Spread the niceness

If you think Jamaica’s beachy resort town of Ocho Rios has 8 rivers, you’re probably in good company. After all, the destination’s Spanish name does translate to “Eight Rivers”, but can you name 8 rivers in Ocho Rios? I could only name 4 of the assumed 8, so figured there must be a handful of hidden waterways in the area waiting to be explored. However, it appears we have been misled. Plot twist: Ocho Rios does NOT actually have 8 rivers, it has 4― Dunn’s River, Roaring River, Turtle River and Cave River!

8 Rivers in Ocho Rios and Nearby Towns

This post features breathtaking waterfalls, swim spots and water attractions in and near Ocho Rios.

  1. Roaring River
  2. Turtle River
  3. Cave River
  4. Dunn’s River
  5. Milford river
  6. Laughlands Great River / Little River
  7. Big river
  8. White River

By the way, before you continue…

Like this post? Pin for future travels!

Rivers and Attractions in and near Ocho Rios

There are more river attractions in and near Ocho Rios I could add to this list, but let’s start with these favourites:

Roaring River

Roaring River gurgles from the hills to meet the coast. Not to be confused with Roaring River and Caves community treasure in Westmoreland. A section of Roaring River’s beauty was filmed and featured in 1962 for the 1st James Bond movie, ‘Dr. No’.

Laughing Waters, Roaring River

The most popular spot along St. Ann’s Roaring River is probably Laughing Waters, a majestic estuary sitting on a government-owned private property. Its cascades spill beautifully onto sandbanks, creating what I believe is 1 of Jamaica’s best beaches (but tragically not open to the general public). It served as the film location of the scene where Honey Rider emerged from the water to meet James Bond.

Photo credit: United Artists, Eon Productions, Danjaq

Turtle River

Turtle River reportedly got its name from the spherical rocks under its waterfalls that resemble a turtle shell. There are a few Ocho Rios attractions named after this water supply including Turtle River Park and Turtle River Falls and Gardens.

Turtle River Falls & Gardens, Turtle River

The Turtle River Falls attraction has 14 cascades within a rainforest formerly known as the Enchanted Gardens. In addition to acres of flowering vegetation, this tropical oasis in the hills also boasts a walk-in aviary.

Shaw Park Falls & Gardens, Turtle River

Shaw Park Falls & Gardens is 25 acres of tropical splendour situated on a hilltop overlooking the Ocho Rios coast. Turtle River cascades down a slope to create Shaw Park Falls, tucked inside this botanical garden on the Shaw Park Estate. The sparkling waterfall is a beautiful sight surrounded by an impressive collection of plant species.

Cave River

The Cave River source flows underground across parishes from the wide mouth of (you guessed it) a cave. It makes sectional appearances above ground― through caves and a valley― before it finds the sea. Cave River creates remarkably fertile soil for Cave Valley, but is also known to cause destruction when its sinkholes overflow from heavy rains.

Noisy Water River, Cave River

Limestone caverns such as Rat Bat Hole and Noisy Water River Cave are the bigger attractions of Cave Valley area. “Noisy Water River”― not to be confused with Noisy River in Manchester― is actually a section of Cave River. A guided hike along steep, lush hillsides could grant access to the river and these surrounding caves.

Photo credit: Jamaicans.com

Dunn’s River

The falls of Dunn’s River are a natural marvel. Its dome-shaped structure constantly regenerates from rock deposits that are caused by precipitation as the Dunn’s River flows. This feature is usually observed in limestone caves with thermal springs.

Dunn’s River Falls & Park, Dunn’s River

Dunn’s River Falls & Park is Jamaica’s most popular waterfall attraction, and is widely considered a must-do bucket list item to consummate a vacation on the island. Its unique regenerative ability combined with how it aesthetically spills into the sea makes Dunn’s River Falls a rare treasure in the Caribbean.

Little Dunn’s River Falls, Dunn’s River

Little Dunn’s River Falls is a smaller waterfall just off the main roadway. It is a less-commercial river and beach combo compared to its more famous sister. It is considered by many as the “Dunns River Falls for locals”. Little Dunn’s River is fenced by government organizations, and is intermittently restricted from public access.

Milford River

Milford River flows down the Mahoe Hill before descending through the town. Its watersheds are filtered by limestone formations to feed miles of surrounding gardens. Taino Indians― the island’s original inhabitants― reportedly chose it and surrounding areas as a settlement site.

Konoko Falls & Gardens, Milford River

A popular spot along Milford River is Konoko Falls and Gardens (formerly known as Coyaba Gardens). In addition to its stair-like waterfall, this river attraction also has  a Japanese Koi pond, on-site Taino museum, bird aviary, and petting zoo.

Laughlands Great River / Little River

Also called the “Little River”, this pours out to the Laughlands Bay. Laughlands Great River is not to be confused with rising rafting spot― Great River― on the border of Hanover and St. James.

Cranbrook Flower Forest, Laughlands Great River

The head of Laughlands Great River gorge rests within the Cranbrook Flower Forest. It can have up to 4 riverheads, depending on seasonal rains. The main riverhead runs out of a rock face to a natural swimming pool which overflows into a waterfall. There is a mile-long nature walk along the banks within the Flower Forest.

Photo Credit: First View Excursions

Big River

Big River runs through St. Ann’s Bay. A guided hike on a hill trail can take you to Big River Falls or Blue Heaven in the community of Lime Hall.

Photo credit: Lynch Photography

Big River Falls / Lime Hall Falls, Big River

Lime Hall Falls has a twin cascade that carved a natural water slide into the rocks. They lead to a refreshing pool tucked in the forest.

Blue Heaven, Big River

From its name you probably guessed this is a tranquil river escape. Its hypnotic blue hue is complemented by a small waterfall.

Photo Credit: First View Excursions

White River

White River is said to have gotten its name from white limestone rocks that line the riverbed. The lengthy waterway snakes along the border of the parishes St. Ann and St. Mary, and is home to probably the most river attractions in and around Ocho Rios. Sections of White River house thrilling rapids ideal for river tubing, plus bamboo rafting, breathtaking waterfalls and picnic-perfect swim spots. Here are some favourites along White River.

Blue Hole / Island Gully Falls, White River

‘Blue Hole’ got its name because of its mesmerizing hue. As the land of wood and water, Jamaica has multiple river spots referred to as ‘Blue Hole’ but this one is the most popular. The name is sometimes interchanged with Island Gully Falls― a nearby 20ft waterfall at another section of White River.

Calypso Rafting & River Tubing, White River

Float down the White River in your choice of bamboo raft or rubber donut. A raft captain will navigate the waters as you and a companion relax, or you can be your own navigator while riding over rapids.

Calby’s Hidden Beauty, White River

Calby’s Hidden Beauty is a lovely riverside picnic and camping spot. It has both shallow and deep areas along with small rapids.

Thatch Hill River Park, White River

Thatch Hill River Park has a large field, great for games and group outings. It is also a great picnic and camping spot by the water.

Mada fed River, White River

A short hike in Exchange, St. Ann can reveal a community chill spot called Mada Fed River. The clear waters flow over boulders to create tucked-away mini-waterfalls and pools.

Rivers in Ocho Rios (and nearby) Conclusion

As a popular destination for tourists and locals, many St. Ann rivers have been developed into commercial attractions as you can see. Some of these attractions however are off the beaten path and are best visited with a trusted guide. Feel free to request a custom itinerary or guide recommendation from me if you need some extra help planning your staycation / vacation.

How was your experience at any of these rivers and attractions???