The Blue Hole—alternatively known as the Cool Blue Hole, Secret Falls, or Island Gully—is a natural limestone sinkhole near Ocho Rios. A deep cavern within the tropical mountains of Jamaica, the Blue Hole gets its name from the deep azure hue of the water. Travelers visit to swim, cliff dive, and make their way through the lush rain forest to Secret Falls.
The Blue Hole features majestic waterfalls pouring into it from the sides and thick rain forest vegetation growing around its rocky perimeter. Since it's not an official tourist board attraction, the site lacks the vendor kiosks and organized queues typical to other natural attractions such as the busy Dunn’s River Falls. As such, the Blue Hole feels like a hidden gem. For thrill seekers, its blue waters are an excellent place to go swimming, try cliff jumping, or use the rope swing.
A tour guide can provide advice on the safest places for jumping and swimming, as well provide intel on local flora and fauna. Most travelers arrive on a group tour or shore excursion from Negril, Ocho Rios, Falmouth, or Montego Bay. The Blue Hole is often a stop on tours that include river tubing on the nearby White River, a visit to Dunn’s River Falls, or shopping in Montego Bay.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A bathing suit and water shoes are a must. In order to enjoy the Blue Hole without worrying about your belongings, be prepared to leave phones and wallets in the tour vehicle or with your tour guide.
- Swimming and cliff jumping at the Blue Hole is not recommended for kids under 10 years old.
- There are land-based walk-around options for those who don't wish to jump the cliffs.
- Life jackets are available for loan at the site.
How to Get There
The Blue Hole is located on Thatch Hill Road, deep in the forested hills of St. Ann Parish. It is a a 20-minute drive from downtown Ocho Rios. It can be difficult to find, so most travelers arrive as part of a guided tour.
When to Get There
The Blue Hole and Secret Falls are open from 7am to 5pm. A popular destination for those staying in Ocho Rios, it can get crowded, so the best time to arrive to beat the crowds is first thing in the morning. Jamaica's rainy season, in May, October, and November can make the rocks slick and difficult to climb.
White River Tubing
Many tours that stop at the Blue Hole often combine the excursion with tubing on the nearby White River. This lazy river tubing experience is a great alternative to the cliff-jumping and swimming in the waterfalls at the Blue Hole. Even small kids and non-swimmers can enjoy a float down a river through the tropical rain forest.