The 10 Best Eye-Dazzling Natural Attractions in Jamaica You Can't Miss (Part 1)
Updated: 4 days ago
Jamaica Attractions, Jamaican People, Best Beaches
Known as the "birthplace of reggae," Jamaica will charm you with its cinematic sunsets; postcard-precision beaches; turquoise seas; lush, green mountains; colorful coral reefs; fascinating rainforests; and calming rivers. In this amazing Caribbean paradise you will understand what true happiness is. Ready for a good dose of splendor?
Nature lovers will find plenty of things to do in Jamaica. You can hike and bird-watch in the jungle, or dive and snorkel along the fringing reefs. Jamaica is also renowned for its many historic plantations, where you can sample tropical fruits and tour the grand great houses.
Lively Montego Bay is one of the most popular resort towns. Ocho Rios is the island's major port of call for cruise ships, and Negril is famous for its long and lazy beach lined with clear waters and coconut palms. Ecotourists love peaceful Port Antonio, thanks to its proximity to the spectacular Blue Mountains.
I am Jamaican and I love the experience of visiting Jamaica’s natural attractions such as Frenchman’s Cove Resort Beach. Last Saturday, I visited there, and the beauty, the splendor, the tranquility of the Beach gave me such a boost and refreshing that I will make time to visit our attractions regularly and I invite you to do so too… Nourish your body and soul!
Dunn’s River Falls
Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica’s most beautiful spots on the island. Dunn’s River Falls is Jamaica’s most famous water attraction and is also renowned worldwide. Join in on the fun and join hands to be part of a human chain to ascend the slopes of this magnificent 600-feet waterfall. This is the perfect tour to help you relax and unwind in the refreshing water of the waterfall and create lasting memories. With this tour, you can be splashing in the gorgeous lagoons and waterfalls of Dunn's River while enjoying diving off into the deeps of the river.
Dunn's River falls is the historical site of the Spanish-named “Las Chorreras” battle, fought between the Spanish and English in 1657 for ownership of Jamaica. “Las Chorreras” translates to “The Waterfalls” or “The Springs” in English, tying the battle to the falls forever.
Dunn's River Falls is a spectacular White River waterfall near Ocho Rios in Jamaica, where cold mountain water cascades 1,000 feet (300 meters) down terraced steps. Those interested in geology will be fascinated with the way the world-famous falls renew themselves via regular deposits of calcium carbonate and sodium. Movie buffs will recognize the falls from films such as ‘Dr. No’ and ‘Cocktail.’ While there’s plenty of swimming, sunbathing, and sightseeing opportunities at the falls, many visitors make it a goal to climb the 600-foot (182-meter) terraced falls. You can do so with a waterfall guide on a Dunn's River Falls tour.
On the climb, stop at one of the lagoons, admire the natural wonder from the top, and be sure to take a dip to cool off. Families will enjoy the swim; the water is mountain runoff and fairly cold, which is perfect on particularly hot days. The site is also close to Ocho Rios' land and sea attractions, restaurants, and the Caribbean coast. Many Dunn's River Falls tours combine a visit to the falls and park with river tubing, or a shopping tour in Ocho Rios, or a stop at the Blue Hole or Luminous Lagoon. Those who don’t wish to climb the falls can hang out at the observation deck, made for sunning and viewing. You’ll find a snack bar and souvenirs for sale on the premises.
What to Bring
Wear water shoes or sandals suitable for the slippery rocks. Bring cash for entrance fees (if visiting independently) and a waterproof camera.
How far is it from Montego Bay to Dunn’s River Falls?
From Montego Bay to Dunn’s River Falls it is about 103 miles (166km). From Ocho Rios it is 2.7 miles (4.3 km), from Negril it is 107.5 miles (173 km), from Falmouth it is 43.2 miles (69.5 km), and from Port Antonio it is 65 miles (106.2 km).
Best Time to Visit
While it's a rapidly growing resort area and a popular cruise line excursion stop, the falls are relatively unspoiled, the hiking is spectacular, and both the wildlife and the rainforest foliage are abundant.
When to Get There
First thing in the morning is your best bet at this popular tourist attraction. If you can avoid a day when cruise ships are in town, you'll be glad you thought ahead.
How Long Does it Take to Climb the Falls?
It takes about 1 - 1.5 hours to climb with short breaks for photographs and video recordings taken by the guides. There are also stairs alongside of the falls for those who do not want to get wet, or are unable to manage the rocky, uneven terrain of the actual waterfall.
If you are not a Jamaican resident, admittance to Dunn's River Falls is about US$20 per person, ages 12 and up, while admittance for children 3 to 11 years is about US$12. Jamaican residents pay J$600 per person 12 years and up, and J$300 if the child is 3 to 11 years old.
Glistening Waters, Falmouth
Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon is one of the most incredible spots in the world and the only natural night-time attraction in Jamaica. Embark on a remarkable boat tour out onto the bay and witness the bio-luminescent phenomenon that will leave you with lasting memories. Enjoy our delicious Jamaican restaurant, our hotel and be sure to experience our Luminous Lagoon tour while visiting the Falmouth area.
This natural wonder is a phosphorescent lagoon, where guests are taken on a beautiful night time boat cruise along the bay. When disturbed, the micro-organisms in the water glow and create an eerie, glistening light. This phenomenon is said to only occur in a handful of places around the world, with Jamaica being one of the brightest and most illuminating of all!
There is a scientific explanation to what goes on here, but come see for yourself and experience this wonder. Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon is one of the most luminescent spots in the world to witness such a crazy phenomenon.
Starting every day, nightly at sunset, we offer Our Famous Boat Tours of the Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon!
What should I wear to Luminous Lagoon?
If you plan to take a dip, wear a swimsuit under a comfy outfit that’s easy to put on and take off. The water’s floor is muddy I’ve been told, so water shoes would probably be ideal. Also, remember to carry a towel.
How long is the boat tour?
Each tour is about 30 – 45 minutes. You have the option to swim in the glowing area, but if not your tour guide will likely demonstrate the glow.
How deep is the Luminous Lagoon?
The swimming area is about 4 – 5 feet deep.
When are bad times to visit Luminous Lagoon?
Rainfall and full moons dull the glistening waters’ glow, so if these are experienced during your visit, the bioluminescence may not be impressive. Jamaica’s rainy seasons falls between June and November, and August to October.
Tours of the Luminous Lagoon cost US$25 for adults, US$12.50 for children under 12 years.
Glistening Waters Hotel & Attraction is located approximately 40 minutes (37km) East of Montego Bay, and 1 hour 22 minutes (64km) West of Ocho Rios. We are located in the town of Falmouth, Trelawny right off the Main Highway (A1) that heads between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.
We can arrange private VIP transportation for you and your party to our location from anywhere on the island. We also are happy to offer "FREE transportation for guests of 6 or more" to Glistening Waters Hotel & Attraction for tours.
Animal Farm & Nature Reserve (Eco-Adventure)
Animal Farm and Nature Reserve invites you to choose your own adventure:
Farm tour featuring exotic birds like the "Rasta fowl," animal interactions, and petting zoo.
Nature and culture tours, including hiking, birdwatching & bamboo river rafting
Cozy eco-cottages available on Airbnb, run on solar energy and true Jamaican hospitality.
If you are a nature enthusiast, animal lover, or outdoor adventurer of any age, Animal Farm & Nature Reserve is a must-do when in the Montego Bay region. A 30-minute drive off the beaten path will land you in the luscious Montpelier Hills alongside the Great River, where a world of fun, relaxation, and adventure awaits you.
Tour the farm to see exotic birds and other animals (rabbits, pigs, a cow), hand-feed budgies and lovebirds in the aviary, and learn about Jamaican culture and history. Discover local flora and fauna in cultivated gardens and on wild trails under the canopy of the natural forest. Swim and explore the river on a bamboo raft. A playground for children, a meditation den, picnic tables and gazebos, and more. To top it all off, you can extend your stay overnight in eco-cottages offered on Airbnb. Nestled in the trees, you will likely spend most of the time on the balcony soaking in the view.
At the heart of this family-run, solar-powered small business is the dedicated team that runs it, and our charm lies in the wide variety of unique offerings that allow you to choose your own adventure. An unforgettable experience is awaiting you!
What to Bring
Walking shoes/sneakers, sun protection, insect repellant, swimwear (optional), snacks.
How to Book
Book a tour via the website's tour page, through a Facebook or Instagram message, or by phone. Pay on location or by PayPal.
· Website: www.animalfarmjamaica.com
· Phone: 876-899-0040
Book with code “JaSoNice-Promo" to receive:
- 10% off the Farm Tour or Nature & Culture Tour
- 15% off any Copse Valley Organic Produce product (quail eggs, quail meat, and more).
Rio Grande Rafting
The Rio Grande river, found in the parish of Portland was named by the Spanish when they occupied Jamaica in the 15th and 16th centuries. One of the largest rivers in Jamaica, it was named "Big River" (Rio Grande) by the Spanish.
Rio Grande Rafting, a world-renowned attraction is described as peaceful, tranquil, and romantic. Originally the river was used as a means of transporting banana crops from the local plantations to the bustling harbor. The rafting tours are now a popular leisure activity once championed by the likes of Hollywood idol Errol Flynn. Legend has it that Flynn enjoyed gathering his well-heeled guests for midnight rafting excursions under a canopy of stars. Today, the Rio Grande River Rafting is one of the most popular attractions for visitors to Port Antonio.
The rafts are made up of long bamboo logs bound together to make your raft about 4 feet wide and about 25 to 30 feet long. An elevated “loveseat” or “lounge chair”, also made from bamboo, provides seating for the passengers. A skilled, licensed Raft Captain will take you down the river while you relax and absorb the beauty of Portland. Your Captain may regale you with local lore and information about flora and fauna of the area.
How Far is the Rio Grande from Montego Bay?
The Rio Grande is situated 3 hours 10 minutes (192.2 km) East from Montego Bay; 4 hours 25 minutes (269.2 km) North East of Negril; 1 hour 38 minutes (92.0 km) East of Ocho Rios; and 18 minutes (9.8 km) via Boundbrook and West St in Port Antonio.
When Can I Raft and How Long is the Tour?
The Rio Grande Rafting Tour is available 7 days a week. Each raft carries 2 adults and 1 small child. The tour begins at “Rafters Rest” and offers a 2 - 3 hour excursion down one of Jamaica’s longest rivers.
Rio Grande Rafting (9 am to 4 pm daily, at US$100/raft) is a much-touted attraction controlled by the Tourism Product Development Corporation, operating along the banks of the wide and gentle Rio Grande River.
What to Bring
For this tour, visitors should dress comfortably and be sure to pack swimwear, towel and sunscreen. Waterproof phone covers would also come in handy.
Frenchman’s Cove Resort
Frenchman’s Cove Resort, located 5 miles (8 km) from Port Antonio is one of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica. The Frenchman’s Cove beach is part of the Frenchman’s Cove Resort; a private estate that is a popular destination for weddings, honeymoons and other special events.
The beach boasts miles of beautiful, white sand and turquoise waters that have attracted visitors to Jamaica for decades. Once a popular hangout spot for the Hollywood “rich and famous” in the 1960’s, its guests included Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Today Frenchman’s Cove is home to European tourists and locals who value the quiet scenic beauty of Portland.
The world-famous Frenchman’s Cove Beach is located on the eastern side of the island in the Portland parish, east of Port Antonio. Situated far from the busy tourist towns like Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, it is the ideal spot for nature lovers and relaxation. The beach, often referred to as Paradise, boasts 42 acres of grounds with villas throughout.
Surrounded on both sides by vegetated rocky cliffs, the stunning contrast between the green forests and cobalt sky and ocean makes this place special. The films “Lord Of The Flies” and “Knight And Day” were filmed on the beach, showcasing both the beauty and wildness of the area. While you’re nearby, make sure to check out Blue Lagoon, another of Jamaica’s most beautiful spots.
Frenchman’s Cove was once a part of the Cold Harbour Estate. The 48-acre property was purchased by Garfield Weston, who became enamored with its idyllic charm and unspoiled beauty. Frenchman’s Cove Resort is named after Frenchmen who took refuge there after an explosive battle between the British and the French near the Cove.
What makes this beach so unique is the river that meets the ocean – such a sight to see! The sand is soft and white and the water is crystal clear. You can choose to swim in the very calm river or the ocean. The ocean water can get wavy and rough at times after swimming, you can take a break in the river or relax on the beach.
Once you are finished relaxing on the sandy beach, a few steps away, you are able to rinse off in the pure river water. Don’t be surprised if you are swimming amongst tiny fish. Just take this time to relax and enjoy the small and secluded jungle. Children and adults can enjoy the swing that hangs above the river.
The Perfect Location for a Caribbean Wedding
The Frenchman’s Cove Resort makes the idyllic setting for a dream wedding. Its beautiful world-famous beach can be hired for your ceremony and reception. Frenchman’s Cove Resort can also recommend excellent local caterers, whilst its villas make the perfect accommodation for guests.
The beach is accessed directly off the northeastern coast road, just east of Port Antonio. Nearby hotels include Frenchman’s Cove Resort, Moon San Villa at the Blue Lagoon, Trident Hotel, Hotel Tim Bamboo and Great Huts Resort.
The distance between Montego Bay and Frenchman's Cove Resort is 3hours 48minutes (64 km). From Negril, it is 4 hours 52 minutes (286.3 km). From Ocho Rios, Frenchman’s Cove Resort is about 2 hours 6 minutes (109.1 km) East.
Food and drinks are served on the beach. There’s a selection of Jamaican jerk chicken, steam fish, burgers, fries, rice, etc. Many agree that the price is reasonable, especially when served with a warm smile. There are many chairs available on the beach for rent.
No topless bathing here as Frenchman’s Cove Resort is very family-friendly.
Frenchman’s Cove Resort welcomes visitors to spend the day and passes can be purchased at the reception. For international guests a day pass costs US$10 or J$1000. Local guests (with valid identification) are charged at a rate of J$800. Children below the age of 12 years old can enter for half price. Lounge chairs can be rented for J$200 each. Free Wifi is available in the main buildings across the estate including the Reception, Great House and Beach Bar.
Recommended Transportation/Tour Company
For a fun experience, discover Jamaica with Island Transfer and Tours, a family-owned business with over 10-years of experience serving travelers with private airport transfers and excursions. Are you a thrill seeker, nature lover, or laidback traveler? Island Transfer and Tours offers you excursions to suit your desires -from scenic beaches; picturesque waterfalls; pristine lagoons; lush, green mountains; and enthralling rainforests … Jamaica has plenty of things to do.
Island Transfer and Tours boast a dedicated team of professional drivers and tour guides who serve you well. They are a Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Registered Ground Transportation Company in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Island Transfer and Tours offers pick up from Donald Sangster International (Montego Bay) and Norman Manley International (Kingston) with drop off at any of Jamaica's fabulous hotels, villas or guest houses.
Island Transfer and Tours is offering a promotion with 10% off the cost of private transportation in Jamaica. Use coupon code bustour10off – book at www.itransfertourist.com.
This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
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Jacqueline Cameron is an editor/writer with years of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.