Best Things to Do in Jamaica on a Cruise
If you are visiting Jamaica on a Royal Caribbean cruise like we did recently on Oasis of the Seas, then your cruise ship will probably be docking in Falmouth, Jamaica. Located on the northern coast of the island, the historic Falmouth cruise port opened in 2011. Falmouth is located in close proximity to both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, requiring only a 30 minute or 45 minute drive respectively. Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are also popular cruise port destinations for many cruise lines offering more exciting options for shore excursions. If you are visiting any of these ports on your next cruise, you will want to take a look at our comprehensive guide on the best things to do in Jamaica on a cruise.
Best Things to Do in Jamaica on a Cruise – Falmouth Cruise Port
Visit Mystic Mountain
Mystic Mountain, located in Ocho Rios, offers many thrilling adventures in the heart of the Jamaican rainforest. Hop onboard the signature bobsled attraction to reenact a scene from Cool Runnings as you soar down the mountainside in your very own bobsled just like the famous Olympic team. Mystic Mountain also offers a canopy zipline tour where you can glide through the rainforest while admiring the aerial vistas. If you want to soar above the treetops without the thrill of the ziplines, Mystic Mountain also offers an aerial Sky Explorer tram providing similar panoramic views of the rainforest and nearby Dunn’s River Falls.
Also available with any of these attractions are access to the Lookout Tower, waterslide, infinity pool, butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, and nature trail. The Tranopy tour is all-inclusive providing access to the sky explorer tram, ziplines, and bobsled. Combo tours also exist with a visit to Dunn’s River Falls. We experienced a combo tour with the Sky Explorer, bobsled, and Dunn’s River Falls during our visit to Jamaica in 2013.
Best Things to Do in Jamaica on a Cruise – Mystic Mountain
Experience the Falls
Dunn’s River Falls is often described as a one of a kind attraction and voted the best shore excursion in Ocho Rios. It provides an exhilarating climb up a series of waterfalls ascending over 600 feet. As a group, you are led up the falls with an experienced guide in a human chain over the rocky terrain. With natural stone steps and some additional man-made accommodations for safety, you will feel the rush of the cool water as you make your way to the top, making a few stops along the way to pose under the waterfalls and dip into the natural pools. Some physical strength is required to make the climb to the top, and water sneakers are recommended as the climb can get a bit slippery. Dunn’s River Falls can be coupled with a variety of other activities for a fun-filled day in Jamaica.
Best Things to Do in Jamaica on a Cruise- Dunn’s River Falls
Blue Hole and Secret Falls, located in the hills of Ocho Rios, provides a similar experience but not as commercialized. Though less climbing, it still offers an action packed day. With its signature “blue hole” for swimming, diving, cliff jumping, and a tarzan swing, a 20 foot cascading waterfall, and secluded caves, your time spent at Blue Hole can be as adventurous or relaxing as you’d like. This attraction can also be combined with other activities on the White River including river tubing/rafting.
Take a Bob Marley Tour
For a true Bob Marley experience, take the 1.5 hour scenic drive from Ocho Rios to the mountain village Nine Miles, the birthplace of Bob Marley. Here, you can tour the very home in which the “King of Reggae” lived as a child and see his final resting place, while hearing stories of his life from your Rastafarian guide. You’ll even have a chance to stand on Mt. Zion Rock. The word on the street is that you should have an open mind if booking this tour!
You can also choose to visit the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, which is closer to a 2 hour drive from Ocho Rios. The Museum is located in the reggae legend’s former home and is filled with mementos from the musician’s life. The tour offers a 75 minute guided walk through the grounds including the Main House, Exhibition Hall, Theater, Gift Shop, and One Love Café. The Museum is open 9:30 am to 4pm, and tickets are currently priced at $25. If you are a Bob Marley fan, this should make your list of the best things to do in Jamaica on a cruise. For fans of reggae, it just might be worth the trek.
Taste the Local Flavor
No trip to Jamaica would be complete without tasting the local flavor. That is why it makes our list of the best things to do in Jamaica on a cruise. You would be missing out if you didn’t experience the Jamaican jerk chicken. With a spicy rub not intended for the delicate palette, your smoky jerk chicken will pair nicely with rice and beans and a Red Stripe beer. Scotchies, a casual eatery with locations in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Kingston, is often rated as one of the best restaurants in Jamaica, so why not stop in for a meal? Another popular local snack are the patties. Juici Patties and Tastee Patties both claim to serve the best flaky meat filled pastries, so you be the judge! Ackee and Salt Fish is another Jamaican favorite. The ackee fruit when boiled resembles scrambled eggs and is often paired with salted cod and vegetables for a tasty authentic dish. If none of these dishes peak your interest, you can still experience some local flavor by trying a cup of Blue Mountain coffee or some Appleton Estate Rum.
Best Things to Do in Jamaica on a Cruise – Taste the Local Flavor
Go Rafting on the Martha Brae
Located near the Falmouth cruise port is a unique rafting adventure. This 60 minute authentic Jamaican experience is perfect for families of all ages and couples looking for a relaxing exploration. Sit back and enjoy the ride on this 30 foot bamboo raft as you float down a 3 mile stretch of the Martha Brae River. You will take in the beautiful sights, learn about the legend of Martha Brae, and even take a quick dip in the water if you choose. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the natural landscapes and wildlife surrounding you. The rafts are pretty stable, so this excursion is perfect even for those who can’t swim, like myself! Included in the trip is also a visit to Miss Martha’s Herb Garden, a complimentary punch, and time to explore the Rafter’s Village for a handcrafted souvenir of the trip- perhaps a model-sized bamboo raft.
Best Things to Do in Jamaica on a Cruise – Rafting on the Martha Brae
Explore the Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto Caves located in Ocho Rios are now one of Jamaica’s most popular natural attractions but have served multiple purposes over the years, including a hideout for slaves and a storeroom for rum barrels during WWII. Exploring the unique limestone formations, stalagtites, and stalagmites of the Green Grotto Caves is certainly one of the best things to do in Jamaica on a cruise. This approximately 1 hour guided tour will take you through the underground passageways to the innermost cavern and grotto where you can admire the translucent waters. The great thing about this excursion is that it can be coupled with other experiences to make the most out of your visit to Jamaica.