When I climbed Dunn’s River Falls several years ago, water shoes were optional. Back then, climbers locked hands with each other, formed a human chain and scrambled up the falls, one step at a time.
Now guides lead daisy-chained groups of climbers and water shoes are strongly recommended. But that hasn’t dampened the fun. The Falls are easily navigated. Missing your footing and falling into one of the many plunge pools on the terraced steps or having water cascade over your body, especially on a hot day, is part of the fun.
The guides cheer you on, point out best places to walk, take your photo, and even hold your glasses or any item you don’t want to have fall into the water. The climb takes approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the group you’re with.
Called Las Chorreras by the Spanish, Dunn’s River Falls is located in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. From the beach below, where it empties out into the Caribbean Sea, to the top, is approximately 600 feet.
Dunn’s River Falls was featured in Dr. No. It was the location where Ursula Andress emerged from the sea.
Hours: Daily from 8:30 – 4:00 p.m., from 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on cruise ships days.
Cost: US$20 (Adults), US$12 (Children); water shoe rental is extra.
What to wear: Bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts, etc., anything that won’t sag or separate when you’re in the water and water shoes.
Guides have cameras and will gladly take your photo for a fee, so leave your camera with a friend or at the hotel. If you decide not to go into the water, you can watch the climb from the look out area.
One of the guides I spoke with said the best time to visit is right after it opens as the water is very clear and you have a better view of the rocks below. I thought it was still clear when we went – around midday – but he said it was even clearer early in the day.
After you’ve climbed the falls, you can relax in the park, take a swim or a stroll of the gardens. And if you’re looking for a place to tie the knot, Dunn’s River Falls is the perfect spot.