Jamaica‘s size and ecological diversity means it has more natural attractions to see than most Caribbean islands. It’s not easy to pick and choose among Jamaica’s best natural attractions, but each of those listed here represents a different perspective of an outstanding natural feature. Jamaica, by the way, celebrates sunsets like nowhere other Caribbean island. That is a sight in itself.
Green Grotto Caves — Take a look at Jamaica’s underside, an island riddle with at least 1,000 caves. The Green Grotto Caves at Runaway Bay are only 25-30 minutes from Ocho Rios. For lunch, try the recommended jerk pit nearby. Exploring the cave takes about an hour, so this trip can be combined with most other Ocho Rios sights anytime. The caves are also easily accessible from Montego Bay.
Blue Mountains & John Crow Mountains National Park — Encompassing 200,000 acres, some still pristine wilderness, the mountain park with two mountain chains is area is home to the island’s most scenic views, where famous Blue Mountain Coffee is grown and the place to race downhill on a cycle. For a real challenge, plan an overnight and climb 7,402-high Blue Mountain Peak, one of the Caribbean’s highest summits.
Dunn’s River Falls and Park, Ocho Rios — Climb a 600-foot waterfall at one of Jamaica’s most famous landmarks.
Fern Gully, Ocho Rios — Drive up a rocky gorge filled with rain forest trees and a showcase of hundreds of Jamaican ferns, one of the islands most unusual natural attractions. Have lunch in the home town of Jamaica’s largest producer of jerk seasonings.
Tip: Dunn’s River Falls and Fern Gully are not far apart and easily combined in one day. Start at Dunn’s River, then make the drive through Fern Gully. If spicy jerk kitchen for lunch sounds good, follow the restaurant recommendation given in the Fern Gully description below. Or visit one of Jamaica’s Best Jerk Pits located in Ocho Rios.
Irie Blue Hole, Ocho Rios — Located on the White River, these popular “secret falls” are only 30 minutes from downtown Ocho Rios.
Rainforest Tree Canopy by Zip-Line — The most exciting way to see Jamaica’s lush rainforest canopy and other natural features. Zip-line operators are located from Ocho Rios to well south of Montego Bay in the direction of Negril.
A few tours go from Montego Bay to Glistening Waters. However, it would be best to have your own transport. Bioluminescent lagoons are rare not only in the Caribbean but everywhere else in the world. It is a truly unique experience.
Zip-line tours from Montego Bay to several locations are popular and easily booked.
Rafting The Martha Brae River, Falmouth — Jamaica is famous for its river rafting. Laze down the river and enjoy the scenery.
Tip: You could combine a morning cave tour with Rafting the Martha Brae if you find a tour that does both. It is more likely there are tours for the rafting alone. If you have a rental car, you can do both easily but ask ahead of time about the availability of rafting reservations.
Glistening Waters Bioluminescent Bay, Falmouth — Take a glow-in-the-dark boat ride or swim in the waters of a rare and remarkable phenomenon.
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Full day trips from Negril visit both YS Falls and the Black River crocodile safari. Jamaica’s best beach is located at Negril, so people staying in Negril tend to spend a lot of daytime activity there. Numerous small restaurants have lunch or dinner for beach goers. For sunset, watching it from Rick’s Café is the spot many people go. Rick’s also quite a good menu if you stay for dinner. Naturally, one of Jamaica’s Top Jerk Pits also is located in Negril.
YS Falls, Cornwall — Relax in the natural swimming areas of this seven-tiered cascading waterfall.
Black River Safari, St. Elizabeth — Take a ride on one of Jamaica’s longest rivers and see just what a crocodile can do.
Seven Mile Beach, Negril — Jamaica’s longest and finest beach is Seven Mile Beach.
Sunset at Rick’s Café, Negril — Every island has sunsets, but not like those from Rick’s Café.