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Take a Leap out of Your Comfort Zone at Blue Hole, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

(Guest Feedback: "We hired a car to drive ourselves there; but we couldn't find the place. We were told by a pedestrian that we had passed it, so we turned around and went back down the hill. Some other guys directed us to another place. But now that we are back, we realise that we went to the wrong place, and not the Blue Hole that you feature on the Mysilversands web site!"

Moral of the story - take a local guide or hire a driver who has been there before.)
 

A little over an hour after leaving our Mysilversands villa at Silver Sands Jamaica, we turn off onto what can be more accurately described as an uneven pathway than a road, and I begin to wonder if we will ever reach the elusive ‘Blue Hole’, which is supposed to be a few miles into the hills, South of Ocho Rios. After about ten minutes of our bus slowly crawling along between overgrown bushes, I spot a man, looking out towards us at the top of the hill above. He waves, and as we turn a corner I realise we’re here. 

jumping into blue hole in ocho rios jamaica

 

With no car park or reception area, just a few guys sat in a grassy area, initially Blue Hole doesn’t look like much of a visitor attraction or one of the many exciting things to do in Jamaica. We’re directed where to park, and one of the men approaches us, asking if we’d like a guide. For just US$10 per person, paid afterwards, we accept. 

 

walking down to the blue hole in ocho rios jamaica

 

Leaving the bus in just our swimsuits and water shoes, with a waterproof camera, our muscular guide, Kevin, leads us a few steps down a pathway, and instantly, the sight is breath taking. A pool of beautiful turquoise water surrounded by rocks and lush vegetation is immediately picture worthy. Kevin directs us towards the edge of the rocks, overlooking the crisp blue water and straightaway says, “alright, now jump in”. Being maybe a ten foot drop, and being someone who’s never the first to jump from any height, I’m quickly filled with a mix of excitement and fear. 

 

the first waterfall at blue hole the first waterfall and blue hole

 

Kevin reassures us that there are no rocks to land on underneath, as the water is eight to sixteen feet deep in this area, so I take the leap of faith and I’m well rewarded. As I hit the cool, fresh, turquoise water, my irrational fear of jumping disappears. A good thing too, as we soon discover this is only the beginning! We spend a while in this pool, swimming in the gloriously fresh water, a beautiful change from the salty Caribbean Sea, jumping in some more, and even swinging off a rope that Kevin had strung up across the falls himself. 

 

swinging on a rope into the blue hole first waterfall in ocho rios jamaica jumping into the first blue hole from the swing over the waterfall

 

We’re then asked if we’d like to go on a hike, and are lead through the rainforest on a moderately steep walk, to the next part of our adventure. At this point, Kevin takes over as our official cameraman for the morning. We rejoin the river, and begin swimming and climbing our way up it, jumping off rocks and swinging on ropes into deep and beautiful turquoise pools whenever we get the chance. Whenever navigating the rocks through the water gets tricky, Kevin is there to tell us where to step, and be someone to balance against! He takes photos of our leaps at every opportunity, leaving us at the end of the trip with an amazing array of photos. 

 

hiking on the trail to another swimming hole and waterfall walking through lush vegetation to more waterfalls and blue holes

 

We soon reach a spectacular, huge, cascading waterfall over what seems to be an almost vertical rock. We swim across to it, and Kevin pulls us through, underneath the waterfall into a hidden cave. While the boys opt to exit the cave the un-conventional way – lead by Kevin, like worms, climbing out through a tunnel in the rock – I choose to swim back out the way we came in! 

 

more swimming pools and waterfalls at blue hole in ocho rios jamaica

 

One of the great things about this Blue Hole adventure is that there’s never only one way to carry on, so you don’t have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. However Kevin and the other guides are very knowledgeable and focused on your safety, so this is definitely an opportunity to just go for it, and make the most out of the experience. 

 

climbing out of the hole in the rock under the waterfall diver from the top of the waterfall at blue hole

the bubble bath at blue hole created by waterfalls

 

We climb further up the waterfall, dipping into a pool Kevin describes as a bubble bath – although be warned it is still cold – before heading back to the huge waterfall what for some was the highlight of the trip. Standing at the top of the waterfall, gazing past the white rapids to the breathtaking turquoise water below was a big enough adrenaline rush for me! However my brother accepted Kevin’s offer to actually walk down the waterfall, on the steep, slightly curved rock. Clutching Kevin’s hand, he was walked halfway down, as the water flows rapidly past their feet over the huge rock. From the side view, it appears as if they are walking on water. My brother then follows Kevin’s instructions, to continue down the waterfall with a run, before jumping into the cool waters below. As he resurfaces with a beaming smile, his girlfriend chooses to follow. Dad and I take the pathway just to the left instead. 

 

getting ready to jump in the pool from the watefall at blue hole in jamaica

 

As we start our journey back, it begins to rain, but this only adds to the experience, as we jump into and swim and wade in the pools, all with added confidence. Huge raindrops bounce off our bodies and splash into the river as we make our way back to the first of the many blue holes. We leave feeling sad that it’s already over, but intensely satisfied with the whole experience, as Kevin offers us a refreshing soft drink or beer to finish up the morning. Not to be outdone, our Mysilversands driver, Cedric, offers us some guavas which he had just picked from trees in the nearby forest.

 

couple jumping into pool at blue hole in ocho rios jamaica swimming in large pool at blue hole waterfalls in ocho rios jamaica

 

Hidden up in the mountains above bustlingly touristy Ocho Rios, Blue Hole really is a breath of fresh air. It’s not an official Jamaican Tourist Board attraction, but this is key to what makes Blue Hole so special. With no vendors to bother you, no queues to go through, and all at a reasonable price, you’re left to enjoy the simple magic of the waterfall and the cool swimming pools. 

 

climbing down the rocks beside the river at blue hole walking down the river in the rain

 

My tips for Blue Hole:

  • Rainy day? This is something to do on a rainy day as you are going to get wet anyway!
  • Wear a swimsuit (for women, easier if its not a two-piece) or shorts, water shoes or trainers you don’t mind getting wet, and a waterproof camera.
  • Leave everything else, towels, sunglasses (the tree canopy blocks out the bright sunshine) in the bus.
  • You must be able to swim and be physically fit, as swimming across the pools and climbing over the rocks and up the footpaths can be quite a challenge.
  • Don’t chose to explore Blue Hole alone. The guides make it safer, telling you where it is deep enough to jump in, and how to climb over tricky areas. They’re friendly and definitely improve the experience.
  • This is an incredibly low maintenance attraction. While that aspect is what makes it one of my favourites in Jamaica, be aware that this is NOT A LICENSED VISITOR ATTRACTION and there are no toilets, and no restaurant or snack bar, just the river and a whole lot of fun! 
  • Agree a price with your guide before you use his services. Do not accept that you will settle that afterwards. 
  • Do not rush and do not let your guide rush you, going from one pool and waterfall to another. Take your time and enjoy each for as long as you want.
  • Remember you do this at your own risk. If you slip and break your leg, there is no emergency ambulance standing by to rush you to hospital and I did not see any first aid station or medical kit.
     

swimming up to the waterfall at blue hole in ocho rios jamaica

Blue Hole, at the time of this writing is ranked No. 1 out of 23 Attractions in Ocho Rios on Tripadvisor. See the Tripadvisor Reviews of Blue Hole.

Contributed by Asha.

More Things to do in Jamaica.

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