Hiking Up Dunn’s River Falls And A Pilgrimage To The Bob Marley Mausoleum

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When I say Jamaica, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Bob Marley? Marijuana? Rastafarians? Reggae music? Ok, those four things are basically the same thing. What about Dunn’s River Falls or Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive? If you said any of those things you would be correct and they all make up today’s adventure with Nexus Tours. It is a full day adventure to Ocho Rios and Nine Miles from the Riu Palace Jamaica, but it is well worth it. I would do this excursion just for the chance to hike Dunn’s River Falls alone. How often do you get the chance to hike up a 600-foot waterfall, after all?

Dunn's River Falls

As per the previous day’s adventure to Negril, our Nexus Tours bus and guide arrive at the Riu Palace Jamaica in Montego Bay to pick us up. The first stop is Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios. Along the way, our guide fills us in on some local history, personal stories and some good tips on how to get the most out of our day.

Nexus Tour guide shares some local information as we make our way to Ocho Rios

Arriving at Dunn’s River Falls the first thing for us all to do is to change into our water socks. Unless you are a local and familiar with the falls this is a must. Don’t have any? Just check out the boutique at the hotel. I pick up a pair for $15.

Water socks are a must for the hike up Dunn's River Falls

While we are getting ready our tour guide sees to our entrance tickets and VIP’s us through the gates to get wristbands and to meet our guide. It is only 11 am but the falls are already filling up with visitors.

We are ready to hike the Dunn's River Falls

Waiting for our Dunn's River Falls guide to meet us

A brief safety chat with our guide and we are ready to climb. Before we climb we must descend to the bottom of the falls. From the beach where the Dunn’s River flows into the Caribbean Sea, we begin our journey.

Our guide safety briefing

Holding hands and in single file, we follow our guide up the rocks. I fully expected the rocks to be slippery and treacherous, but in actuality, they were smooth and with the grip of the water socks the hike up is fairly easy.

The bottom of Dunn's River Falls

One foot after another we go. As the falls cascade, we are rewarded with small pools where we can refresh, dip ourselves into the water and take a few photos.

Going for a swim in one of the lagoons

Virginia says it feels great

Seriously this is amazing and so much fun. I loved “falling” backwards into a pool. Even though this is a very busy attraction it is 100% worth doing. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

We are just at the halfway point and it just gets better and better. Check out the final stretches.

The second set of falls

After drying off and changing back into dry clothes we are headed off to lunch at Usain Bolt’s restaurant Track and Records. Our guide has called in our lunch order in advance so it is ready for us when we arrive. Jerk Pork with sides plus a Red Stripe. Does it get any more Jamaican than this?

Usain Bolt's Track and Records Ocho Rios location

Lunch of Jerk Pork and sides at Track and Records

After lunch, it’s back into the bus for a drive through the winding mountainous roads to Nine Mile. Birthplace and final resting place of Bob Marley. If you get car sick this ride may not be for you.

Wristband for entrance to Nine Mile and Bob Marley Mausoleum

I have to be honest that this part of the Nexus Tour excursion is of very little interest to me. I’m not a huge fan of reggae music, marijuana or up on the history of Bob Marley, but I’m here so why not enjoy it.

Yup that's a fat joint

Our guide walks us through the home where Bob was born and lived for the first 6 months of his life. The funniest part of the tour was wondering how high our guide was. It is a part of the religion of the Rastafari so it is to be expected.

Our guide couldn't resist dancing to the Reggae beat

We then move up to the Mausoleum and the home where Bob lived with his mother. Both his final resting place and hers are located here, just a few hundred feet from his birthplace.

Into the Bob Marley Mausoleum

The house Bob Marley grew up in

Where Bob Marley slept

Out of respect for the dead photos are limited but the stories flow as easy and as fast from our guide as water flows through the Dunn’s River Falls. If you’re a fan of Reggae and Bob Marley this is a must-visit stop in Jamaica.

For us, the tour is over except for the drive back to Montego Bay and the Riu Palace. I am really looking forward to dinner at one of the four a la carte restaurants or perhaps the massive buffet restaurant.

Marc’s personal note: During my stay in Jamaica I could not have been treated nicer or by friendly people. However, I should note that Jamaica as a whole is a very homophobic society and may not be a suitable destination for all. If you fall within the LGBTQ community and still wish to visit Jamaica, may I suggest you pick an all inclusive property like RIU Hotels where guest safety and happiness is taken seriously. 

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Disclosure: General

Thanks to Sunwing Vacations, Nexus Tours and RIU Hotels for inviting me and sponsoring this trip. All costs were covered by my hosts, however, I have received no compensation for this story. My views and opinions are 100% my own.

About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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