceful rest and contemplation. We are sure that you’re excited to visit this attraction and experience the fun and bliss that is sure to come with it. Whether you decide to spend all your time there exploring the waterfalls, lazing about in the swimming pool, feeding the birds in the aviary or the fish in the pond, you’ll have a day well spent out in nature.


Photo: Things heat up as 98 Degrees hits the white-sand beach at Beaches Turks & Caicos. Getty Images for Beaches Resorts.

As this will be an exciting, adventurous, and educational experience, you might want to stay somewhere soothing and even luxurious to enhance your experience on this island. Jamaica’s all-inclusive resorts can be ideal be the ideal place to find some amazing family vacation packages for families with kids, groups of friends, and even couples. Ocho Rios resorts and Negril resorts will be perfect for those seeking a family-oriented experience as these Caribbean resorts offer quality inclusions and activities both parents and kids will love!

Expert tip: Exciting all-inclusive family vacations are possible in Jamaica. If you’ll be traveling to this island with children, here are some of the things Jamaica is known for and fun things to do in Jamaica with kids.

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!