There are over 7,800 documented waterfalls in the world. Of these, only 31 are perennial and seasonal waterfalls that empty directly into an open ocean or sea (as opposed flowing into a river, stream, inlet or fjord), according to the World Waterfall Database.
Waterfalls that flow directly into an ocean are known as tidefalls. The breakdown of tidefalls by regions (this list is not by continents) is: three in Africa, seven in Asia, eight in Europe, eight in North America, five in Oceania and one in South America, as listed by Geography Realm.
The picturesque island of Jamaica is home to a wide variety of stunning waterfalls ranging from a rare tidefall to a waterfall set in an ecological sanctuary. Various regions of the island can claim their own special waterfalls. No two falls are the same and each one has its own features to offer. Some are popular with tourists while others are off-the-beaten-path and ripe for discovery, but one thing they all have in common – visitors can swim. So bring a swimsuit for a refreshing dip and stunning views.
Dunn’s River Falls is the island’s prized tidefall. A Jamaican national treasure, it is recognized as one of the most beautiful spots on the island. At a towering 960 feet tall, it is a living and growing phenomenon that continuously renews itself from deposits of travertine rock, the result of calcium carbonate from the river flowing over the falls. The small dome-shaped cataracts are usually associated with thermal spring activity found in limestone caves. This, combined with its location near the sea, gives Dunn’s River the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the Caribbean, if not the world.
Island Gully Falls ‘Blue Hole’ is a waterfall that leads into crystal clear blue waters. It’s a crowd pleaser and is aptly named because of the unbelievably bright and beautiful turquoise water of the White River nestled high in the hills of St. Mary. The river offers several sizes of natural swimming pools, plus a few caves to explore and a few waterfalls for climbing, rope swinging and leaping.
Konoko Falls is ideal for the traveler who wants a little bit of everything. This waterfall has plenty to offer nearby including a zoo, museum, and koi pond. Visitors can take a guided tour to hear the history of the island and its first inhabitants, the Tainos. These stunning waterfalls are just five minutes from the city of Ocho Rios.
The Moon Palace Jamaica All Inclusive Resort in Ocho Rios is only five minutes away from Dunn’s River Falls, 20 minutes from Blue Hole and ten minutes from Konoko Falls, making it the perfect place to stay for visitors interested in chasing waterfalls. This beach front resort has everything needed for a relaxing stay including a gorgeous spa, water sports and fine dining.
Reach Falls is a gorgeous waterfall is set in an ecological sanctuary, which helps to ensure its beauty is preserved. Lush greenery surrounds the falls, and the entire area is full of caves, some of which are big enough to climb in and out of. Couples feeling romantic are encouraged to spend some time in the heart-shaped natural pool.
For an immersive nature experience, Geejam Hotel in Port Antonio hotel is nestled in the rainforest at the foot of the Blue Mountains and overlooking the azure seas of Port Antonio. This laidback yet luxurious hotel is situated just 30 minutes from Somerset Falls and 60 minutes from Reach Falls.
Mayfield Falls boasts multiple waterfalls and natural pools, so visits with a guide such as Chukka Caribbean Adventures to find all the best spots. Located off the beaten path, this hidden gem thrives with wildlife and cool, crystal-clear waters. Experience the coolness of one of the island’s rivers or explore the land as you climb and take in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings. Mayfield Falls is the perfect escape from the ordinary, and a great haven for nature lovers. Many of the natural pools have a jacuzzi-like affect thanks to the churning waters created by the falls. For a more thrilling experience, be sure to check out the tallest waterfall at Mayfield Falls which is also known as “The Washing Machine.”
Benta Falls is located in Westmoreland, just nine miles from Negril. Considered one of Jamaica’s best kept secrets, the family-friendly attraction features seven beautiful waterfalls and sparling blue lagoon. Visitors can explore acres of picnic trails and scenic terrain and immerse themselves in an outdoor adventure including orchards and farms tours to showcase local exotic flowers and fruit grown in the area. Guests can book a guided tour, climb the falls, bathe in the natural jacuzzi and relax in a rejuvenating, therapeutic mud bath. Traveling groups are also offered campsites on the grounds. Benta has been developed in an environmentally friendly and responsible manner with care taken to preserve the flora and vegetation of that region.
An award-winning boutique hotel, Rockhouse is perched over Pristine Cove on Negril’s west end. Located approximately an hour from the secluded Mayfield Falls. This hotel offers rooms built from timber, stone and thatch and are designed to exist in harmony with the fossilized rock and jungle-like landscape. There are several dining options on the property as well as a spa and access to Pristine Cove.
YS Falls opened in 1992 as one of Jamaica’s premier nature-based attractions in St. Elizabeth surrounded by lush gardens and trees. YS Falls is a seven-tiered waterfall which cascades into natural pools for swimming. More recent additions to the attractions at YS Falls include exhilarating canopy rides which glide from the top of the falls to its base. YS was originally a cane farm, with a working sugar factory.
Take a tractor drawn jitney to YS Falls from Jakes Hotel, a family-owned retreat style hotel in Treasure Beach. Just 45 minutes from the falls, Jakes offers authentic Jamaican hospitality in their oceanfront bungalows, cottages, and villas. Throughout a stay at the boutique hotel, guests can learn about the sustainable, farm-to-table style of Jamaican cuisine with farm tours, take a One Love Boat Tour and visit many famous attractions like Lover’s Leap. After a day of adventure, guests can enjoy treatments at Driftwood Spa using local ingredients from their garden in open-air treatment rooms right off the sea.