The following list is our selection of top 10 tourist attractions and natural wonders on Jamaica. The list bases on our experience, so you may find it subjective. Since we tried to avoid big crowds we didn’t spend much time in big hotels or party places. Instead, on our list you will mainly find spots with spectacular scenery created by the powerful nature.
There are actually multiple blue holes i.e. natural pools created by the White River. All pools are connected with waterfalls and cascades. You can freely wander between them, crossing the river as you like. All pools are surrounded by beautiful Jamaican nature.
When you get there you will need to pay an entrance fee (10 USD) which includes a personal guide, who will show you all the safe places to jump into the water. Jumping is actually the best part of it – it’s soooo much fun! You can also dive into small caves hidden just behind the waterfall.
The highest jump is 40 feet and it’s actually pretty scary. They don’t take you there unless you specifically ask for it.
Blue Hole is a relatively young tourist attraction. Previously it was just a place, where locals would come to enjoy their free time. You can notice it easily while searching for that place – there are literally no sings pointing you in the right direction and the road gets very bad at the end (no asphalt). The price is also lower than in other popular attractions. Definitely worth visiting, probably the place we enjoyed most.
- Entrance fee: 10 USD
Dunn’s River Falls
It’s one of the most popular attractions on Jamaica and we understand why. It’s very popular among tourists arriving to Ocho Rios by cruise ships. As the name suggests these waterfalls are naturally created by the Dunn’s River and they end directly at the sandy beach close to Ocho Rios.
All tourists can climb up the waterfall holding to rocks and handles in a waist-deep water. This is a lot of fun and seems quite safe. On your way up you will have several options to exit the river if you feel tired or scared. There is a comfortable road along the entire waterfall route for those of you who don’t want to get wet but would still like to enjoy the view at waterfalls. You can also find some lockers for your belongings, souvenir shops and food stands.
- Entrance: 20 USD
This beautiful lagoon is located 10 kilometers east from Port Antonio. It is where a well-known movie called “Blue Lagoon” (surprise, surprise 😉 ) was shot. However, don’t expect to find there wide, sandy beaches, which you can see in the movie. Those scene must have been recorded elsewhere.
What you will find is a small bay filled with intensively blue water, surrounded by wild, nearly tropical forest. The lagoon is small enough to swim across for people in relatively good shape. We recommend to take some diving mask with you, so you can see different layers of water, each of different color.
You can also take a ride on a wooden raft. It will drive you around the lagoon and take you out to the sea for a short while. However, it seemed a bit cheesy to us, so we decided to swim instead.
- No entrance fee!
Yet another waterfalls on Jamaica you may think. Although you are right, we recommend visiting them anyway when visiting the Portland parish. They are located 40 kilometers east from Port Antonio and open until 5PM. Reach Falls are significantly smaller than Dunn’s River Falls, but they have their charm. There is one main waterfall, below which you can safely swim (lifeguard on duty). There is also a small beach to rest at.
Above the waterfall you will find interesting tunnels carved in rock by running water. There are also many plants, lichens & mosses.
- Entrance fee: 20 USD
Blue Mountains are highest mountains on Jamaica. The only road that crosses these mountains directly is B1 from Buff Bay to Kingston. However, it is very narrow and in really bad shape. Many locals will even tell you, that it is not possible to drive there. They may be actually right because high level of rain can make it unusable for a while. However, we recommend you to try to take that road. Views are absolutely breathtaking and there is literally no traffic. On our way up from the Buff Bay we met no cars at all. Be prepared the drive will take you much more time than usual due to challenging driving conditions. Make sure to have at least one spare tire with you just in case.
Blue Mountains area is also home of the world-famous Blue Mountains Coffee. Closer to Kingston you will see some roadside Cafes, offering excellent, freshly brewed coffee (expensive). If you are lucky enough you can buy it also from coffee factory workers coming back from work.
One interesting place to visit is the Rasta-Camp situated somewhere close to the B1 road (ask for directions). It’s especially interesting on Saturday, when people living there gather together and chant.
- Coffee pot for 2: 10 USD
Green Grotto Caves
Green Grotto Caves are located by the road between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, around 40km west from OR. You can only visit them with a guide, so you don’t get lost. The tour lasts for around 1 hour and you will need to wear a helmet.
During the tour you will of course visit most interesting caves, learn about their history and hear some thrilling stories about pirates and slaves hiding in there. Although there are some underground lakes and streams you will not need any special clothing, as paths for tourist are well prepared and maintained.
- Entrance fee (guided tour): 20 USD
Many people say this place has true Jamaican vibes. It’s not too popular so you can count on finding some peace. The beach is partially rocky, especially at waterfront hotels. If all you care about is peace and quiet you probably can’t get anything better than that on Jamaica.
For us it a bit too quiet, literally nothing going on there apart from evening gatherings at the Jack Sprat restaurant.
Floyd’s Pelican Bar
People staying in treasure Beach are often looking for some additional entertainment. Two most popular trips are Ys Falls and Floyd’s Pelican Bar.
The Pelican Bar is built in the middle of the sea, with no direct access from the island. In order to reach it you need to take a boat. The place is quite small but interesting to visit. You can get a cold beer there or grilled seafood. You can also walk around the bar as it has been built on a sand bank and therefor it’s quite shallow around it.
Floyd – the bar owner, playing domino all day long
If you have your own car it’s much cheaper to drive to Parottee and take a boat to the bar from there.
Boat trip to Floyd’s Pelican Bar:
- from Treasure Beach: 80 USD
- from Parottee: 20 USD
This is a less known attraction, but we found it very interesting. It’s located around 35 kilometers west from Montego Bay, in the Falmouth city. It’s actually easy to miss, because there are no signs on the main road informing you about this attraction. If you get lost ask for the Glistening Waters restaurant.
This place is to be visited at night, when it’s completely dark. You hop on a boat and after a short ride you stop in the middle of a shallow lagoon. Then you jump into the water and… the magical experience begins! With every move the water around you shines with a bright-blue color. When you go out of the water it will drop out of your skin and each drop will shine on its own. You will even see fishes leaving a blue trace behind them! Amazing!
During the boat ride you can enjoy a complimentary drink and learn more about the shining effect.
- Entrance: 20 USD (boat ride, night swimming, welcome drink)
Negril Cliffs at Rick’s Café
Negril is one of the most popular towns among tourists, which makes it actually less interesting from our perspective. It’s famous for its beaches, in particular the 7-mile beach. To be honest we didn’t find that beach very special. Yes, it’s sandy and wide, but there are many large hotels, banana-rides, paragliding and other common tourist attractions. Nothing exotic.
The only place that we think is worth visiting is Rick’s Café, where you can jump off 10 meter high cliffs. In order to jump you need to give a tip to the supervising crew. You can also watch locals doing acrobatic evolutions in the air.
The jump itself is quite exciting and it seems safe. Just be warned – the place is crowded in the evening, so you may want to consider coming there for jumps only, it’s up to your preferences.
Here is a short video presenting most of attractions:
More about Jamaica
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