The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios Jamaica has become one of my favorite places. It’s one of my more recent discoveries.
I only found out about it because I’ve been spending lots of time in the countryside, trying to find those hidden gems in my country. Even my local Jamaican friends didn’t know this place existed.
When I’m there, I cant help but think about how the early settlers in Jamaica must have loved it. This is truly a paradise that the rest of the world could never have imagined.
One of the things I love most about the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios is that it’s not commercialized (yet). When I go early enough in the day, it’s usually just me and whoever I take. By around midday, you’ll start to see a few tourists passing through. But nothing like Dunn’s River Falls. No bus loads. Just a few private charters here and there.
The Blue Hole is still run by the locals so there isn’t an entrance fee. There are some guides there that live in the area but they work for a tip, not a fee. I hear the recommended tip is $10 per person but no one has ever bothered me. I guess my Jamaican accent is a deterrent.
Getting there isn’t easy. It’s a few miles up in the hills of Ocho Rios. And the road gets really rough.
I figure since the government makes no money from this place, they have no incentive to fix the road (or maybe I should say make a road).
Many drivers will refuse to take anyone up there because of the risk of damaging their car (front-end car parts are expensive in Jamaica).
Once you get there though, it’s truly a sight to behold. You can tell you’re getting close with all the lush greenery and exotic flowers around you. If you’re into photography, make sure you have a fully charged battery and some space on your memory card.
Once you see the water, you’ll have nothing on your mind except jumping in. Now, I’m far from being the bravest soul out there. I don’t just go around jumping into pools of water without knowing what’s in it. But there’s something about how blue and clean this part of the river is that makes it inviting.
To get in, you have a few options. You can jump in from a point that’s about 6 feet above the water, or for you athletic folks, there’s a rope you can grab on to, and swing in like Tarzan. You can also climb down the rocks if you don’t feel like jumping but I recommend you jump. Once your toes feel how cold the water really is, the rest of your body will refuse to follow. Just jump in and get it over with.
Once you’re in, you’ll see a little cave that is somewhat hidden by the water coming down the rocks. That’s my little spot. Once you get inside, you can climb up on the rock and have a seat. It’s a very small area though. No more than maybe 3 people can fit at a time.
Once you’ve had enough of swimming around and jumping off the rocks, ask your guide where the falls are. It’s about a 7-10 minute hike from the blue hole. There’s a narrow trail that runs along the side of the river that will take you there.
I’ve never actually gone into the water by the falls but that’s because I’m usually so tired by the time I get there.
It’s pretty cool though and you’ll get some nice photos up there. Plus there’s a bar so you can grab a cold Red Stripe, or whatever your drink of choice is.
As much as I’d hate to see this place get too commercialized, I would recommend this as a must see when you’re in Jamaica. No large tour companies are going take you there though because it’s not an organized place. There’s no commission for them to earn off your entry, and there are no life guards there to rescue you (so don’t jump in if you cant swim).
What to bring:
Tip: About $10-$15 USD per person (there is no entrance fee; tip is based on what YOU want to pay)
Camera (waterproof preferable but not necessary)
Water shoes (recommended but not necessary)