Jamaica’s best-loved waterfall and a staple of tour brochures, Dunn’s River Falls are overdeveloped but still breathtaking, and remain the island’s major tourist honeypot. Masked from the road by restaurants, craft shops and car parks, the wide and magnificent 600ft waterfall cascades over rocks down to a pretty tree-fringed white-sand beach that’s far cleaner than the one in town. There’s a lively reef within swimming distance, and snorkel gear is available to rent from several touts.

Impressively proportioned, with water running so fast you can hear it from the road below, the falls are surrounded by dripping foliage and more than live up to their reputation, despite the concrete and commerciality. The main activity is climbing up the cascade, a wet but easily navigable hour-long clamber. The step-like rocks are regularly scraped to remove slippery algae, and the thing to prevent a stumble is to form a hand-holding chain led by one of the very experienced guides. It’s thoroughly exhilarating, as you’re showered with cool, clear water all the way up – wear a bathing suit. There’s a restaurant and bar, and full changing facilities at the beach and at the top of the falls. Hundred-strong queues frequently form along the beach; to avoid the crowds arrive at opening time or late in the afternoon (last climb at 4pm), when cruise passengers are already aboard their ships.

Upper Dunn’s River

An alternative to the crowds and the admission price of Dunn’s River Falls are the unmaintained waterfalls above the enclosure. To get there, take the main route to Dunn’s River but carry on up past the car park to where the tarmac ends. Follow the dirt path into the bush to your right for five minutes, and there are several more waterfalls higher up the road. You may well need a local guide to find them; local ranger “Brother Mike” from Sun Venture Tours is the ideal candidate (US$70/person, min 4 people).

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Jamaica features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In the footsteps of Bob Marley: a tour of Kingston, Jamaica

In the footsteps of Bob Marley: a tour of Kingston, Jamaica

Kris Griffiths takes a tour of the birthplace of reggae, following in the footsteps of Jamaica's most famous son, Bob Marley, on what would have been his 70th …

18 Mar 2015 • Kris Griffiths insert_drive_file Article
19 fantastic spots for wild swimming

19 fantastic spots for wild swimming

1. Cenotes X’keken and Samula, Mexico Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula is riddled with cenotes, natural limestone sinkholes that are perfect for wild swimmin…

04 Oct 2013 • Alison Roberts camera_alt Gallery
The best street food around the world

The best street food around the world

Jerk chicken, Jamaica When it comes to jerk chicken, there’s no beating the real deal fresh from a smoky jerk hut. Recipes are closely guarded secrets, but u…

04 Jul 2013 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs