When was the last time you have climbed a waterfall? Long time ago or never? Well, then you will have a blast doing so while docking in the port of Falmouth on the tropical island of Jamaica.
Dunn´s River Falls lie about 45 minutes to an hour east of the port, close to the town of Ocho Rios. The waterfall, or shall I rather say waterfalls, elevate over 55 m in height and extend over an overall length of approximately 180 m.
It is a multi-step cascade with giant natural stairs and a few manmade improvements that help the thousands and thousands of visitors each year to overcome the terraces one by one to the top. Dunn´s River Falls is one of the few travertine falls in the world that actually empties into the sea.
It is made of natural spring water and quite impressive to look up to (and respectively down from). Climbing up is a popular tourist attraction and can either be done by solo-passage or in a team with supervision of a professional guide.
As the climb can be steep, slippery and rocky at most times and the bottom of the watercourse is often hard to see, I recommend to take part in the guided tour. If you are fearless and like to do things on your own, like me :), I highly recommend the do-it-yourself way!
One thing that you will have to be aware of is the fact, that Dunn´s River Falls are everything but secluded rainforest waterfalls like you may have seen on other Caribbean islands such as St. Lucia, i.e. . Meaning that you will not be alone there. The ambience is actually a little that of a water park. And so is the entrance fee: 20 US-Dollars per person plus 10 US-Dollars watershoes (as of November 2016). The entrance does include the guided tour up the falls. If you chose to participate in this, the guides simply appreciate a little tip.
I always have my ultralight Nike Waffle Cruisers with me on my travels which served great during the climb (and spared me the extra buck). They weigh close to nothing and are particularly helpful on rocky beaches or when going climbing. Unfortunately it seems, that Nike is not producing them anymore. I love them to death!
To get there you will have to take a taxi from the port. Don´t take one inside the port´s premises though! The drivers have to pay a surcharge in order to get inside and outside the cruise terminal area. These taxis cost 150 US-Dollars round-trip to Dunn´s Falls and 2 hours waiting time for the car (as of November 2016).
Just outside the port´s exit you can bargain. We ended up paying 120 US-Dollars round-trip for the car plus the two hours waiting time of the driver at the falls. Everything on top is charged extra, like food tastings or other stops that are suggested from the driver´s side during the drive. Including the entrance fee to the falls, this excursion came at 50 US-Dollars per person.
It was a fun day and the excursion well worth it, even though you might get from time to time the impression that in Jamaica your money is sometimes more welcome than yourself…