Some years back on a vacation in Ocho Rios, we had visited Dunn’s River Falls and had some fond memories of the place. With the cruise ship docking in Falmouth, having a second chance to climb these famous falls to take some fresh pictures was definitely something we wanted to do.
After an hour-long bus ride, ho-hum, we arrived at the falls and were handed off to a climbing guide that would lead the group through the falls. With heavy current, everyone is obliged (or certainly recommended) to wear good water shoes. These are sold everywhere near the cruise port, and on site at the falls. We had our short dive boots, which worked great. Some poor folks were using their running shoes, which were soggy by the end. Likely ruined or at least foul smelling!
The park itself around the falls has been built-up with all kinds of activities for kids including rides, concession stands and of course a crafts market. We didn’t waste much time on our short ship excursion exploring these but rather went straight to the falls as most people do. Those staying in Jamaica may be able to make a longer day of it, but for us… we wanted in the water and up the falls!
After winding our way down the path, we entered the water basically where the stream/river runs into the ocean on the beach. There are numerous edges to climb and overall the experience took us almost an hour. Our group was helping each other out by extending hands and going up a path pointed out by the guide that occasionally got us into chest deep water. At other times we had to cross currents and climb up some fairly sharp slopes. There are many intermediate exit spots and some of our group did exit early as they may have been tired or had some problems getting up. No worries, everyone was there to have fun.
We made it all the way up ourselves, and from what we could remember of our past experience we assumed we had not done the whole trek the last time. Perhaps the path up has been extended as the park has been built out. We were told that the falls extend out 600 feet but it certainly felt like more as we were working our way up the current and along the slippery rocks. Do watch your step and keep your phone and camera on shore unless it’s waterproof.
The falls themselves have an interesting history, this is assumed to be the spot where the famous battle of Las Chorreras (the waterfall of the springs) took place in 1657. The site of the falls has belonged to the Jamaican government since 1972 and is a popular tourist destination located only a short distance from Ocho Rios.
Definitely the experience of going up the falls is one you would not want to miss if in the area.