Spread the niceness

Trelawny— an often overlooked northern parish of Jamaica, smack between tourist-centric Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. If you’re seeking a cool break from the heat, one of the best things to do is visit a river, and in Trelawny there are multiple ways you can enjoy them. From leisurely cruises down a river to daring hikes off the beaten path, continue reading for 5 Trelawny river adventures that are certainly worth the trip!

By the way, quick reminder…

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Trelawny River Adventures

Luminous Lagoon

Luminous Lagoon refers to a magical bay of glowing waters, where the Martha Brae River mixes with the sea. The blending of these cool and warm water bodies creates a rare spectacle: 1 of 5 documented bioluminescent bays worldwide!

This glowing phenomenon is Jamaica’s premiere natural, night-time attraction. Boat tours from a marina– located near to hotels such as Glistening Waters Hotel and Fishermans Inn– take patrons onto the sparkling waves of Luminous Lagoon.

The luminescent glitter of blue or green in the water is caused by a collection of microorganisms that glow when disturbed. Click here to find out the best times to experience this natural wonder at Jamaica’s Luminous Lagoon.

Luminous Lagoon Glistening Waters glow bioluminescent


Quashie River Sink

My trip to Quashie River Sink in the rugged Cockpit Country is possibly my most daring river adventure to date! The journey to this untouched waterfall somewhere in Albert Town, Trelawny involves a 40ft descent into a remote sinkhole.

Travel Tip: Request tour guide

Quashie River Sink is tucked deep within Trelawny’s green hills, past yam fields and unmarked countryside roads. Depending on the flow, the waterfall may be heard long before it is seen. It isn’t visible through its veil of green forest where the 1st ladder is located. The descending obstacle course includes multiple, disconnected ladders arranged in the rainforest. I cannot emphasize enough the amount of caution and courage that my travel group had to exercise to traverse this gorge safely.

At the base Quashie River Sink’s 20ft waterfall awaits, pouring into a natural pool. The reward of its refreshing chill helps you briefly forget the challenge of the journey. There are also nearby caves within the large sinkhole for an extra dose of adventure.

Travel Tip: Do not visit on rainy day

Rio Bueno River Rapids

At the time of this post, there are only a handful of tours in Jamaica that offer riding the waves of river rapids. That’s partly because most accessible sections of Jamaica’s rivers don’t have a reasonable stretch of rapids to safely navigate. River Rapids Adventure is one of few.

River Rapids Adventure offers a few water activities along the border of Trelawny and neighbouring parish St. Ann. It allows patrons to float down the Rio Bueno river channel in circular tubes before rowing to a white sand beach in a rubber raft where the river meets the sea.

The river adventure tour traverses along the water channel cutting through forestry. This extended voyage, with jump and swimming spots, concludes with a relaxing swim at the private Bengal Beach in St. Ann.

Martha Brae River Rafting

Trelawny’s top attraction over the decades has been rafting on the famous Martha Brae River. As a lover of greenery, this is home to the most scenic river rafting on the island in my opinion.

A bamboo raft captain navigates the long river surrounded by lush gardens. The ~45-minute ride for 2 cruises through nature’s tranquility and includes an optional swimming spot by an eatery. If a serene ride down a river is more your vibe then this is a great Trelawny river adventure for you.

Martha Brae river rafting Jamaica

Martha Brae river panorama Trelawny Jamaica
couple romantic Martha Brae river rafting Jamaica

Joe Hut Falls

At the time of my visit, getting to this Trelawny river adventure included driving on remnants of beaten asphalt to park on the open road, then walking through a dry, rocky riverbed. The state of the road even left us with a challenge, as car tyres struggled to grip the beaten trail (find out how to avoid this in the ultimate Jamaican driving guide).

Travel Tip: Request tour guide

After that journey we found Joe Hut Waterfall tucked in the rainforest. It is a high, hidden cascade with a lean stream that fills a pool. The forest-green river is surrounded by woodland; quiet and secluded.

Travel Tip: Do not visit on rainy day

Photo: Lynch Photography

Photo: Amanda’s 876 Adventures

Trelawny River Adventures Conclusion

Though Trelawny has been growing over the past few years as a tourist destination, it is still often overlooked for adventures in Jamaica.

The additions of the Falmouth cruise ship pier in 2011 and a growing number of accommodations including all-inclusive hotels have elevated this parish on the vacation radars of both tourists and locals. It’s still relatively low the tourist radar when compared to as its neighbouring destinations.

The history-rich parish continues to make a name for itself as a Jamaican destination to visit. These Trelawny river adventures are just 5 more reasons the “midway” path between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay should be higher up your Jamaican travel bucket list.