Visiting the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios is one of the most fun 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.
With that said, this is an experience I believe anyone visiting Jamaica should have too.
Attraction Rating Guide
|Family Friendly:||( 3 / 5)|
|Price Friendly:||(5 / 5)|
|Kids Friendly:||(2.5 / 5)|
|Staff Friendly:||(4 / 5)|
|Activity Friendly:||(3.5 / 5)|
|Wheel Chair Accessible:||( 1 / 5)|
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. There’s also things I should let you know about (since I’m keeping this review 100% honest).
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 crowdes, except for days when there are cruise ships stopping over in Ocho Rios.Now there are actually 3 different areas within the vicinity that claim to give you the “authentic” Blue Hole experience. As you turn off onto the dirt track you’ll notice some guys in blue shirts asking if you’re going to Blue Hole. They take you to a lower level of the attraction but I’ve been told if you go with them you won’t get the “best experience.”
As you continue and travel along pass the power station and up the dirt track you’ll come across a trailer which says “Blue Hole.” This is the one I went to and the one many recommend.
Now, if you pass this trailer and head further up the dirt road, you’ll come across the official, “tourist-board recognized” Blue Hole called “Island Gully Falls.” It’s a much more fancy, “touristy” area than the previous two.
Apparantly there’s a lot of “politics” regarding which is the original and if you ask a tour guide from each area they will claim they were there first.
Also, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Blue Hole (at least the one we went to) is not a registered tourist attraction, so there is no protection or coverage against any injuries that could occur. You have to sign a waiver before going on the tour.
- There are no medical facilities close by.
- It’s a 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.
About the Guides – Good and Bad
For the most part, the guides are professional and courteous. They come highly trained and know the “do’s” and don’ts” at blue hole. They must be commended for that.
A Big NO-NO!...
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.
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. If you’re not a swimmer, life jackets are available.
There are different levels of height from which to dive from, so you can actually choose your level of comfort.
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. If you’re not comfortable swimming or being in the water (even with a life jacket) you may not want to dive in. But it’s up to you.
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 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. Hope you consider giving it a shot.