Today we set our sights on hiking Dunn River Falls, and that is pretty much all we did!
We knew the entrance fee to Dunn River Falls was $20, which we thought would be a good deal. However, if we had took a cab or tour bus for $10 apiece each direction… ? Forty dollars each? Naw.That’s why decided to hike the 3.2 miles each way. The walk to the falls was both beautiful and stressful.
We came across several places where the jungle parted enough to allow gorgeous views of the ocean at the base of the cliffs of the north shore. The soft sands below were beckoning to us to set foot on their velvet smooth expanses. The photos below are from the hike between Ocho Rios and Dunn River Falls.
As my cousin Pat warned me before we left the states, “Jamaican drivers can be hazerdous to your health!”
We saw several near miss accidents and felt very uncomfortable walking on the roadside, sometimes inches from the edge of the road. At times we had to run around illegally parked cars, some jutting right into the lane frequented by drivers on the verge of being out of control!
The other stressful times were the result of the occasional roadside merchants harassing us to buy their fruit, drinks, fish, drugs, and many other items.
Our plan had been to attend the Dunn River Falls today since we had heard only one cruise ship was supposed to be docked. But when we looked out our window this morning we saw two new ships.
I think most of those ship passengers arrived at Dunn River Falls around 12:30, about a half hour before we did.
Here is my rationale on their arrival time. The parking lot was packed with tour busses but the ticket line was very short.
After obtaining said tickets we found ourselves at the rear of a line one hundred yards long and six people wide.
Although I found the grounds stunning my pleasure was tempered by the anxiety I felt sandwiched between many of the hundreds in the massive line.
Thankfully Cindy overheard someone say the line was only for visitors who needed a guide.
We quickly decided we didn’t need guide services and walked past all those people only to get into the locker line.
Getting the Large locker only took about 10 minutes and cost $7 … well worth it!
Dunn River Falls is actually a continuous set of small waterfalls rising a couple hundred yards from the beach.
We hiked up the falls twice. The first trip was fun but crowded! People with bad balance or who lacked confidence held hands and formed slug-speed chains often blocking any passing route. The Jamaican guides often led these chains, and stopped to help extra needy people in their chain or what some guides called their “Team.”
The guides work for free but will take any tips offered at the end. Also, several employees take photos and videos to sell to visitors before they leave.
Most of the rocks were light in color and offered good traction. A dark rock meant it was covered with algae and therefore slippery.
The water seemed pretty cool at first but we soon grew accustomed to it. We found several pools to lay down in, and finished this first run in about an hour.
After we consumed a snack we got out of our locker we were ready to take another run at rushing water. This time Cindy decided to stay out and take photos from the decks which frequented the banks of Dunn River Falls.
Kayley, Sandra, and I made short work of the trek the second time, finishing in thirty minutes. We had learned a few things about where to climb and we found the population down about a half (the huge number of people who had arrived a half hour before us were making their way to their tour bus). Since all three of us have some rock climbin experience we climbed up the face of the falls instead of circling around the sides (where all the other people were chained together).
The walk back from Dunn River Falls to Ocho Rios was just as hectic and just as gorgeous as our earlier one in the opposite direction.
This time I remembered to start the gps app on my phone to get an accurate reading on the mileage.
Check out my 3.3 mi Walk on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/525080512
Once in Ocho Rios we headed straight to a cafe for a much anticipated “Linner.”
In conclusion, Dunn River Falls has been the best activity we could afford so far in Jamaica. We refuse to pay $150 for one bobsled run, $120 for one slide on a wire, or fork out $131 to touch a dolphin … and yes, these are US dollars!
Tomorrow I get to go mountain biking … I can’t wait to see how that stacks up.