The Martha Brae River, a 20-mile (32-kilometer) stretch of turquoise water winding through Jamaica’s tropical inland rain forests, is an essential stop for nature lovers traveling through the Caribbean island. Though primarily a stopover for a quick rafting trip, the river’s prime location near other natural attractions and its wide diversity of wildlife makes it a worthwhile addition to any Jamaica vacation.
Whitewater rafters can leave their need-for-speed behind—rafting tours on the Martha Brae River float along on island time. Board a traditional bamboo raft for a calm ride led by raft captains who paddle and steer using long stalks of bamboo, leaving you free to focus on the diverse wildlife lining the shores. For a more active outing, combine a rafting trip with visits to nearby attractions such as the Luminous Lagoon, flush with bioluminescent phytoplankton that cause the water to glow at night, or the climbing course and natural water slide at Dunn’s River Falls. Most guided tours include refreshments, lunch, and round-trip transportation.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Martha Brae River is a must-see for nature lovers.
- The disembarkation area offers amenities such as a restroom, lounge area, and bar.
- Luminous Lagoon is best seen after dark, so plan for a late-afternoon start if you want to see both attractions in one trip.
- Private Martha Brae river-rafting tours offer a romantic and personalized experience.
- Miss Martha's Herb Garden, located at the embarkation point at Rafter’s Village, makes for a quick but informative stop to learn about Caribbean traditional medicinal and culinary herbs.
How to Get There
The small coastal town of Falmouth is the closest city to the Martha Brae headwaters, located just three miles (four kilometers) away. Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are each roughly an hour’s drive.
When to Get There
Jamaica’s year-round warm temperatures make it easy to plan a trip during any season, with the exception of May and October through November, which bring rain and hurricanes.