Dunn's River Falls
Good for: ages 5-65, waterfalls
Not good for: short people
Lonely Planet review for Dunn's River Falls
Widely held to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, these famous falls, on the A3, 3km west of town, are Jamaica’s top-grossing tourist attraction. As long as you’re not expecting a peaceful communion with nature, a morning here can be an enjoyable and invigorating experience. Join hands in a daisy chain at the bottom and clamber up the tiers of limestone that stairstep 180m down to the beach in a series of cascades and pools. The water is refreshingly cool and the falls are shaded by a tall rain forest and a number of magnificent tree specimens. Today, the place seems more like a man-made theme park than a natural wonder. The St Ann Development Company sees fit to spike the entrance fee every year or so, knowing full well that climbing the falls is a non-negotiable item on many visitors’ to-do lists. As a result, you are likely to encounter great throngs of people. You must buy a ticket at the roadside ticket booth, then follow the stairs down to the beach. The powerful current can sweep your feet from the slippery rocks, but your sure-footed guide (a tip is expected) will hold you by the hand and carry your camera. You climb at your own risk – yes, occasionally people hurt themselves. There’s a first-aid station. You can always exit to the side at a convenient point if your nerves give out. It’s a 30-minute climb, and swimwear is essential. There are changing rooms, lockers (US$5) and rubber booties for rent (US$5). It’s best to leave any valuables in your hotel safe, as the lockers are reputed to be unsecure. The facility now includes a mento yard for live music, an orchid garden, a children’s playground, a crafts market, jerk stalls, a gazebo for weddings, snack bars and a restaurant. As you leave the complex, you are forced to walk through a mazelike craft market where the hard sell is laid on thick. Plan to arrive before 10am, when the tour buses arrive, or around 4pm after they depart. Also try to visit when the cruise ships aren’t in town (usually Saturday to Tuesday). Avoid Easter. Public minibuses and route taxis (US$1) head west to Dunns River Falls and beyond from Main St; it’s a simple matter to flag one down.