A visit to a waterfall should be a top priority on your Jamaican adventure because there are so many awe-inspiring waterfalls in Jamaica that will help you to create unforgettable memories with your loved ones. Jamaica is filled with rivers in our lush tropical mountain range that extends across the entire island.
Wherever in Jamaica you choose to visit, there’s a waterfall nearby. They provide beauty, adventure and the chance to connect with nature in its purest form. Some waterfalls can be climbed while others are there simply to dazzle you with their grandeur majesty. Some require a hike through thick brush before they reveal their wondrous marvel before your eyes while others are much easier to get to. Either way, they are all exquisite and there for your pleasure should you crave adventure and a refreshing dip in nature.
Top Ten Waterfalls in Jamaica
Today I will share with you my top 10 Jamaican waterfalls to explore. Some of these are hidden off the beaten path where the locals hang out away from the throng of visitors and some are famous worldwide for their spectacular beauty.
Check these off your list one by one as you travel through Jamaica.
Dunn’s River Falls
It would be remiss of me to not start with the obvious and most famous Jamaican waterfall of all. Dunn’s River deserves its place atop the throne as in my opinion it is indeed the best waterfall in Jamaica. Others may disagree but I think that comes from a place of familiarity as a Jamaican since we’re all used to it by now, perhaps having gone there so many times on school trips and church trips and random friend linkups and family visits.
Others are turned off by the crowds here and stay away but for me that is denying the beauty of this waterfall. It cascades over 600 ft and gets up to about 180 ft high making it the perfect gently rolling climb up in its cool, clear water. Stop along the way to snap beautiful photos against the backdrop of its glory and swim in the natural pools gathered at each level. It is a rare waterfall in that it empties out into the sea whereas most waterfalls are hidden deep within the hills.
That means you get the best of both worlds as you can swim and enjoy the beach with the beautiful waterfall as your backdrop. I can’t rave about this waterfall enough. It is a must when visiting Jamaica.
YS Falls in St. Elizabeth
YS Falls is on Jamaica’s south coast in St. Elizabeth and is comparable to Dunn’s River Falls for many because of it’s cascading nature. It’s not very climbable but it has steps that has been built alongside it to help you to get to the different levels where there are pools you can swim in. I wrote all about YS Falls and there’s video of me swinging into one of the pools. This is where I ziplined for the first time and I have yet to decide if I will ever do that again!
Make a day trip out of your time on the south coast with my list of other amazing things to do in St. Elizabeth.
Konoko Falls in Ocho Rios
Konoko Falls has the benefit of being right in St. Ann, close to a popular tourist resort area. It’s a beautiful botanical garden with a small zoo, a budgie petting and feeding area, a museum with art and artifacts from Jamaica’s indigenous people along with a waterfall that you can swim in and climb up a few terraces. The grounds are lush and beautiful, perfect for a picnic, wedding reception or a family reunion complete with space for games and hanging out.
Nanny Falls in Portland
Touring to Nanny Falls in Portland is still on my to-do list but it’s high up there. Nanny Falls is named after our only heroine, Nanny of the Maroons and is in Moore Town, Portland where some of our Maroons still live. Booking a tour here helps the economy of the small town as the people who live there are the ones who offer tours through their community and up to the falls. You will learn about the history of Nanny and the Maroons as you walk through the community and hike up to the waterfall with your friendly guide. This is a perfect ecotourism activity that goes directly to the locals.
This is another waterfall in Portland that is simply breathtaking. The image above is the mini falls that you’ll pass on your way to the main waterfall hidden in a partial cave of sorts. You can either swim upstream to see the main falls or take the complimentary boat ride to play under the force of the main waterfall. See pictures of that waterfall in my post all about Somerset Falls. There’s also a pool and kids play area by the cafe where you can relax, play around and make an entire day of your trip.
This list is about to be hijacked by all the amazing waterfalls in Portland so I will stop here and make this my last from the lushest parish in Jamaica. I again won’t speak much here as I have an entire post on Reach Falls complete with video of me jumping down the rabbit hole and into the underwater cave.
Reggae Falls is in St. Thomas and perhaps the only man-made waterfalls on this list. It’s created from a dam in the river which has given us this beautiful cascading waterfall to play in. I still have not yet made it here personally but it’s on the list!
Falling Edge Waterfall
I promised some waterfalls off the beaten path in this list that were frequented mostly by locals than tourists and this is one of those. Falling Edge Waterfalls is actually in St. Andrew making it a quick and accessible trip for those of us who live in the capital city of Kingston and surrounding St. Andrew.
I have not been here myself and that is because I’ve heard stories warranting caution when heading there and a lot of my travel is solo or with my munchkin in tow. If you seek this waterfall out, be sure to travel with a big group of friends. Go early and be alert of your surroundings always as it requires a hike through thick brush that can be the source of targeted attacks. It is absolutely beautiful though!
Hidden Portland Waterfall
I know I said I’d stop with the Portland waterfalls but I couldn’t possibly end this list without mentioning my amazing time at the Living Akashi Guesthouse. The property is quite remote, accessible only by rafting across the Rio Grande and a bit of a trek through the hills. It is completely off-grid and ran by an amazing woman offering a complete vegan experience and immersion in nature. My time there was amazing. I went as a part of a SimplyLocal group so I’ll let her tell you more about getting there.
Blue Hole St. Mary
I’m rounding out this list at Blue Hole in St. Mary which is another must-visit attraction in Jamaica. Check out my full Blue Hole blog post to see more pictures and video.
Breadnut Valley Falls
I’m giving an honorable mention to Breadnut Valley Falls seen below which is a private property where I attended an event so I’m honestly not sure if it’s open to public visitors. Everything I’ve seen through my research seems to have been organized by a tour guide or private event so you may want to reach out to a local tour guide to explore this beautiful property which has several natural river pools to swim in.
Those are the ones that made my list! What about you, which ones are you heading to and are there any that I left off? True waterfalls enthusiasts will also want to plan a trip to Costa Rica where there are even more waterfalls to explore! Here’s a handy Costa Rica itinerary to get you started.