When you think of Jamaica, what comes to mind? For most of us, it’s beaches, reggae music, and all-inclusive resorts. While these are undoubtedly part of the island’s charm, Jamaica has so much more to offer, particularly for those willing to venture beyond the gates of its all-inclusive resorts.
Jamaica is an adventure traveler’s paradise, especially if you’re a waterfall enthusiast. Many travelers head to destinations in Central America like Costa Rica’s La Fortuna, in search of waterfalls. With Jamaica’s rainforests, you can find plenty of green tropical exploration if you head inland.
In this post, we’ll swap the sound of beach waves for the gentle roar of Jamaica’s best waterfalls.
From the world-renowned Dunn’s River Falls to hidden gems like Kwame Falls, there are more than a dozen waterfalls to explore in Jamaica. Whatever area of the island you choose as your home base, you’re guaranteed to have a waterfall within reach.
Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping climb or a secluded spot for a peaceful swim, you can find it in Jamaica.
Are these waterfalls worth the beach break? Absolutely. These aren’t just any waterfalls; they’re the kind of experiences you’ll remember long after your tan fades.
So without further ado, let’s explore Jamaica’s best waterfalls.
Best Waterfalls in Jamaica
1. YS Falls
YS Falls offers a truly fantastic Jamaica waterfall experience. Located in Southwest Jamaica in Saint Elizabeth Parish, you can reach it from many of the main tourist hubs. YS Falls is about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Montego Bay or Negril, and just under an hour from one of the best Jamaica hotels for families, Jake’s Treasure Beach.
YS Falls is part of a park that can entertain the whole family for the day. You can swim in several natural pools, and there’s a zip line course that goes right over the falls! Because it’s a little farther than some of the other Jamaica waterfalls listed below, it remains less crowded.
There’s a restaurant and bar for lunch, a souvenir shop, and even a bookstore area at the entrance where you can find children’s books from local authors. There is a small entrance fee.
You know you’ve found a great spot when Jamaicans go there too, not just tourists. If you want a local experience, go to YS Falls on Sundays. That’s when many Jamaicans who live nearby come to spend their day of rest.
YS Falls is one of the top choices for a Montego Bay waterfall excursion in Jamaica.
2. Reach Falls
About 3 hours past Ocho Rios, past Port Antonio in the John Crow Mountain range, and all the way on Jamaica’s east coast, you’ll find Reach Falls. This is a waterfall for those who prefer to get off the beaten path and away from the normal tourist stops, to enjoy the island’s natural beauty.
This Jamaica waterfall is best explored by adventurous and fit travelers. An upstream hike through Jamaica’s greenery is required to get to the waterfall’s base. Once you arrive, you can swim in stunning emerald pools and even explore a hidden cave behind the falls.
Reach Falls is not a tourist hotspot, which means you can enjoy a more peaceful experience. That also means, however, that there are no restrooms or changing facilities.
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3. Mayfield Falls
Mayfield Falls is closer to many of Jamaica’s main resort hubs and is a great waterfall for kids. Whether you choose Negril or Montego Bay for your family vacation, you’ll be less than 90 minutes from Mayfield Falls. Despite its proximity, it’s still managed to stay off most tourists’ radar, making it another great stop for those looking to escape the tourist crowds.
Mayfield Falls boasts 21 small cascades and natural pools where swimming and playing are more than welcome. It’s more like a series of small cascades and rapids than a big waterfall, but in some ways that makes it even better for families traveling to Jamaica.
The unique aspect? Mayfield offers guided river walks, a different way to enjoy the falls.
4. Reggae Falls
Another great waterfall near Ocho Rios is Reggae Falls. This one is a lot taller than others on the list – a true falls. It’s not quite as attractive, though, hidden behind an old hydro facility often referred to as Damhead.
Swimming isn’t recommended here, but it’s a great location for picnics and to splash in shallow water. If you’re looking for an authentic Jamaican experience away from the commercial hustle, Reggae Falls could be a good stop for you. There are no bathrooms or other amenities here.
5. Ocho Rios Blue Hole
The next few waterfalls are all near Ocho Rios, which ought to be dubbed the top waterfall destination in Jamaica. The first, the Ocho Rios Blue Hole, is a versatile waterfall. While not as popular as Dunn’s River, it still attracts its share of visitors.
You can swim at the Blue Hole, but the real excitement comes from the cliff-jumping spots. It adds an adrenaline rush to the otherwise serene setting
6. Somerset Falls
Located in Portland, Somerset Falls is about a 1.5 hour drive east of Ocho Rios. It is one of the smaller waterfalls on this list, however it is still pretty and worth a quick visit.
More impressive though is the neighboring Hidden Falls. The unique feature is a cave-like grotto hidden behind the waterfall. You can swim in the water and even venture behind the waterfall to explore the grotto.
If you’re into discovering secret spots, this one’s for you.
7. Scatter Falls
Finally, Scatter Falls is so secluded that you won’t even find it on Google Maps. Search instead for the Berrydale Community outside Port Antonio, Jamaica. That’s where you’ll find the Rio Grande Valley and river, and these falls, which are mostly visited by Jamaicans, rather than tourists.
If you do happen to make your way here, you should also be sure to make a stop at Devon’s Coffee Tour and Ranch to taste some of Jamaica’s best coffee. A morning waterfall hike and a hot cup of coffee would make an incredible vacation morning.
8. Nanny Falls
Now let’s go a little further beyond Ocho Rios. Nanny Falls is over on Jamaica’s East Coast, close to Reach Falls. This secret waterfall in Mooretown, Portland, this is another off-the-grid jungle experience. It offers a peaceful environment for swimming.
It’s about a 20-minute walk through the jungle up to the falls – bring mosquito repellant. This Jamaica waterfall is named after Nanny of the Maroons, and if you find yourself a knowledgeable guide up to the falls, you’ll get a great little history lesson along the way.
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9. Konoko Falls
Konoko Falls is only about 5 minutes from Ocho Rios. It’s another big facility that offers families a full day of entertainment, including a botanical garden and even a small zee.
Swimming is available, and this is one of the few waterfalls in Jamaica that you can climb. It’s like Dunns River but on a smaller scale. It’s a good all-rounder for families.
10. Tacky Falls
Tacky Falls is in St. Mary Parish, roughly 1 hour east of Ocho Rios. It’s a proper waterfall in the jungle, not touristy at all. It’s peaceful and relaxing, but not ideal and swimming, and best found with a guide.
The journey is rewarding for those seeking solitude and untouched beauty. This waterfall is for the adventurous traveler who doesn’t mind going off-grid.
11. Kwame Falls
Our final waterfall near Ocho Rios, Kwame Falls is about an hour east. It requires a long hike to reach, close to two hours. It is well worth it for the stunning sea views, so if you’re looking for a hike on your Jamaica vacation, this may be the Jamaica waterfall for you. You can swim in the waterfall once you arrive to cool off.
12. Benta Falls
Located in Westmoreland, Benta Falls is approximately 1.5 hours south of Montego Bay. This lesser-known waterfall offers an authentic Jamaican experience with fewer crowds than YS Falls or Dunn River Falls, but with some amenities and entertainment. It’s near Mayfield Falls.
You can swim, and hike, and there’s also a rope swing. The setting is rustic and uncommercialized, making it a perfect spot for travelers seeking a more relaxed atmosphere. You can also indulge in a limestone scrub and have lunch.
13. Dunns River Falls
Located right near Ocho Rios, Dunn’s River Falls is also about a 2-hour drive from Montego Bay. This is the most famous waterfall in Jamaica, and it’s near many resorts. It’s often bustling with visitors eager to climb the falls.
Swimming is not just an option; it’s a part of the experience, especially in the terraced pools. The unique feature here is the human chain led by a guide that helps you climb the falls. All of the stairs are built naturally by the flow of the water.
Yes, it’s crowded, but for many, it’s a must-do when in Jamaica.
Because of the popularity of this Jamaica waterfall, an entire experience has been built around it. You’ll find a zipline, a kids’ splash pad, and an adjacent beach for relaxing. They even do weddings! Needless to say, you could easily spend the entire day here.
14. Cane River Falls
One of only two waterfalls in Kingston on this list, Cane River Falls is just outside Jamaica’s capital. If you’re on the island for work, it might offer you a quick excursion to feel like you’ve fit in some personal time.
This is definitely off the beaten path, making it a hit among locals. You can swim here, and the tranquil setting makes it ideal for those seeking peace and quiet. It’s a bit of a journey but well worth it for the serenity.
15. Roselle Falls
Found in St. Thomas Parish, just off the roadside, Roselle Falls is also near the city of Kingston. Very few tourists make their way to this part of Jamaica. But if you do, go out of your way to stop here.
What sets Roselle Falls apart is its location right off the road, and also its vantage point overlooking the sea! It’s a two-for-one deal of sea views and freshwater swimming. Roselle Falls is an easy to stop to make as a drive-by for a quick splash.