Thank you to Carnival for hosting me onboard the Carnival Splendor featuring Carnival LIVE with Sam Hunt. This post was not required and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
One of the most popular stops for any Ocho Rios port call is Dunn’s River Falls. Located a short drive from the cruise port, Dunn’s River Falls is a fun and challenging excursion. Here are a few tips to make your visit to Dunn Rivers Falls even better.
Six Tips for Hiking Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Wear water shoes
You can not hike the falls in sneakers or flip flops, and you wouldn’t want to even if you could. Your feet are submerged in water the entire time. You will be asked to purchase water shoes if you do not have your own. And while the shoes only cost $10 and make a fun souvenir, I highly recommend purchasing your own pair of water shoes ahead of time. (I puchased these water shoes from Amazon and they were great. They have a bit of tread on the bottom and the water can drain out of the bottom, too.)
Share a locker
If you’re going with a group, share a locker. We were able to fit the gear for our entire group in one locker. Lockers are available for rent just inside the park. They’re large lockers with wooden doors and padlocks. One person will be responsible for keeping track of the padlock key. I suggest wearing it on your wrist or upper arm or placing it in a zippered pocket. You’ll receive a portion of your rental fee back when you return the lock at the end of the day.
Bring a waterproof camera
Despite what you may read online, you are allowed to take photos during the hike. There will be plenty of times your group will stop for photos, and our guide was more than happy to snap pictures for us.
Of course, your group will also include an official videographer/photographer, and you’re not obligated to purchase the disk. We were offered a disk for $40 and declined.
Don’t have a waterproof camera? This waterproof phone pouch from Amazon worked perfectly. My phone stayed dry and I got some fabulous pictures. (You can not use a selfie stick or mounted camera.)
If you’re doing Dunn’s River Falls as part of an excursion, you’ll be greeted by someone when you get off of your bus. They walk you into the park and “hand you off” to the park guides so you’re not charged a seperate admission into the park. They will then pick you up at the end of your tour and tips are greatly encouraged. You’ll also want to tip your falls guide and photographer.
As you’re leaving the falls area, you’ll be forced to walk through a marketplace. You are NOT obligated to purchase anything in this area. Simply say “no thank you” and keep walking towards the exit. The shop owners will try to get you to shake their hands or give them a high five…unless you want to spend money, keep walking! If they grab your hands, you will get pulled into their store so they can present a hard sell. We simply smiled, said “no thank you”, and kept walking.
Be ready for a workout
This is not a simple hike by any means. You’ll be climbing up rocks in rushing water. You’ll be submerged up to your chest at times. You need to be able to bend down and stretch up. The rocks are slippery and you can’t always tell what you’re stepping on. My leg fell directly into a hole, which did not feel the least bit fantastic. We saw quite a few people with bloody knees. There are exit areas all along the route, so if it proves to be a bit too intense, you can always end your hike early.
But the good news? Once you’re done, you can dry off, head back to your ship, and celebrate with a cold Red Stripe.
Get ready to make some friends
We had a fairly large group for our excursion, but even so, we were paired up with some people we didn’t know. You’ll be helping each other up and down the rocks. And yes, you’ll be holding hands for part of the hike. If you’re not a people person, this hike may not be for you. You’ll be cheering and laughing and singing and it will be an amazing time.
Bonus tip: Make a day of it
There will be several types of excursions which include a stop at Dunn’s River Falls. Choose one that includes some other stops as well. The falls portion of the hike took us around two hours from bus ride there to bus ride back to the ship. Our excursion also included a stop at Mystic Mountain with a ride up (and down) their SKY EXPLORER chair-lift and a ride in their “Jamaican Bobsled” (an alpine coaster.)
The trip up (and down) the SKY EXPLORER was breathtaking. The views were something out of a dream and we saw lots of different rainforest creatures (including lots of huge spiders.)
Once we reached the top, we did the alpine “bobsled” ride, which was exhilarating. There’s also a little museum, restaurant, pool with water slide (bring your own towel), and gift shop. It was the perfect way to kick off our day before our falls hike. (The cold Red Stripes didn’t hurt, either.)
Carnival offers lots of different combinations of excursions in Ocho Rios, Jamaica that include a stop at Dunn’s River Falls. No matter which tour you choose, I know you’ll have the time of your life going “all the way up” the falls. This was truly one of the most amazing days of my life, and I know you’ll love it, too.