Adrenaline is a hormone released by two tiny organs located atop the kidneys, known as the adrenal glands. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is the “fight-or-flight hormone.” Adrenaline is released in response to stressful, exciting and dangerous situations. Adrenaline helps the body to react more quickly by increasing the heart rate, increasing blood flow to the brain and muscles and stimulating the body to release energy stores for fuel. When adrenaline is released suddenly, it’s referred to as an adrenaline rush. That rush is euphoric and addictive and makes people willingly put themselves into situations which could potentially be dangerous! Today, let’s take a look at eight ways one can experience an adrenaline rush in Jamaica.
1. Jumping Into Waterfalls
The name Jamaica means Land of Wood and Water, and our Taino ancestors didn’t name the island that for nothing. Jamaica is riddled with porous limestone rock through which rivers have carved dozens of caves, cascades and sinkholes over the centuries. My favourite adrenaline rush in Jamaica is discovering these waterfalls– hiking to them, climbing them, standing under them and err– watching others jump into them. Jamaica’s tallest waterfall doesn’t exceed 200 feet (60m), making it possible to interact with all our waterfalls up close. Be careful not to slip on any rocks, and enjoy! Water shoes are recommended. Check out all of Jamaica’s waterfalls here.
2. Cliff Jumping
The most popular place to jump from cliffs in Jamaica is West End, Negril. Something about these white cliffs, a stark contrast to the deep blue Caribbean Sea below, just entices everyone to jump! All the hotels on West End such as Rockhouse and Xtabi On The Cliffs have easy access to jumping for guests, however you can also experience that exhilarating jump at the Rick’s Café. Established in 1974, Rick’s Cafe’s main lure is its jaw-dropping view of the Negril sunset and cliff-jumping! Each day dozens of tourists make the jump from ledges which range from 8 to 40 feet above sea level, egged on by fearless locals who make the jump with cartwheels and theatrics for tips. Note: Visiting Rick’s Café to jump is FREE! Check out my guide to Negril here.
You can also jump into a sinkhole 35 feet deep into the Earth’s surface at the Blue Hole Mineral Spring, 30 minutes from Negril. Admission is $600JMD for locals, and US$10 for foreigners.
Tandem paragliding in Jamaica is offered by a company called Jamaica Paradise Wings. They offer paragliding at JM$9,000 (US$60) per person for a flight of about 10 minutes, and operate from Skyline Drive in Kingston and Malvern in St. Elizabeth. I’ve been so excited to try this from the minute I first heard it existed in Jamaica! Hopefully I can make it happen sometime soon. I like the fact that they only offer tandem paragliding, meaning one doesn’t have to figure out how to take off and land. In other words, zero experience or training is required. You’ll be in a harness with a certified experienced glider, so all you have to do is relax and enjoy the ride– err, flight.
Parasailing is the activity which first made me realize, yup, I’m an adrenaline junkie. I’ve now parasailed twice and I’m ready to do it again. The company I used each time was Fly High Parasailing in Negril. They charge $6,000JMD ($50US) per person and were very professional. Life vests are provided, and they will attach you to the harness securely. After take-off you are connected to the speedboat only with a single rope, but I assure you it feels safer than it looks. I only wish the flight were longer. It’s approximately ten minutes per person, and you stay dry the entire activity.
My only experience with ziplining so far was at YS Falls and it ranks up there as one of my most memorable activities to date. However, there are numerous places to zipline in Jamaica such as Dunn’s River Falls and Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios, Jamwest Adventure Park in Little London near Negril and Good Hope Adventure Park in Trelawny. Prices vary depending on where you’re ziplining but start at $2,700JMD (about US$20) at Y.S. Falls. Speeding through a rainforest canopy or above waterfalls at 40 miles per hour? Sign me up!
There are a few places which offer rock-climbing in Jamaica such as Jamwest Adventure Park in Little London near Negril, and several hotels with a rock-climbing wall. However, have you ever wanted to do the real deal outdoors? That’s where Jamrock Climbing comes in. The first person to sport-climb in Jamaica was Daniel Oury, a 29 year-old Spanish climber who has been living in Jamaica since 2017. He, along with a friend who came to Jamaica just a few months ago, are determined to establish Jamaica as a rock-climbing destination for seasoned rock-climbers along with adventurous and curious first-timers. Check out their entire story here, and be sure to hit them up on Instagram if sport-climbing looks like something you would enjoy!
7. Seeing Crocs In Their Natural Habitat
The Black River Lower Morass has over 100 species which call it home such as egrets, ospreys, herons, palms, mangroves, multiple species of fish, and of course, the most fearsome species of all–the American crocodile. Black River Safari tours such as the J. Charles Swaby Safari tour, will carry you along the length of the Black River, Jamaica’s widest and longest navigable river where you can meet crocodiles up close. They’re rather harmless once undisturbed, and on any given day you may see anywhere from zero to a dozen crocs in the water. I saw three crocs on my first tour and five or six the second time around. If you aren’t fortunate enough to see any on your tour, you can stop by the crocodile nursery afterwards and maybe even hold one of the baby ones! I wasn’t brave enough to hold any, but I definitely had fun seeing these creatures in their natural habitat. The Black River Safari tour is absolutely gorgeous, from the numerous birds, the pitch black river, the tall mangroves, the history lesson and of course, the stars of the show. Read my review here.
8. Take On A Giant Swing In The Jungle
This gigantic swing with a sweeping view of the Hanover countryside is located at Campbelton Mountain Adventures Park. You’re strapped in securely, after which the fun can ensue. How thrilling is it to be swinging at 400ft above sea level on a 30ft tall giant swing! Are you next?
How many have you done, or rather, how many would you like to do? Tell me in the comments. I’m now at four and counting. While I’m not that keen on accomplishing all the activities, I’m definitely looking forward to doing at least one more activity from this list before the end of 2021! Make sure you don’t miss the next adventure by subscribing below and checking out my social media pages.
Written by Rochelle Knight
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‘Til next time!