If you’re headed to Jamaica, don’t miss the gorgeous Blue Hole attraction near Ocho Rios. With its crystal-clear water, lagoons and waterfalls, this is the tropical Eden you seek. It’s a particularly good choice if you want to avoid the usual crowds at Dunn’s River Falls. Here’s our guide to all things Blue Hole, plus a look at the most popular cruise ports your ship might be pulling into.
What Is the Blue Hole Jamaica?
Set in a secluded natural area in the hills south of Ocho Rios, the Blue Hole is a naturally occurring limestone sinkhole with cascades of waterfalls approximately 20 to 25 feet deep. The area surrounding it offers hiking, cliff diving, Tarzan rope swinging, swimming, caving and visiting the Secret Falls. Visitors usually take a tour that packs these activities into one memorable day. The Blue Hole attraction (also known as the Cool Blue Hole, Irie Blue Hole and Island Gully) is one of the most visited in the Ocho Rios and St. Ann area and is a top choice for those seeking a tropical swimming hole.
How Do I Get to the Blue Hole Attraction?
When Should I Go to the Blue Hole?
Anytime you’re in the area! Seriously, though, the optimal time to visit Jamaica and enjoy swimming at the Blue Lagoon is from November to April, with peak season being mid-December to mid-April. Summer is warm, as well, but there is a higher chance of rainfall from June to August. There are two rainy seasons: May and June, and September and November. The dry seasons are July and August and December through April.
What Can I Do at the Blue Hole?
During a tour of the Blue Hole, you can swim in clear, blue lagoon waters, feel the spray of Secret Falls, jump from cliffs or swing from ropes into the water and go caving. For those seeking more excitement, there are also river tubing tours through the rainforest on the White River. There’s also the option to combine two of Jamaica’s most popular waterfalls: those of the Blue Hole area and the 600-foot-tall Dunn’s River Falls.
Still need more? Go horseback riding through local villages and even into the ocean water before finishing your tour at the Blue Hole for swimming. Or, take a trip to the Blue Hole at night, when it becomes the “Luminous Lagoon.” You can’t see the naturally occurring bioluminescent microorganisms by day, but at night, movement in the water causes them to glow. It’s safe to swim in and incredibly surreal.
As you tour the 20-foot-deep Blue Hole, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Blue Hole Waterfall, or “Secret Falls,” a cascading stream a short walk away. The veil of water hides a hidden cave. Once you’re here, you can swim in the large and small pools and, if you dare, jump from the falls.
So, do you “have” to jump from a waterfall to enjoy the Blue Hole waters? No! There are varying heights and depths to the Blue Hole, including places where you can simply slide right into the water. In addition to cliff jumping, there is a manmade platform at a middle height.
There is a small entrance fee to visit the Blue Hole, or you may purchase a package tour to include more activities. Don’t miss this opportunity to join the in-the-know locals at one of the world’s most beautiful natural swimming holes.
What Else Can I Do in Ocho Rios?
Grab a refreshing Red Stripe beer and some jerk chicken and consider the following when you’re wondering what to do after your day at the Blue Hole attraction. If you don’t mind the throngs of tourists, you can make a trip to visit Dunn’s River Falls, where remarkable travertine deposits are continuously regenerating. The resulting dome-shaped cataracts make Dunn’s River Falls distinctive throughout the Caribbean.
Then, there’s Mystic Mountain Rainforest, where you can take an adventurous trip up the 700-foot mountain peak. This is a great shore excursion for cruise ship passengers docking in Ocho Rios; it’s just five minutes from the pier. Ride the chairlift over the treetops or glide along on a rainforest bobsled, a thrilling ride through dense tropical landscapes. Or, whisk your way through the rainforest canopy by zipline.
Later, toast your day’s adventures at Margaritaville in Ocho Rios, where it’s always 5 o’clock! There’s a swim-up bar, a main bar with a 60-foot waterslide into the swimming pool and a white-sand beach.
For souvenir shopping before you leave town, take a trip to the Ocho Rios Craft Market, brimming with handmade goods and carvings, folk jewelry, gifts, t-shirts, reggae recordings and more.
Coming by Cruise Ship?
If you’re arriving in Jamaica by cruise ship, particularly to Ocho Rios, consider a shore excursion to the Blue Hole. You can often find tours that include diving, rope swinging, swimming and hiking this top island natural attraction, with additional stops at Columbus Park in Discovery Bay, a jerk chicken lunch and time to shop in Ocho Rios. While you’re in Ocho Rios, consider a flower-filled visit to Shaw Park Gardens or driving through the leafy tunnel along Fern Gully’s roadway.
You can also take a day trip to the Blue Hole if your cruise ship docks at Falmouth or Montego Bay. In intriguing Falmouth, take the time to enjoy this area of rich architecture and history – and a large collection of Georgian buildings. Take a guided trolley ride or go river tubing on the Martha Brae River. In the island’s capital, Montego Bay, be sure to visit Doctor’s Cave Beach, tee off on championship golf courses, dine and dance along the lively Hip Strip and tour great houses like the Rose Hall Plantation.