The Famous Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica (Everything You Need to Know Before Going There)

Before you go to Dunn’s River Falls, it is important to adequately prepare for your visit, as well as know what to expect once at the site. This will enable you to have the best possible experience at Jamaica’s world-famous waterfall.
The Famous Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica
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No trip to Jamaica is complete without a visit to Dunn’s River Falls. A living testament to the natural beauty of Jamaica, Dunn’s River Falls is a natural wonder that attracts millions of tourists each year. The waterfall is certainly the best and most popular among all the falls of Jamaica.

One of the top sights in the entire country, the iconic falls offer the opportunity for a thrilling adventure hiking through lush greenery, swimming in natural pools and relaxing on a pristine beach along the Caribbean Sea. Read on for the essential guide to visiting Dunn’s River Falls.

How Big is Dunn’s River Falls?

Dunn’s River Falls is approximately 180 feet (55m) in height and 600 feet (180m) in length. The waterfall has terraces that resemble giant natural stairs, although some feature man-made improvements. Interspersed among the vertical parts of the waterfall are several small lagoons.

Where Does the Water from Dunn’s River Falls Come From?

Dunn’s River Falls gets its water from underground spring water.

Is Dunn’s River Falls Freshwater?

Yes. Dunn’s River Falls is fed by fresh underground spring water.

Is Dunn’s River Falls Man Made?

No. Dunn’s River Falls is not man-made. It is in fact a natural waterfall that is fed by underground spring water. That said, looking at the tiered appearance of the falls, it is possible to think that they are man-made. However, this is actually caused by lime deposits in the water that have continuously built up rock in a staircase formation, even as the water continues to flow over.

Why is Dunn’s River Falls Unique?

What makes Dunn’s River Falls unique is the fact that it flows out directly into the Caribbean Sea. This type of waterfall is called a travertine waterfall. There are few travertine waterfalls in the world, and Dunn’s River Falls is the only one in the Caribbean that empties into the sea.

Moreover, Dunn’s River Falls is different from most waterfalls as you can actually climb the falls.

What Can I Expect at Dunn’s River Falls?

During your tour of Dunn’s River Falls, you can expect to see and climb the beautiful waterfall. The water at the falls is normally pleasant to swim in whatever the weather. There are also other attractions within the park that guarantee fun for the whole family, as well as places to eat.

What is the Entrance Fee to Dunn’s River Falls (or is It Free)?

Dunn’s River Falls is not free. Visitors need to pay an admission fee in order to enjoy the beach, explore the area and climb the falls. Tourist admission rates for Dunn’s River Falls are as follows:

  • US $20 – Non-Resident Adult
  • US $12 – Non-Resident Child (Age 3-11)

Does Dunn’s River Falls take Credit Cards (Or is it Cash only)?

Dunn’s River Falls is not cash only. In addition to cash, Dunn’s River Falls accepts both credit cards and debit cards. Visitors may pay the admission fee using Jamaican dollars, US dollars, credit cards or debit cards. Be sure to bring some extra cash as there are souvenirs and snacks available at the park.

What are the Opening Times at Dunn’s River Falls?

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open every day. Opening hours vary depending on the season and whether there are cruise ships docked in port on that particular day. Opening hours are usual as follows:

  • 8.30am – 4.00pm on Non-Cruise Ship Days
  • 7.00am – 4.00pm on Cruise Ship Days

When is the Best Time to Visit Dunn’s River Falls?

It is recommended that you go to the falls early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds of cruise ship tourists. Even better, plan to visit the falls on a non-cruise ship day.

Although Saturdays and Sundays are the days with the least number of cruise ships, there are more local tourists because it is the weekend. If possible, avoid Wednesdays as this is the busiest day for cruise ships.

How Do You Climb up Dunn’s River Falls?

You will climb up Dunn’s River Falls in a small group led by a guide. During the climb, everyone is required to hold each other’s hands in a linked chain. This is so as to provide support in spots where the rock is slippery or where the water rushes so forcefully over your feet that you fear you may slip.

How Far is the Climb up Dunn’s River Falls?

The climb up Dunn’s River Falls is about 180 feet (55m) high.

How Do You Get Down From Dunn’s River Falls?

In order to get down from Dunn’s River Falls, you will need to climb out of the side of the riverbank at the top of the waterfall.

Is Climbing Dunn’s River Falls Hard?

No, Dunn’s River Falls is not hard to climb. There are a few slippery spots, but as long as you pay attention and look where you are stepping, you should be fine.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Climb Dunn’s River Falls?

Although there is no actual age restriction, the team at Dunn’s River Falls & Park recommends a minimum of age 7 to climb.

Who Cannot Climb Dunn’s River Falls?

While there are no height restrictions for climbing Dunn’s River Falls, it is not recommended to bring all small kids or even adults who aren’t strong enough to swim at the base of the waterfall. But there’s no need to worry as there are many other attractions around the park to keep the whole family entertained while you climb.

Can You Go to Dunn’s River Falls on Your Own (Without a Guide)?

Yes, you can go to Dunn’s River Falls on your own. A guide is not necessary because there will be many other people ascending and descending the waterfall. Moreover, the routes are fairly obvious. As such, there really is no need to go on an organized tour to see the falls.

How Long Does it Take to Climb Dunn’s River Falls?

It takes about 45 minutes to one hour to climb up Dunn’s River Falls from the base to the top.

Do You Have to Climb Dunn’s River Falls?

No. It is possible to see and enjoy the main section of Dunn’s River Falls without climbing.

Dunn’s River Falls & Park offers 2 types of climbs: a wet climb and a dry climb. Visitors who prefer not to get wet can simply pay the admission fee and then go on the dry climb alongside the waterfall. Along the way, you can admire beautiful foliage and even go into the falls for a dip inside the waters.

What Can You Do at Dunn’s River Falls?

Dunn’s River Falls has something for everyone. In fact, it is still worth visiting Dunn’s River Falls even if you don’t plan to climb the waterfall. Here are some other things to do at the falls:

  • Enjoy the Central Gardens – a tropical garden with a children’s waterpark
  • Shop for authentic souvenirs at the Craft Market
  • Relax and unwind at Dunn’s River Falls Beach
  • Sample some local Jamaican food at various eateries

What is the Water Temperature at Dunn’s River Falls?

The temperature of the waters at Dunn’s River Falls is pretty much consistent throughout the year. Because the waterfall is fed by an underground spring, its waters tend to be generally cold.

That said, the water temperature at Dunn’s River Falls will most likely be cool and refreshing on hot sunny days. Similarly, on rainy days expect the water to be a little cold, but still pleasant to swim in.

In most cases, the water will be a little cool when you first get in. However, once you begin to climb up the falls, you will warm up. And as you work up a sweat, you will find the cool water refreshing.

What to Bring to Dunn’s River Falls?

Here is a list of items that you should bring to Dunn’s River Falls:

  • Swimwear
  • Water shoes
  • Camera (waterproof if possible)
  • A change of clothes
  • Money for entrance fee, food and drinks, souvenirs and a tip for your guide (optional)

What Should I Wear to Dunn’s River Falls?

When visiting Dunn’s River Falls, the most important item to wear are water shoes for safety. Moreover, the wet climb entails walking inside the waterfall and through the water, which means that you will definitely get wet. As such, a swimsuit or anything that dries quickly is most suitable for the climb.

What Shoes to Wear at Dunn’s River Falls?

When visiting Dunn’s River Falls, it is recommended that you wear water shoes. Water shoes are suitable because they provide traction by gripping on slippery rock, do not come off easily, and dry quickly such that they will not weigh you down. Sneakers, flip-flops and crocs are not recommended for climbing Dunn’s River Falls.

Do You Need Water Shoes?

Yes, you will definitely need water shoes as you make your way up and down Dunn’s River Falls. Water shoes are required for safety.

Can You Rent Water Shoes?

Yes. It is possible to rent water shoes at Dunn’s River Falls & Park. That said, it is recommended to buy and bring along your own water shoes. It is possible to buy water shoes at a cheaper price than how much you would rent them for at Dunn’s River Falls. Moreover, this is a more sanitary option. Plus you will get to have them for life to use on other excursions during future vacations!

Are There Lockers at Dunn’s River Falls?

Yes, there are lockers at Dunn’s River Falls in which you can safely store your belongings. The lockers are available in 2 sizes at the following prices:

  • Single – US $8
  • Family – US $10 (Capacity to hold 3-4 Backpacks)

There is a refund of US $3 when you return your locker key. There are also changing rooms and toilets located at the park entrance.

Is Dunn’s River Falls Handicap Accessible?

Yes, Dunn’s River Falls is handicap accessible. In fact, there is a path that is wheelchair accessible that goes halfway up the waterfall. The pathway then ends up at a platform observation deck that provides easy viewing. Here, handicapped visitors can take photos and soak up the lush green scenery, while relaxing to the sounds of the gushing waterfalls.

There are some areas near the park entrance that are technically wheelchair accessible but still steep. But with assistance, a person in a non-motorized wheelchair could access these areas.

That said, given the very nature of the attraction and its location, it wouldn’t rank highly for wheelchair accessibility.

Can I Visit Dunn’s River Falls while on a Cruise to Jamaica?

Yes, you can visit Dunn’s River Falls while on a cruise to Jamaica.

If you are on a cruise ship docking at the Ocho Rios cruise port, you will have lots of time to climb Dunn’s River Falls and explore the city.

If your cruise ship is arriving at the cruise port in Montego Bay, Falmouth or Port Antonio, you will also have enough time to visit the waterfall, albeit with a slightly longer commute.

How Far is Dunn’s River Falls from Ocho Rios Cruise Port?

The distance from the Ocho Rios Cruise Port to Dunn’s River Falls is 4.1km. The falls are a 5 minute drive from the cruise ship dock, via Turtle Beach Rd.

How Do You Get From Ocho Rios Cruise Port to Dunn’s River Falls?

The best way to get from the Ocho Rios Cruise Port to Dunn’s River Falls is by taking a taxi. It is better to drive from the port to the falls as the distance is a bit far for walking. You can catch a taxi from the port or pretty much anywhere in town. Keep in mind that the farther you go from the port when looking for a taxi, the cheaper the price will be.

Be sure to agree with the driver on the fare before you begin your journey. And don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. If you request in advance, your taxi driver may wait for you while you climb or view the waterfalls, and thereafter take you back to the port.

How Far is Falmouth Cruise Port from Dunn’s River Falls?

The distance from Falmouth Cruise Port to Dunn’s River Falls is 63.3km. The falls are a 1 hour drive from the cruise ship dock, via the A1 Highway.

How Do You Get From Falmouth Cruise Port to Dunn’s River Falls?

The best way to get from the Falmouth Cruise Port to Dunn’s River Falls is by taking a taxi. You can catch a taxi from the port or pretty much anywhere in town. Keep in mind that the farther you go from the port when looking for a taxi, the cheaper the price will be.

If arriving on a cruise ship, try to get acquainted with your fellow passengers and see if they would like to share the taxi fare with you. This will make your trip to Dunn’s River Falls more cost effective.

Be sure to agree with the driver on the fare before you begin your journey. And don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. If you request in advance, your taxi driver may wait for you while you climb or view the waterfalls, and thereafter take you back to the port.

How Far is Montego Bay from Dunn’s River Falls?

The distance from Montego Bay to Dunn’s River Falls is 96.9km. The falls are a 1.5 hour drive from Montego Bay, via the A1 Highway.

The road from Montego Bay to Dunn’s River Falls is well-paved with various scenic spots where you can stop to take photos.

How Far is Dunn’s River Falls from Negril?

The distance from Negril to Dunn’s River Falls is 173.8km. The falls are a 2 hour 45 minute drive from Montego Bay, via the A1 Highway.

The trip to Dunn’s River Falls from Negril is a full day trip. Plan on being gone for about 10 hours or slightly more, depending on road conditions. That said, seeing the falls will be well worth the journey.

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