11 Jamaican Rivers You Should Visit

11 Jamaican Rivers You Should Visit

Jamaica is known for the natural beauty of its beaches, forests, and waterfalls. The very name of the island nation – Jamaica – derives from the language of the original Taino inhabitants, the word “xaymaca” which means the “land of wood and water.” So it is not surprising that the island offers many opportunities to explore its water attractions, including the following Jamaican rivers that can be enjoyed by visitors seeking relaxing getaways or unique adventures.

Cane River – St. Andrew
Home to the Cane River Falls, this is a perfect example of the island’s hidden gems. A river with clear waters and offering fantastic views of amazing waterfalls in Bull Bay. Affordable admission to a breathtaking sight.

White River – St. Ann/St. Mary
One of the longest rivers in Jamaica, the White River flows for some 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) along the border of St. Ann and St. Mary Parishes. A major attraction is the historic Old Spanish Bridge built in the 1770s. The river at the bridge is a great place to go swimming, and there is a rope swing by which visitors can dive off into the river.

Thatch Hill River – Ocho Rios
The park located here, just 25 minutes from Ocho Rios, offers lots of space, swings, and exotic blue waters. While it is not the easiest place to get to, the experience is worth it. Perfect for picnics and group excursions. Admission charged.

Black River – St. Elizabeth
The famous YS Falls is located on the Black River, one of the island’s premier natural attractions that offers an expansive view of seven waterfalls that cascade into natural swimming pools surrounded by lush gardens. Admission fees vary according to resident status and age.

Martha Brae River

Martha Brae River

Martha Brae River – Trelawny
The Martha Brae River is a popular site for bamboo rafting experiences. It offers everything nature lovers crave, and the views of the sun seen through bamboo arching over the water are not to be missed.

Johnson River – St. Thomas
The Johnson River is the site of Reggae Falls, a not entirely natural waterfall as it owes its existence to an abandoned hydroelectric plant, but still offers a stupendous experience. The Falls is a true paradise that is somewhat challenging to access, but worthwhile. Popular with locals and visitors, it is sometimes called the “damhead” for the man-made dam that requires the water to plunge many feet down into the river.

Salt River – Clarendon
A favorite swimming spot among locals that can be enjoyed by visitors who are in the know.

Gut River – Manchester
Its name is said to derive from the German word for “Good.” It features the combination of river, beach, and hamlet all located on an isolated portion of Jamaica’s south-facing coast.

Great River – St. James
The Great River is one of the major rivers on the island, forming the boundary of St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover Parishes. Popular for rafting and river tubing.

Secret Dornoch River - Jamaica

Dornoch River

Dornoch Head River -Trelawny
This river is the source of the Rio Bueno River. Its water is said to originate from a rock on the left side of a pool at the site. The river starts descending into the sea from the right side of the pool.

Dunn’s River – Ocho Rios
This river boasts the very popular Dunn’s River Falls, a national treasure of Jamaica. It is as well known around the world as reggae music and equally deserves its popularity. It has been described as one of the most beautiful places to see on the island, and it is very near Ocho Rios, a rapidly growing resort center. The foundation constantly regenerates from deposits of travertine rock as the waters surge over the falls. This phenomenon and its location near the Caribbean Sea make Dunn’s River the only one of its kind in the region.

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Stephanie Korney