Jamaica is known for its pristine Caribbean beaches and laid-back vibes. But what if I told you there is so much more beauty to Jamaica than relaxing on a beautiful beach with some reggae playing in the background? This island has some of the most spectacular waterfalls I’ve ever seen, like the Cool Blue Hole Jamaica.
What is the Blue Hole in Jamaica?
The Ochos Rios Blue Hole and Jamaica, also known as the Cool Blue Hole, is a huge sinkhole where limestone and other minerals have turned the water into a spectacular shade of blue. The bright blue water extends deep into the Ochos Rios jungle until it comes to a waterfall known as Secret Falls or Gully Island Falls, a few miles in.
What to Do at the Blue Hole
Just seeing the Cool Blue Hole and the surrounding tropics blooming is worth the visit alone, but there is actually a lot you can do here. They have the area set up so you can spend the entire day near the water.
The road to the Blue Hole takes you right up to the water, but there are some hiking trails around that will take you to other areas. One trail that you should take advantage of is the hike to Secret Falls. It’s a short ten-minute hike but relatively steep, and you’ll have to do a river crossing to get there. However, these things are no big deal if you’re swimming.
Explore the Waters
You could just lounge in the waters around the edge, but I highly recommend swimming around. If you swim up to the falls, you’ll see that there are small caves behind them that you can swim into and rest on the rock walls. The caves aren’t super visible from the land, but I promise they’re there.
Cliff Jump and Rope Swing
All along the river, from the first sinkhole to Secret Falls above, there are rope swings and platforms for you to jump off of into the water. You can find locals doing some crazy dives into the water, but they are definitely accessible for everyone. The platforms are only about 15 to 20 feet high.
Lounge in Small Pools
If you hike up to the Secret Falls, you can hike above the waterfall as well and find small pools of water to sit in. These small pools have tiny waterfalls leading into them, turning them into a jacuzzi pool if you sit in the right spot. Plus, it’s a nice spot to end your visit to the Blue Hole once you’ve seen everything.
What to Expect Upon Arrival
In order to properly prepare for your trip to Blue Hole Jamaica, you’ll need to know what they actually have available on site. This attraction isn’t super popular or touristy yet and is actually not super well known, so it’s not as built up as some other attractions.
If you are not visiting the Blue Hole with a tour, you will need to make online reservations prior to visiting or visit their office in Ocho Rios to purchase tickets. Your online reservations will require a $40 deposit to book, and the rest can be paid with cash at the entrance when you arrive. The cost of admission is as follows:
- Adult admission: $25
- Child admission: $15
Make sure to bring extra cash to tip any guides that may show you around the area, for drinks, and for lockers.
There are few vendors in the vicinity, with the closest location to get food being Dunn’s River Falls. Locals sell coconuts and Jamaican Red Stripe beer around the falls, but you will have to pack your own food or wait to eat until you leave. If you are visiting with a tour, your tour may include food or take you to a restaurant nearby.
Although the Cool Blue Hole is less well-known, it does have some amenities built in the area. You can find bathrooms, changing rooms, and lockers for rent. If you don’t have a tour bus to keep your belongings on, I recommend renting a locker for $2 to keep your belongings safe while you’re enjoying a dip.
Things to Bring to the Blue Hole
Since the Blue Hole is still small, they will not have everything there that you will need. You’ll want to pack a few things to bring with you. These are the things I recommend bringing with you:
Between hiking, swimming, and swinging from ropes, you’re bound to work up an appetite during your visit. There are no food vendors on the property, so if you plan to stay there for more than a few hours, you should bring some snacks. Chips, granola bars, trail mix, and fresh fruit are all great foods you can pack up and snack on during your visit.
Swimwear and Water Shoes
You can either show up with your swimwear on or change once you get there if you have other tours along the way. Water shoes are also a good idea while exploring the Blue Hole because you will have to do some river crossing and climb out of the water onto sharp rocks. Some vendors may have water shoes available for purchase on-site.
A Towel and a Change of Clothes
The water inside the Blue Hole is pretty darn cold, so you’ll want to bring a towel to wrap up in. You can also change into dry clothes in the changing rooms before you leave. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a car for an hour or two with wet clothes on.
There is no way for the vendors or guides to collect money via a card. You’ll want to bring a bit of cash with you if you plan on purchasing a few drinks, tipping your guide, or need to pay admission fees upon arrival. If your admission fee is paid for, I recommend bringing an extra $20-$40 in smaller bills.
Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Like everywhere else in the Jamaican jungle, the sun and bugs are intense. In order to prevent itchy bites and sunburn, make sure to remember sunscreen and bug spray. You’ll want to reapply during your visit because entering and exiting the water will wash everything off over time.
A Waterproof Camera
Whether it’s your waterproof phone, a GoPro, or a camera in a waterproof case, you will want to have a camera on hand. The water here is so unbelievable that you may need proof to show your friends and family back home. Plus, “Pics or it didn’t happen,” right?
How to Get to Cool Blue Hole
There are a few different options for getting to the Blue hole in Jamaica, whether you want to go at your own pace at whatever time or multiple experiences in a day.
I like to rent a car when I travel because it gives me the freedom to go where I want when I want. Most tours start heading into the Blue Hole later in the morning or in the afternoon, so the best time to visit is in the morning before the crowds arrive.
The only downside to driving yourself to the Blue Hole is the road is a bit rough and steep. You may only want to drive a rental car here if you have a higher clearance vehicle. Although, people drive there in regular cars as well. You may just need a little bit of know-how when it comes to driving on rougher roads.
Take the Shuttle
Taking the shuttle to the Blue Hole is a more budget-friendly option. When you make an online reservation, you can book your admission plus the shuttle. You just put in your hotel or vacation rental information, and they’ll send you the details. The cost for the shuttle is:
- $30 roundtrip from Ochos Rios or Tower Isle
- $50 roundtrip from Montego Bay
- You’ll have to call +1-876-777-5226 for a quote from Negril
Join a Tour
Joining a tour is a fun way to fill your day with multiple adventures. They include almost everything, like food, transportation, and a knowledgeable guide. Many tour options include other attractions and activities like tubing, horseback riding, a catamaran cruise, ziplining, Dunn’s River, bamboo rafting, and much more.
Where to Stay Near Cool Blue Hole
The Blue Hole is located in Ocho Rios on the Northern coast of Jamaica. Almost any accommodation you book within Ocho Rios will be within 30 minutes of the Blue Hole. Below are some places that are worthwhile staying at in Ocho Rios:
Sandals have many resorts in Jamaica and two just in Ochos Rios. The better of the two is Sandals Ochi if you’re looking for a fun vacation with tons to do. Everything is included in your stay, such as food, water sports, airport transfers, entertainment, green fees at the on-site golf course, and more. This resort is so big that you can experience both tranquility in its huge garden and excitement at its day clubs or speakeasy.
Moon Palace Jamaica Ocho Rios
If you’re looking to return from your adventure to relaxing luxury, Moon Palace should be your stay. They have the largest spa on the island, and everything is included. They are also in a great location, centrally located in Ocho Rios off of Ocho Rios Bay Beach, so you can visit many attractions quickly.
This one is located a little further on the outskirts of Ocho Rios but gives you all the island vibes you would expect in Jamaica. Jamaica Inn is a smaller family-owned resort that makes you feel like you have your own little slice of Jamaica. With private verandas in every room and fantastic staff that caters to your every need, you’ll totally forget about the few extra minutes of travel you’ll need to the Blue Hole.
Is Blue Hole Jamaica Worth It?
The Blue Hole in Jamaica is definitely worth a visit. It has a somewhat central location making it easy to access from nearly any area of Jamaica. The price for visiting this attraction can also not be beat compared to other Jamaican attractions.
Even though it is cheaper, its price does not represent its beauty. I would be willing to pay double the entrance fee to see this blue oasis. I also love that it is less busy than other Ocho Rios attractions, making it even more worth the visit.