It’s the climb: The beauty of Dunn’s River Falls makes for a memorable excursion in Jamaica. For more Caribbean travel ideas, browse our guide.
While cruising in the Caribbean last spring, my family and I booked an excursion to Dunn’s River Falls on our one-day stop in Jamaica. We heard the falls near Ocho Rios were an astounding sight — almost 200 feet high, descending to the sea in a stair-step fashion that is naturally carved by the current. Climbing these falls, which were featured in the James Bond movie Dr. No, and relaxing in the wading pools along the way are “bucket-list” activities that make Dunn’s Falls one of the most popular destinations on the island.
I wasn’t sure if my then-7-year-old daughter would be up for the challenge as the cascading water rushed against her in full force. But our guide, and my husband, were determined to let her try. The climb is steep at times; the guide leads the group in a “human chain,” one behind the other, calling out essential footholds and crevices to scale the falls successfully. The rocks are slippery, and water shoes are required (you can buy them at the entrance if you don’t have your own). Adventurers choose whether to start at the base of the falls or begin partway down at one of several access points on the path to the beach where the river meets the sea.
Standing on the beach where the cool, fresh water of Dunn’s River hits the salty, bathlike warmth of the Caribbean Sea, your body comes alive with a tingly feeling as the different temperatures wash over you at the same time.
In the end, my daughter conquered the falls and learned something new: Sometimes climbing against the current is not only satisfying — it’s also fun.
— Krisha Chachra
Browse our list of Caribbean vacation spots and things to do on the islands for more ideas.