Despite its popularity, Blue Hole feels like a hidden gem. This natural wonder of sinkholes, waterfalls, and natural pools gets its name from its bright blue color, caused by minerals flowing from upstream.
There are opportunities for both relaxation and excitement here, with the refreshing pools and thrilling cliff jumping spots. Nature lovers will especially love a visit here!
If you’re considering or planning a visit to Blue Hole, here’s everything you need to know to be ready for your trip.
How to Get to Blue Hole
Note: There are several places in Jamaica with the name “Blue Hole”. This one is near Ocho Rios and also goes by the names “Cool Blue Hole” and “Ocho Rios Blue Hole”.
Blue Hole is in the mountains of northern Jamaica, surrounded by dense rainforest. By car, you can expect the journey to take:
- 20–30 minutes from Ocho Rios
- 2 hours from Montego Bay
- 3 hours from Negril
The road to Blue Hole is quite rugged and not all that well-marked. You will, however, find a sign marked “Island Gully Falls” (a nearby waterfall) near the actual entrance to the attraction.
The tour company in charge of the attraction runs a shuttle bus from Ocho Rios, Tower Isle, Montego Bay, and Negril. Note that, from some locations, you need a minimum of 4 people in order to take the shuttle.
You’ll also find that there are many tours and excursions departing from all around the island that can take you to Blue Hole. Excursions often have multiple stops at popular attractions, so they’re definitely worth checking out!
What to Expect when Visiting Blue Hole
When visiting Blue Hole, you’ll have to pay an admission fee of US$25 per adult and $15 per child.
If you’re visiting as part of a tour or excursion, the entry fee will likely be included in the package cost. Check with your tour operator!
Lockers, bathrooms, and changing facilities
Unless you travel extremely light or would rather keep your stuff in the car, there are lockers on-site where you can keep your belongings. They’re available to rent at $2 each. There are also bathrooms and changing facilities.
Blue Hole is normally pretty quiet but, on days that cruise ships dock in Ocho Rios, it can get quite crowded. Unless you yourself will be visiting from a cruise ship, try to avoid those days. Most cruise ships will dock on a Wednesday but it varies so be sure to look up the schedule!
What to Do at Blue Hole
Swim in the mesmerizing waters
The Blue Hole itself is made up of limestone sinkholes filled with water from small waterfalls. The result is a series of natural pools that are a gorgeous, bright shade of blue! The depth ranges from 8 feet to 20 feet.
Take a dip in the pools or the adjoining river and enjoy just how cool and refreshing the waters of Cool Blue Hole are. The minerals that cause the water to have its fascinating blue hue also make for a very healing experience.
There are often inner tubes lying around the place that you can use, as well, to leisurely float around and soak up the relaxing vibes.
If you climb past the falls, you’ll find a few more small pools that are almost like natural jacuzzis. They’re great for relaxing in, especially since most people don’t go up that way.
Jump into the pools
Jumping in is the best way to get into the water at Blue Hole! There are several places overlooking the pools that you can jump from. Most are natural rock outcroppings but there’s also a concrete diving board 20 feet above the deep pool!
Cliff jumping is a very popular activity here but be sure to check with a guide about where you should jump from.
Rope swing over the scenery
A cool feature of Blue Hole is the rope swing, which extends over one of the pools. It’s not particularly high — your feet will probably touch the water unless you lift them — but it’s great fun and pretty thrilling!
Explore hidden caves
Hidden around the place are a few small caves, both above and below the water. A notable one requires you to go through the falls and it takes you back around to the water. It’s a bit awkward to get into but being there behind the rushing falls is quite a unique experience.
Hike to Island Gully Falls
When looking for information on Blue Hole, you’ll likely see the names “Island Gully Falls” and “Secret Falls” come up. They’re actually the same waterfall!
You’ll find Island Gully Falls just a short hike from Blue Hole. The hike is scenic in and of itself and the 20-foot-high waterfall is beautiful, too. Like Blue Hole, there are a series of natural pools and places to jump from, as well as rope swings.
Island Gully Falls is more secluded and not everyone who makes the journey to Blue Hole goes over there, so it offers a more tranquil experience.
What to Bring to Blue Hole
You don’t need to carry much with you when visiting Blue Hole but you should be sure to bring:
- Cash (for the entry fee and for tipping your guide)
- Insect repellent
Watershoes aren’t essential but they’re very useful to have. Some of the areas to walk in are slippery and take you through rushing water. It’s better to bring them and not use them than to not have them and realize you need them!
Wear your swimwear and, if you’re wearing something over it, make sure it’s something comfortable and lightweight that you don’t mind getting wet. There are changing rooms on-site so you could also carry a change of clothes if you’d like.
Where Else to Go When Visiting Blue Hole
Dunn’s River Falls
If you’re looking to add another stop to your itinerary, Dunn’s River Falls couldn’t be a better choice!
You can climb the 180-foot-high falls with a guide, over natural step-like rocks and through rushing water. You could also opt to do a dry climb, as there are actual steps beside the waterfall.
When you get to the top, you can zipline through the rainforest and back down to the base. Dunn’s River Falls empties directly into the Caribbean Sea, with a breathtaking white-sand beach at its base.
Mystic Mountain is a small adventure park within walking distance of Dunn’s River Falls. There are multiple rides and activities here: the SkyExplorer, the Canopy Zipline, the Bobsled, and the Raggamuffin.
The highlight is definitely the adrenaline-fueled Canopy Zipline. It’s a network of six plummeting lines, with a 30-foot vertical rappel and an 80-foot long suspension bridge, taking you through the Jamaican rainforest.
When you’re done ziplining, the SkyExplorer takes you on a much more chilled-out journey back to the base of the mountain.
If you’d like to try rafting or river tubing, the perfect spot for it is just a short drive from Blue Hole. White River is a natural lazy river outside Ocho Rios, flanked by rainforest on both sides. You’ll be surrounded by tropical plant life and birdsong throughout your whole journey.
A trip out here would be a great excursion for any kind of traveler but especially couples and small groups. It can be relaxing or thrilling, depending on whether you go rafting or tubing!