Visiting the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios has become one of my recent favorite things to do in Jamaica. It’s a place where you can truly let down your hair while enjoying the beautiful scenery and bask in a watery paradise that will leave you feeling stress-free and rejuvenated.
My first time visiting was quite accidental as I didn’t know about the place.
I have heard about the Blue Hole near Negril, Westmoreland, but was not aware of one being in Ocho Rios as well.
I remember stumbling upon it while doing a Google search for top attractions in Jamaica and after reading some reviews on Trip Advisor, I decided I had to visit.
What can I say, it was totally worth it! With that said, this is an experience I believe anyone visiting Jamaica should have too. And since I’m now what you could call a ‘Blue Hole connoisseur,’ it is my duty to let you know how best to explore and enjoy this little piece of paradise.
Before you go
If you’re familiar with the term ‘off the beaten path,’ that is the first impression you will have of the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, because it’s not as well-known as some of the more popular attractions such as Dunn’s River Falls.
As such, you don’t have to worry too much about there being a lot of crowd, except for days when there are cruise ships stopping over in Ocho Rios.
Also, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Blue Hole is not a registered tourist attraction, so there is no protection or coverage against any injuries that could occur.
- There are no medical facilities for miles around.
- There are no public restrooms or fancy amenities that you would find at other tourist attractions.
So, why should you visit? Because of the once-in-a-lifetime experience that awaits you, of course. Plus, there haven’t been any reports of anyone getting seriously injured over the years since the Blue Hole has been in operation.
Getting to the Location
No matter where in the world you’re visiting from, it’s easy to enjoy the best that Blue Hole in Ocho Rios has to offer. The best way is to organize a tour with the hotel you will be staying at, or with one of the tour companies.
Be prepared to do some walking. Once your bus leaves the main road, it will eventually lead to a track, so you can’t drive all the way in. The walk up the hill will all be worth it once you get to your destination.
Now, even though the attraction is not commercialized, you will be required to pay an entrance fee. Last time I checked it was US$15. You may also choose to walk with extra cash to tip the guides, as well as to purchase refreshments, such as coconut water or Red Stripe Beer, which can be sourced by the tour guides.
It’s also a good idea to wear a sturdy pair of shoes for hiking, you will need it especially for the 7-minute walk to where the falls are (this is an experience you don’t want to miss). Oh, and be sure to bring a working camera along as there will be plenty of photo ops.
What to expect at Blue Hole
Getting to the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios is a little rough but worth the trek. For the best (and safest) experience, I recommend accepting assistance from one of the tour guides. They are not only highly knowledgeable about the safest places to walk; they can also help you find the best diving and swimming spots.
Upon arrival, you will be quickly pulled in by the beauty of the deep, aqua-blue water and the complementary surrounding shrubbery. Of course, you will want to enjoy the water right away. Now, there are several ways to do this, but I recommend that you dive right in, even if you’re not the adventurous type. There are different levels of height from which to dive from, so you can actually choose your level of comfort.
The reason I suggest diving in is because the water can get pretty cold; attempt to walk in and the sheer nippiness of it on your skin might scare you off. Dive in, on the other hand, and you and the water immediately become one. In addition to jumping off from many diving spots along the banks, you can also swing off into it using overhead ropes. You know, just like what you see in those Tarzan movies.
Whatever you do, there’s nothing to fear from landing in the water. I was a bit concerned that there might be hidden rocks below the surface, but my tour guide assured me that the water was more than deep enough; up to more than 15 feet in some places.
After enjoying yourself in this natural diving and swimming pool, you would probably think the fun is over, but nope. There is more in store, although you have to hike for it. It’s actually about seven minutes worth of hiking up a hill, partly through the forest and then climbing over some rocks as you go further up the river. Things might get a little bumpy, but that’s where following your tour guide comes in.
He’ll tell you exactly where to step, so that you can continue on safely, as you get closer to the main waterfall. The tour guides are also quick to tell stories, offer refreshments, and even some freshly-picked fruits from trees growing nearby that will help to take your mind off the journey.
The main waterfall was actually the best part of visiting Blue Hole for me and I found out that it is for many other people, because of the heightened fun factor. There are numerous ways to have fun here, like chilling out in the under-waterfall cave and climbing out through a tunnel on the other side; or taking turns running and then diving off the top of the falls into the deep waters below (good way to skyrocket your adrenaline). Or just climbing the falls and wading in the bubbly pools along the way. Whatever you want to do is up to you, but it will be ton loads of fun and lots of opportunities for awesome pictures that you can take back and show off to your friends. Trust me; they will definitely be envious.
Blue Hole in Ocho Rios is one of the best places to have a lot of fun while visiting Jamaica. In fact, it was recently ranked as the number one attraction in the tourist city by Trip Advisor. I can’t wait to visit again. Hope to see you there.