Dunn's River Falls is one of Jamaica's national treasures, a famous waterfall near Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It is a major Caribbean tourist attraction that attracts thousands of visitors each year. It's fame is equivalent to how known reggae is all over the world, as well as equally stimulating.
About Dunn's River Falls
Dunn's River Falls has a height of approximately 1,000 feet (300 m). The waterfalls are terraced like giant stair steps of which some are man-made improvements. Several small lagoons are interspersed among the vertical sections of the falls.
Being rebuilt continuously from deposits of travertine rock (the result of precipitation of calcium carbonate) and sodium from the river water, geologists often describe the Dunn's River Falls as “a living phenomenon”. Thermal spring activity in the limestone caves usually associates the small dome-shaped cataracts. These characteristics, together with the fact that the waterfall actually empties directly into the sea (which is a trait found in only a very few waterfalls around the world), are the features that make the Dunn's River Falls the only one of its kind in the Caribbean, if not the world.
- Above: Tourists climb Dunn's River Falls, holding hands and following the direction of guides for safety (source). Original uploader was Breakyunit at en.wikipedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Below: Photos from Cool Runnings, Dunn's River Falls & Park, courtesy of TripAdvisor.
History of Dunn's River Falls
Dunn's River Falls has an interesting history. The Arawak formerly named Ocho Rios as the “Xayamaca”, which had meant “land of rivers and springs”. Later, the town was called the “Las Chorreras” by the Spanish, where the waterfalls or springs had made the area truly one of the most beautiful spots on the island.
The famous battle “Las Chorreras” is believed to have taken place at this waterfall. This battle was fought between the Spaniards and the English in 1657, in which both sides claim for possession of the island. The English had won, and Charles Pryce had first claimed ownership of the “Las Chorreras” under the British rule.
Over the years, the name “Las Chorerras” had been changed to “Ocho Rios”, which means “eight rivers”. However, the truth is that there are actually only four rivers in the area, namely, the Cave River, Roaring River, Turtle River, and Dunn's River. These rivers are characterized by clarity, unending flow and swift descent, punctuated by rapid cascades and waterfalls which pour directly into the Caribbean Sea.
Later, the area became part of the 276-acre Belmont property, and in the year 1972, the Government acquired this property in order to provide for future development of recreational and park facilities. It was entrusted to the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) for the people of Jamaica, and the Dunn's River Falls was then managed by the regional subsidiary of the UDC, St. Ann Development Company (SADCo). UDC an SADCo together aimed for the standard befitting a premier national attraction, and they have embarked on phased upgrading and development of the Dunn's River Falls Park.
The new Dunn's River Falls today features a mix of modern facilities with the rustic charm of a natural setting. Tourists can easily access the upper reaches of the falls through the construction of new roads. Increased parking and picnic facilities are also provided by the park, as well as terracing and decks, allowing tourists to enjoy a scenic views of the falls and the distant horizon.
Things to Do at Dunn's River Falls Park
There is a delightful new discovery around every corner of the Dunn's River Falls Park. It is a perfect environment for fun and relaxation for the entire family.
Above: These photos from Cool Runnings, Dunn's River Falls & Park are courtesy of TripAdvisor.
Climbing Up Dunn's River Falls
A very popular tourist activity in Ocho Rios Jamaica, climbing up the waterfalls is often performed by tourists with the help from the Dunn's River Falls and Park tour guides. Bordering the Dunn's River Falls is a lush, green vegetation that shades the tourist spot from the sun. With this, tourists are being kept cool as they try to climb the waterfall. And with relative ease, tourists can hike the falls in a hand-holding human chain formation which is usually led by a guide.
Watching the Sunset
As the sun sets to the west and gets engulfed by the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean sea, sun lovers can renew their pact with the Sun Goddess at the beach.
Jogging on the Beach / Walking the Property
Joggers and exercise buffs can include jogging on the beach or walking the property to their exercise routine.
Enjoying Mother Nature's Gifts
The lush tropical foliage of Dunn's River Falls is also a major attraction for nature lovers. Tourists can find ferns, bamboos, ginger lilies, croutons, orchids, a variety of palms and breadfruit trees.
Dunn's River Falls Souvenirs
Inside the Dunn's River Falls and Park in Ocho Rios, souvenir hunters can browse through the shops in the craft park for wood carvings, straw crafts, and intuitive arts. They can also commission their own piece, climb the falls, and collect it on their return.
Dunn's River Falls Cafeteria
The Cafeteria inside the park offers savory delights that can please any palate - from spicy jerked chicken, pork or fish and curried goat to delectable snacks. Tourists can also bring their own vittles and take advantage of the several barbecue pits around the park.