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Hiking up Dunn's River Falls, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Hiking up Dunn's River Falls, Ocho Rios, Jamaica | CosmosMariners.com

After we got back on the bus after experiencing the Green Grotto Caves, our driver took a tally of who would be interested in eating some jerk chicken and rice after the second half of our shore excursion at Dunn's River Falls.

Landon and I are always up for trying local foods, and, since we knew we wouldn't have a chance to eat out any other time in Jamaica, we signed up. The driver promised that he'd get the meals for us while we were at the Falls, and they'd be hot and ready for us in the bus when we returned. It's a little sketchy ordering food from someone you don't know in a brand new country, but Landon and I figured that the worst that could happen would be that we'd get sick.


After a quick ride from the Caves over to the Falls, our fellow passengers piled off the bus and down into the ticketing area.

Hiking up Dunn's River Falls, Ocho Rios, Jamaica | CosmosMariners.com

As we approached the falls, I started to wonder exactly what we were going to do. The shore excursion description had promised that we were going to climb the falls, but I was a little confused on the terminology. I figured that the blurb meant we were going to climb next to the falls with a few chances to splash in the pools of water.

How wrong I was.

When they say you're going to climb they falls, they mean you're actually going to climb up the falls in the water! As the guides led us alllllll the way to the bottom of the waterfall (where the river actually dumps into the ocean), I began to question if my legs would hold out climbing up the equivalent of the stairs of an 18 story building.

Hiking up Dunn's River Falls, Ocho Rios, Jamaica | CosmosMariners.com

The guide, Peter, has everyone link hands for the first section of the climb. As I put my foot in the rushing water (which was rushing a little fast for comfort!), I made a quick wish that, if I were going to fall and break my tailbone on the falls, I'd do it now so I wouldn't have to get extracted in the middle of the waterfall where everyone would be staring at me.

When we climbed up that first section, Peter splashed everyone and broke up any tension that our group had about the experience. After all, his motto was "if you're not soaked, you're not having fun!"

Over the next hour or so, our group of twenty people was led up the falls as Peter pointed out places where we should stand, step, or pull ourselves up. For the most part, the climb was fairly easy--and if I, who am completely unathletic, can do the climb easily, pretty much anyone can.

The climb was slow and peppered with stops in the pools along the way, which allowed all of us to savor the gorgeous tropical surroundings and the completely clear water around us.

By the time we got to the top, Landon and I felt like we could conquer anything! It was, hands down, the highlight of our entire trip, and I can't recommend a visit enough. If you go without a cruise group, it's $20 (U.S.) for a guided climb.

If you go:

  • Make sure to bring water shoes. The rocks are very slippery and rough, and it would be very easy to fall or cut yourself without rubber soles shoes. They might not look super fancy, but they're worth looking dorky for the climb. 
  • There are lockers available at the top of the falls. They cost $8 and are large enough to store a backpack. 
  • Bring a waterproof camera! The guide will happily take your pictures at various points along the way for free if you give him your camera. If you don't want to purchase one of those, buy a waterproof case for your phone. Either way, make sure your photo taking device has a strap on it so you can keep a good grip on it.
  • Don't buy the video that they will try and hock on you. It costs $40 (for a VIDEO) and the production value is just what you'd imagine from a DVD that was edited and burned in less than 15 minutes. 
  • The shopkeepers in the gift village near the exit are fairly aggressive. They will call to you, try to show you things as you walk by, and holler at you after you've passed. Since the Falls are a very popular tourist destination, many of the items are more expensive than elsewhere on the island. Keep your head down, give them a firm "no, thank you," and don't stop walking. 

Oh, and about the jerk chicken: it was waiting for us on the bus, just as our driver promised. It was delicious. Landon and I both love spicy food, so we made sure to dose our chicken liberally in the extra jerk sauce. Chowing down on that as we headed back to the ship was the perfect ending to our day!


Would you be interested in climbing a waterfall? What adventurous things have you done on your travels?

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through one of the above links, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. 

Hiking up Dunn's River Falls, Ocho Rios, Jamaica | CosmosMariners.com


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