Dunn’s River Falls, Saint Ann

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is a state-run tourist attraction featuring a natural waterfall, beach, park and hiking trail along Jamaica’s north coast. It has been minimally modified with cement to create footholds, making it safer and easier for tourists to climb but that’s about it. The waterfall is not man-made. If the tiers seem too perfect to believe that they are natural, that’s because Jamaica’s limestone richness and our abundant rivers create magic when they meet, carving out thousands of caves and dozens of perfectly tiered cascades throughout the whole island which are a sight to behold. They didn’t name Jamaica from the Arawakan word Xaymaca meaning ‘land of wood and water’ for nothing. April 2018 was my first visit to Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, Saint Ann.

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How to Find Dunn’s River Falls + Entry Fee (2022)

Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica
Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica

Dunn’s River Falls is located along the north coast main road in Ocho Rios, similar to the smaller Little Dunn’s River. Dunn’s River is less than ninety minutes’ drive from Kingston using the highway with tolls. Take the second exit at the roundabout. Within 5 minutes, you’ll see Dunn’s River’s entrance on the right. If you’re from or staying in Saint Ann, even better! A simple route taxi of $150 per person will drop you to the entrance. You can walk to the exit and flag down another taxi when you’re ready to leave. Entry into Dunn’s River Falls costs US$23 and US$15 for adults and children respectively. The entry fee for locals in 2022 is JM$1,000 and $500. Local adults are required to show valid government identification (driver’s licence, electoral ID or passport) to obtain the discount. There is now the option of hiking to nearby historical ruins which is called “Tek A Hike.” This comes at a small additional cost.

They are open everyday of the week from 8:30am–4pm and the amenities are endless. These include souvenir stores, a mini craft market with sculptors on hand sculpting their wares, a helpdesk, refreshments on sale, numerous changing rooms, clean bathrooms, lifeguards, tour guides, locker rentals, loads of picnic benches, a mini water park and slide for children (recent addition), police post and massive car park. They don’t call Dunn’s River Falls a world-class tourist attraction for nothing. You’re allowed to bring your own food, but ensure you carry everything you need from the car since you aren’t allowed re-entry without re-paying once you exit the gates to fetch anything.

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Dunn’s River Falls & Beach

dunns river ocho rios jamaica
Dunn’s River Falls, Ocho Rios

The beauty of going out with my mother is that she forces me to live in the moment. You leave your phones in the bag and live for now in the experience, which wasn’t hard to do considering my phone isn’t waterproof and these cascades are stroooong. While I’m certainly not at the extreme in this photo-taking millennial era, it made me wonder how much sensory experience we lose from a place because we’re focused on getting the perfect snaps rather than fully immersing in now. I can’t say if unplugging is why I had so much fun, or maybe it’s also because I managed to convince my mom to climb the falls. She told me a firm no every time I brought it up in the weeks we planned this trip but look what perseverance and coaxing and teasing can do! The vibe between going out with family vs. friends is very different but I welcome both. It takes about 30 minutes to climb Dunn’s River Falls.

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dunns river beach
The sea at Dunn’s River Beach was shallow, warm and gentle.
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Dunn’s River cascading out to sea.
dunns river by the sea
A closer look at where the river meets sea.
dunn's river ja
Viewing the river from one of the platforms up above
lush greenery-dunns river
dunns-river through the trees
another view of dunns river jamaica
beautiful flowers-dunns river
One of the many beautiful flowers in bloom.
views dunns river
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Wrap Up

Promo photo for Sightsee Jamaica at Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn’s River welcomes several hundred visitors each day, so don’t go there expecting to get more than one corner of the place to yourself at a time unless you go before 10:00 am. Human chains of 100 people or more hold hands and climb this cascade several times a day. However, similar to when I’d visited Green Grotto Caves last October, it warmed my heart to see my tiny third-world isle making colossal strides in tourism. I’d hate to see all our treasures become this commercialized because I prefer to enjoy nature untouched & free, but we do need attractions like this. That’s what vacation is all about– comfort. If it’s not state-run nor privatized, the safety, cleanliness and amenities which we take for granted at Dunn’s River Falls would not exist.

‘Til next time. ✌🏽

*** Last Updated in 2022.


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Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a travel blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. The blog is curated by Rochelle Knight, a junior resident (M.D.) in internal medicine and published author. She began the blog in 2016 as a medical student & wants to see the world, starting with her home country. Purchase her book 'SIGHTSEE JAMAICA' on Amazon and join her in Jamaica!

11 thoughts on “Dunn’s River Falls, Saint Ann

    1. Awesome! Once you don’t mind crowds you’ll love it here. Dunn’s River is very beautiful indeed. If crowds aren’t your thing, Ocho Rios has lots of secluded beach &/or waterfall options for about the same price. Hope you make it to Jamaica soon. 🙂 Thanks for reading Chanel!

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  1. Must’ve been so nice to spend the day there w/ mom! To my recollection, I’ve been here 1nce,as a child…barely remember it. I’ve seen it from a Dolphin Cove boat ride since then and it is indeed breath-takingly beautiful. Like you, I dislike crowds, ESPECIALLY at my happy place (rivers), which is the main reason I’ve yet to return.

    I have thought about visiting one day soon however, mostly outside of peak tourist season and maybe on a random weekday when possible. And now we wait… 🙂

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    1. True! Especially since my mom is so not into off-the-beaten-path places, I had to compromise. She’s a worrier and I can’t have someone breathing this worry down my back the whole hike haha. Bad things can happen anywhere. 🤷🏾‍♀️ Anyway, it’s certainly very stunning and while I enjoyed the day immensely, it definitely could not become my go-to place. If you time your visit well, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time though. And indeed, we wait 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Tina! That depends on the severity of the breathing problem perhaps. Climbing all the way to the top with a breathing issue would be difficult but you can still enjoy some of the lower cascades, plus there’s also a staircase with several viewing platforms along the side of the river so you can climb at your own pace & admire the beauty of the whole thing. If you go, I hope it isn’t too much of a limitation. Take care!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective. The falls, as you describe them, are a world-class treasure. The craft market that one is forced to walk through when leaving the attraction—not so much. In fact, the harassment is so extreme, I would hesitate to endure the falls again. It’s a real downer after a real supernatural high. It’s been this way for years, and will, unfortunately, remain so into unforseeable future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I’m so sorry you had that experience! Unfortunately some of our vendors are like that, very “in your face” to try and get a sale usually when they see or hear a skin colour or accent difference which they interpret as being richer and/or more likely to spend. Our tourism ministry has been doing a lot of customer service training and sensitization workshops with these vendors and other people on the forefront of our resort towns namely Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and the like. I hear they’ve been successful so hopefully that culture of harrassing tourists diminishes and visitors can feel more relaxed and at home here. I didn’t experience any harrassment but then to be honest, looking and sounding local might’ve spared me. However, I didn’t observe any harrassment of the obvious tourists either while there that Sunday so who knows? Maybe things have improved! I certainly hope so. Have a look at this recent article: https://jis.gov.jm/anti-visitor-harassment-measures-bearing-fruit/

      Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting Norman. 🙂 take care!

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