Jamaica’s Best Natural Attraction: The Ocho Rios Blue Hole

Cover photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, also known as the ‘cool blue hole’, is a magnificent place for swimming. Far from an ordinary swimming pool, the Blue Hole is formed by nature and combined with the most mesmerizing waterfall. Just a glimpse of this natural wonder will take your breath away. Its beauty may even make you crazy enough to jump off the edge, right into the turquoise waters of this pure, hidden gem of Jamaica.

The Blue Hole in Jamaica gets its name from the surreal color of its water. This spot attracts cliff divers, nature lovers, and thrill-seekers of all varieties. The site is even more appealing because, just a short hike away, you can find another waterfall, more natural pools, and rope swings that will catapult you into this most liberating experience.

Expert tip: The Blue Hole is only one of the 34 exciting things to do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Don't forget to check out Dunn's River Falls while you're there!

Before you plan your incredible Blue Hole adventure in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, here’s all you need to know:

Blue Hole Ocho Rios

Photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

Things to do at the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios

Swinging from vines, admiring the breathtaking views, jumping into the stunningly blue waters, climbing the rock face, and letting go of your worries can all be a part of your thrilling day spent at the Jamaica Blue Hole. Here are some of the fun things you’ll be able to do while you’re there:

Jump in, step in, cliff jump, or use the rope swing


Cover photo credit: Nazar Skladanyi/Shutterstock.com

The Blue Hole is undoubtedly one of those places where you can let your inner child out. Explore and make the most of your time in Jamaica by taking full advantage of the rope swings, and trying a cliff jump into the natural pools in this area. That is, if you think you’re brave enough!

First-time cliff jumpers might need a bit of convincing, but once you take that first big leap you’re sure to be back again for more. The water in the swimming hole is clear and cool. It is also rich in minerals. The main natural pool in this area is quite deep, so you don’t have to worry while jumping in using the rope swings or free-falling from the surrounding cliffs. Pay attention to the instructions from the tour guides who’re usually on hand, and you’ll be able to make the most of this experience while staying safe.

Expert tip: If you’re interested in cliff Jumping in Jamaica, here’s what you need to know before going for that big jump.

Hike to the Secret Falls


Cover photo credit: Nazar Skladanyi/Shutterstock.com

Not only can you see waterfalls and bathe in the famously rejuvenating waters of Blue Hole, you’ll also have hiking opportunities you can participate in while on your excursion. Expert hiking skills aren’t required as it’s only about a 10-minute hike along the river to get to the Secret Falls, also known as Island Gully Falls. While short, the hike to the waterfall is quite scenic, with lots of natural swimming pools, rope swings, and cliff jumping opportunities along the way if you’re feeling adventurous.

What to expect when you arrive

Entrance fees

Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of $20 USD to access the Blue Hole in Jamaica. Children pay half price for entry ($10 USD). Many tour prices already include the cost of entry to the Blue Hole, but you should verify this with your resort or tour operator during the booking process.

Lockers, bathrooms, and other amenities

Once you arrive for your Blue Hole adventure in Jamaica, you can store your clothing, shoes, and personal items in one of the lockers on the property for safekeeping. With free hands and no worries, you’ll be able to climb, swim, dive and explore to your heart’s content. Locker rentals cost just $2 USD each. Bathrooms and changing rooms are also on-site in case you’d like to change into your swimsuit when you get there or change out of your wet clothing later.

Food & drinks

One of the closest restaurants to the Blue Hole is Linda’s Jerk & Seafood Restaurant. Many visitors have lunch there after visiting the Blue Hole or nearby Dunn’s River Falls. Around the Blue Hole area itself, you can usually find people selling coconuts and Red Stripe Beer, a Jamaican staple well worth trying!

How to prepare for your visit to the Blue Hole


Cover photo credit: Nazar Skladanyi/Shutterstock.com

Booking a tour

Before booking a tour to the Blue Hole in Jamaica, the most important thing to consider is your transportation to and from the site. The Blue Hole is notoriously difficult to get to by car, so the best solution is to book a tour that includes safe, comfortable transfers to and from your resort.

The best tours on the market are usually offered by private tour companies in Jamaica and include transportation as well as a guided tour of the immediate area. These tour companies often offer a half-day, or even a full-day, Blue Hole tour with pick-up and drop-off included.

Combine a visit to the Blue Hole with some of the other attractions nearby, like river tubing at White River. Island Routes offers a great excursion doing just that!

Good to know: The Blue Hole is a popular attraction in Jamaica, but it’s not typically crowded. Very often, visitors find that their group is the only one there, especially when they’ve booked to visit in the early morning hours.

Things to pack before your visit to the Blue Hole


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When heading out on a Blue Hole adventure, you’ll definitely want to dress comfortably! Wear lightweight clothing, and bring swimwear and water shoes since you’re likely to spend lots of time in the water, exploring the surrounding areas, and even climbing. If you don’t have your own water shoes, they are available for purchase on-site.

Bug spray is also a good idea since this location is nestled in the awe-inspiring Jamaican mountains, a natural habitat for bugs. Those who can’t swim or aren’t comfortable in the water may find that life jackets come in handy, especially for the deeper swimming pools in this area. Life jackets are also available on-site if you don’t have your own. You should also bring towels, a change of clothing, and sunscreen with you when you leave for this fabulous event.

Expert tip: Does packing for vacation stress you out? We can help! Here’s what you'll need to pack for a vacation in Jamaica (the ultimate list!)

How to get to the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios?

The Blue Hole is located in the hills of Ocho Rios, on Jamaica’s north coast, in an area known as St. Ann Parish. This attraction is off the beaten path and about a 30-minute drive from the town center. To get to the Blue Hole, you’ll have to make your way through a rough and uneven path as there isn’t a paved road leading to its location. In fact, the path is so crude that most taxis won’t even take you there and risk damage to their cars.

Most visitors to the Blue Hole in Jamaica go as part of a tour, but there is also a special shuttle service you can take to get there from areas including Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril, Tower Isle, and the airports in Montego Bay and Kingston. It costs about $20 USD per person for pickup from Ocho Rios and Tower Isle with a minimum of 4 people.

From Montego Bay, pickup costs $50 USD per person with a minimum of 4 people, but pick up directly from the Montego Bay Airport is $100 USD, and from the Kingston Airport is $200 USD.

Negril shuttle prices are available by contacting the shuttle service directly.

For the easiest, and most cost-effective, access to the Blue Hole in Jamaica, it is a good idea to stay at an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios, where arrangements can be made through your resort to get to the Blue Hole.

Amazing places to stay near the Blue Hole

Picture: Sandals Ochi is so vast and lush that, no matter where you find yourself, you'll always feel as if there's plenty of space for just the two of you.

To prepare for the adventure of a lifetime at the Blue Hole, you should make finding the perfect accommodation your first step. Consider staying at an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios as many of the stand-out attractions in Jamaica are located in this area. Resorts such as Sandals Royal Plantation or Sandals Ochi can be the perfect choice for your dream trip. Sandals offers quality inclusions such as gourmet dining at a wide selection of restaurants, multiple bars (including swim-up bars), and stylish and luxurious room varieties.

From your Sandals all-inclusive resort, you can get assistance with booking your tour to the Blue Hole or any other local hot spots you may want to visit. Staff can provide insight on pricing, and even share tips and other information on what to expect. You deserve a luxury-included home base where you can plan your exploration of Jamaica’s most beautiful sights.

Besides booking the tour and securing your stress-free all-inclusive package, the next thing you’ll want to do ahead of your Blue Hole experience is to get excited about it!

Other places to visit around Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is an incredible place to be in Jamaica because there are lots of things to see and do. Aside from the very Cool Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, you’ll be able to enjoy activities like river tubing and rafting, combing the beautiful beaches, visiting the famed Mystic Mountain, and so much more!

Dunn’s River Falls


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You can’t possibly visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica without experiencing the beauty of Dunn’s River Falls! This world-famous landmark is a network of cascading waterfalls that towers over 180 feet high and stretches to 600 feet long, a naturally formed stairway to heaven. There are many activities, both thrill-seeking and casual, that you can partake in while visiting. Try joining hands with others and climbing up the beautiful slopes as a human chain. The falls and surrounding forest make for an excellent photo opportunity! Afraid of heights? No problem. You can enjoy an invigorating dip in the surrounding lagoons, filled with water from a fresh mountain spring. You won’t believe how spectacular this national treasure is.

White River tubing and rafting

River tubing and rafting are a must while in Jamaica. After all, not every island offers this incredible activity, and most people simply fall in love with it. River tubing and bamboorafting in Jamaica are commonly done on the White River. This is typically a calm and relaxing experience whether you choose a tube or bamboo raft. The location where this activity kicks off is just a 5-minute drive from Ocho Rios, and the duration of the river tubing or rafting experience is about one hour. Some tour companies offer combined tours (full day) that include river tubing or rafting, in addition to a visit to the Blue Hole. That’s a combo well worth considering while in Jamaica!

Mystic Mountain


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Mystic Mountain is a Jamaican landmark you’ll probably hear about long before you get there. This attraction is about 5 minutes from Ocho Rios by car and is essentially a rainforest park. Once you make the initial trek up the Mystic Mountain, you’ll find heaps of adventure tours available for all ages.

Start with the Sky Explorer chairlift, which is a spectacular way to get to the top of the mountain. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Ocho Rios area along the way. Then, try Mystic Mountain’s signature attraction, a bobsledding adventure that lets you zoom through the rainforest using high-tech sleds. Ziplining through the dense forest canopy from one platform to another is another exhilarating way to see the area. Lightweight clothing, sunscreen, binoculars, a camera, sunglasses, and comfortable footwear are a few of the essentials you should bring along for this adventure.

Konoko Falls


Cover photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

Konoko Falls is a must-visit stop while in Jamaica. Located about 5 minutes from central Ocho Rios, this beautiful waterfall and botanical garden attract visitors who’re looking for a location where they fully appreciate the beauty of Jamaica and soak in the peaceful ambiance of the island. To get to Konoko Falls, you can make a tour reservation through an affiliated tour company. Entrance fees are $20 USD for adults and $10 USD for children aged 3-12. Children under 3 are free. At Konoko Falls, there are two bars on-site that serve beers, sodas, juice, and food. Lockers are available as well ($5 USD), where you can store your belongings as you explore. To make the most of your day at Konoko Falls, bring along a towel, swimwear, sunblock, and water shoes.

Runaway Bay


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Runaway Bay is a popular resort town that many people consider to be one of the most beautiful parts of Jamaica. The town is located about 30 minutes from Ocho Rios by car and there are many private beaches in the area. Visitors wanting to find a public beach won’t be disappointed as there are many including Cardiff Hall, which has a bar, bathrooms, and showers. Snorkeling is great at Cardiff Hall and other beaches in this area. There are also lots of scuba diving spots in Runaway Bay where divers often catch sightings of Parrotfish, Angelfish, Creole Wrasse, French Grunt, and other beautiful fish around the offshore coral reefs and in the open water.

Love scuba diving? Certified guests of any all-inclusive Sandals Resort in Jamaica scuba dive for free (max. two tanks a day) during their entire stay - this includes professional equipment and the dive staff!

Get ready to explore Ocho Rios’ best natural attractions!

There are many wonderful things to do in Jamaica and going to the Blue Hole is definitely one of them. The experience visitors can have at the Blue Hole has often been described as “safe, thrilling and beautiful”.

There is never a dull moment at the ‘cool’ Blue Hole. You’ll fall in love the minute you traverse the vine-covered cavern to the edge of this crystalline pool. Feel the rush of jumping into the many natural swimming pools in the area. Whether you use a rope swing or your own strength is up to you! Enjoy the short nature hike to the Secret Falls while surrounded by tropical flowers and foliage growing in the warm shade of tall trees. And, of course, capture this special experience with tons of scenic photos!

Don’t deprive yourself of an unforgettable trip to this natural wonder. If you stay at a conveniently located all-inclusive resort like Sandals Ochi or Sandals Royal Plantation, you’ll be perfectly placed to take part in all the fun. The friendly resort staff is looking forward to welcoming you with open arms, plus unlimited cocktails, up to 21 gourmet dining options, and around-the-clock entertainment!

Expert tip: Ahead of booking your vacation to Jamaica, it is a good idea to learn when the best time of the year to visit Jamaica is. Knowing this will help you to plan the kind of experience you’ve always dreamt about.

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About K. Williams, T. Thompson & W. van der Hoop.

A collaboration between seasoned travel writers, boasting over 30 years of collective experience in Caribbean travel.