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reIntroducing The All-New
Sandals Dunn's River

Nature and luxury go hand-in-hand at Sandals Dunn's River - the spectacular new resort in the heart of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Featuring 12 gourmet restaurants, 9 bars, and one-of-a-kind accommodations with modern designs inspired by the stunning phenomenon of the Dunn's River Falls.

Sandals Dunn's River Travel Agents

Sandals Dunns River Travel Agents
  • Located within minutes from Jamaica's National Treasure and most iconic attraction - Dunn's River Falls
  • Full exchange privileges with complimentary transfers to Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Sandals' sister resort. Enjoy all the luxuries included in Sandals' "Stay at One, Play at Two" concept offering twenty-eight (28) Dining options.
  • Dunn's Rum Club is Sandals first-ever Rum Lounge with over 30 rum selections from around the Caribbean. It's the ultimate experience.
  • Complimentary green fees at Jamaica's most elite and popular golf course, the Upton Estate Golf & Country Club (Transfers to the golf course are included).

Book Now! >>>>

Sandals Dunn's River is located on the beautiful North Coast of Jamaica. The resort is approximately 1 hour and 34 minutes away from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Resort Description:
On the north coast of Jamaica, rivers meander through forests and rushing waterfalls wash over the landscape. In this secluded sport, filled with the Earth's abundance, love flows naturally. Hand-picked by Sandals' founder for its pristine beach and its close distance to Jamaica's spectacular natural wonder. Now, completely reimagined, Sandals Dunn's River returns to the Sandals Family.

Learn More >>>>
Number of Rooms & Suites: 260 Number of Room Categories: 14 Resort Size: 25 Acres

All rooms include:
Air conditioning, king-size bed, stocked refrigerator, amenity kit, make-up mirror, telephone, private bath and shower, safe, iHome radios, HD smart televisions and iron with ironing board.

There are nine (9) bars/cocktail lounges Aqua Bar 10:00 a.m. - 06:00 p.m. Laughing Water (Bubble) Bar 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Dunn's Rum Bar 04:00 p.m. - 02:00 a.m. Greek Bar 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Lapidus Lounge & Bar 05:00 p.m. - 01:00 a.m. Lobby Bar 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m. Hanami Bar 06:00 p.m. - 09:30 p.m. Ocarina (Rooftop) Lounge & Bar 05:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Plaza Bar 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Sundays Love is all you need "Movie Night - Main Beach" Mondays Est. 1981 "Live Band with Vocalist" Tuesdays Hard Drive Band Live Retro Vibe - Main Beach Wednesdays Circus Live - Main Beach Thursdays Silent Headphone Party Fridays Beach Party "Steel Pan Orchestra" Saturdays Sandals Live "Icon Band"

Managers' Welcome - Meet & Greet Sandals Select Cocktail Reception & Dinner Club Sandals Guests Cocktail Reception
See More About This Resort >>>
Land sports:
Volleyball Board Games Shuffle Board Bocce Ball Pool Croquet Cricket Table Tennis Chess Board Watersports: Scuba Diving - Certified Divers Two (2) free dives per day - Certification Card must be produced. Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) - Available for beginners at an additional fee. International Certification also available at an additional fee. Glass Bottom Boat Sailing Paddleboards Waterskiing Hobie Cats Snorkeling PADI® Scuba Diving Scuba Diving Kayaking Wakeboarding Knee boarding Open Daily: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sandals Dunn's River Travel Agents

Click on the Sandals news article or a category learn more. We recognize that Sandals vacations are not just an investment, but often the highlights of our lives, and we take that responsibility seriously. We want to ensure you have the best Sandals experience.
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Sandals Dunn’s River: Then and Now

Behind the scenes
November 8th 2023
Sandals Dunn’s River: Then and Now

Let’s take a ride to the Caribbean, circa 1950s. Travelers are beginning to discover a lush island with virgin beaches, impossible ocean views, and the friendliest people in the world: Jamaica. They’re drawn specifically to Ocho Rios, a hidden gem on the island’s north coast where they can be among the first to experience the new Arawak Hotel. The hotel is an architectural masterpiece. The rooms are creatively angled toward the sea. Art-deco elements, novel for the time, infuse sophistication into the tropical destination. At the center of it all sits a banyan tree, with its arms out wide, welcoming guests to this living island getaway.

“If you wanted to build a hotel at that time, you could have your pick of the best locations and this was among the best,” says Sandals Executive Chairman Adam Stewart. “The Arawak literally helped put Jamaica on the map. It was the place to be, and to be seen.”


Guests lounge, play, and linger at the Morris Lapidus designed Arawak Hotel, the place to be and be seen in the 1950s.

The hotel emerged from the imaginative mind of legendary architect Morris Lapidus, who called his work “an architecture of joy.” Guests of the Arawak came to bask in luxury and experience that unique island joy, with designs subtly leading them from the banyan tree to the beach. On some days, they’d see a boy walking along the sand, carrying fresh fish he’d sell to the hotel so guests from around the world could share the affection he felt for his Jamaican home.

Remember this boy.


Notes of Nostalgia: A postcard from the famed Arawak Hotel in the '50s, an upscale retreat for adventurous travelers, whose sun-drenched sands are home to today's Sandals Dunn's River.

The Boy Returns

By the 1980s and 90s tourism was thriving in Jamaica, but still nothing compared to the architecture of the original Arawak, or the intentional joy it exuded. The spirit of the hotel had made such an impression on the boy who provided fish that as an adult, he would decide to welcome it into his family of Jamaican-born hotels.

This lifelong entrepreneur was Adam Stewart’s father, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, and his first version of Sandals Dunn’s River at the site of the Arawak quickly became the next pinnacle of all-inclusive luxury.

“The story of Sandals Dunn's River has special meaning to our family," says Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, "My dad grew up on the beach here at the Arawak Hotel in Ocho Rios, where he used to play and sell fish to the kitchen as a young boy. He dreamed of creating a place to showcase the splendor of the island with travelers from across the world - and with Jamaica as his biggest inspiration, he did just that when he introduced the original Sandals Dunn's River back in the early '90s.”


A glimpse of the original Sandals Dunn's River (left) and the 21st century's Sandals Dunn’s River (right) with sparkling pools, verandas, and endless opportunities for indulgence.

A waterfall, symbolic of Jamaica’s natural wonders, spilled into the largest pool in the Caribbean. Guests could swim up to a pool bar, an unheard-of concept at the time, and then retreat to suites with breathtaking ocean views.


The heart of the happenings: the tranquil waters of the original Sandals Dunn's River pool in the early '90s, where guests were invited to swim-up, relax, and soak in the surrounding blues.

But the two qualities that brought so much notoriety to the Arawak were left untouched: the beach, which remained as perfect as when it was first found, and the hotel’s most distinctive designs.

“The Stewarts have never been a family that looks to knock things down,” says Sara Hartman, VP of interior design for Hospitality Purveyors Inc., the exclusive design and procurement arm for all Sandals Resorts International properties. “They show an appreciation for superior architecture by honoring the past while also looking to the future.”

The Future is Here

In 2020, the Stewarts recognized an opportunity to again transform the iconic hotel into yet another benchmark for Caribbean luxury. This time father and son duo would work on the 2.0 version of Sandals Dunn’s River together.


The idyllic shores that welcomed guests at the original Sandals Dunn's River (left) are ready to host a new chapter of luxury at the new Sandals Dunn's River (right) after an enchanting transformation.

“Dad opened incredible resorts around the Caribbean,” says Sandals Resorts International Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, “but he always had an emotional tie to this one. I think he’d be amazingly proud of what’s been accomplished here."

The memories became the literal foundation for his final project, combining the celebrated designs of yesterday with unprecedented designs that are now being seen for the first time. It all starts with the original footprint that Morris Lapidus drew for the Arawak Hotel.

“As a designer, I knew he must have had a vision for this property,” Hartman says, “but I didn’t understand it until I came and saw it in person. There really is a certain kind of joy in the use of spaces. We wanted to retain that.”

Back then, it was a cutting edge for guests to enter an open lobby and immediately see the pool out back. The lobby, mezzanine, and columns are still here, but now they’re more open to the main pool and the Caribbean Sea. The pool that rewrote the meaning of “big” is bigger than ever, practically spilling out to the ocean.


Brimming with natural light and organic sculptures, the lobby at Sandals Dunn's River invites guests to experience the lush Jamaican flora indoors.

It was also an architectural feat in the 1950s to angle two hotel towers and their balconies in such a way to make the ocean a constant focal point. That’s exactly what Lapidus did. “The towers are spot on,” Hartman says, “so we preserved them.”


The ocean view of the Mammee Bay Beachfront One Bedroom Butler Suite frames the Caribbean sea - a sweep of endless blue at your doorstep.

The Mammee Bay Beachfront Suites open out to the Caribbean sea, a sweep of endless blue at your doorstep.

Lapidus ensured guests would always know they’re in Jamaica. It’s why, among other ideas, he kept the banyan tree in such a prominent spot. But the latest innovations for the new Sandals Dunn’s River create the island embrace that even Lapidus could not have imagined.

“We always challenge ourselves to stretch the limits of what can be done,” Hartman says. “Our discussions for this project eventually came down to this: Let’s use innovation to accentuate the raw beauty of Ocho Rios.”

The same crystal-clear water that flows from rivers to the ocean also meanders down locally inspired terraces. It’s designed into rain curtains in the lobby and privacy curtains in suites. Waterfalls accompany guests to the spa and pool. Live ferns drape elegantly from ceilings and walls. Palm trees and indigenous flora form corridors toward the ever-present beach and the massive banyan tree that has welcomed guests since they first ventured to Jamaica and its legendary resort.

“The tree is an architectural centerpiece,” Hartman says. “It helps tell the story of Sandals Dunn’s River and our mission: Elevate the experience and never lose sight of Jamaica.”


The Coyaba Sky Villa Swim-up Rondoval Butler Suite is designed with a rooftop primed for gazing into the Caribbean cosmos - complete with a personal Stargazing Concierge to help you navigate the stars.

Guests can relax on the all-glass balcony of a Tufa Terrace SkyPool Suite, forging a connection with the sand and sea. The innovative Coyaba Sky Villa Rondovals invite couples to soak in rooftop tubs, surrounded by the moving waters that fuel the island’s natural beauty. Then, at night, you stand mesmerized by the Caribbean sunset and an incomprehensible galaxy of stars.

“We went off the chain a little bit with the new Rondovals,” Hartman says. “When I suggested we cut off the roof, Adam said 'let’s do it'. So, it’s a major ‘wow’ as soon as you enter and look up at this 13-foot ceiling. You have the serenity of the rain curtains at the private plunge pool. And then you go up to the deck to the freestanding tub and telescope. It all feeds into the Jamaican experience we wanted guests to experience across the entire resort.”


The serpentine curves of the Coyaba Rondoval village mimic the flow of Jamaica's winding rivers, inviting guests to dip in private plunge pools, enscone behind falling rain curtains, and lounge in luxury.

It's an experience where there are no boundaries between a luxury vacation and what Adam Stewart calls “a botanical wonderland,” or between past and present. In fact, on the ground floor of one of the original Arawak buildings, the design team created an ode to its heritage: the Lapidus Lounge, where guests can look at mementos from the famous architect and sip special cocktails from his era.

Jamaican joy extends beyond design into dining with the new Dunn's Rum Club, which celebrates the quintessentially Caribbean spirit in a sultry rum lounge setting and serves more than 30 rum varieties - the most extensive collection in any Sandals Resort. Guests can also enjoy the new BLŪM Café, inspired by Jamaica's quintessential Blue Mountains, where coffee beans are harvested and roasted exclusively for the resort.


Taste the robust flavors of authentic blue mountain coffee at BLŪM Cafe (left) - where the coffee is as rich in history as it is in flavor - and resplendent Caribbean Rum at the Sandals Dunn's Rum Club (right).

"From its days as the Arawak to the now Sandals Dunn's River, I think my dad would be amazingly proud of what’s been accomplished here," says Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.

From Lapidus to the Stewarts, from the Arawak to Sandals Dunn’s River, this has always been, and always will be, more than a resort. It’s an immersive experience that honors the land and the joy pouring through it. It’s exactly what the boy selling fish dreamed of sharing with everyone.

To learn more about the story behind Sandals Dunn's River's architectural evolution, please listen to the Sandals PalmCast with Sandals Resorts' Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart, below.

Matthew & Adriana: Picture-Perfect Proposal at Sandals Dunn’s River

October 25th 2023
Matthew & Adriana: Picture-Perfect Proposal at Sandals Dunn’s River

On a weekday morning in mid-July, Matthew Mair walked out of his home in Miami clutching a backpack the way a child holds a teddy bear. The key to a phenomenal future lay secretly buried in the bag.

“I kept wondering why he wouldn’t let anyone touch the backpack,” says Matthew’s fiancé, Adriana Garcia. “He never let it out of his sight.”

He watched it pass through security at the airport. He held it in his lap on the flight to Jamaica and kept it there during the ride to the lobby of Sandals Dunn’s River. There, still gripping the backpack, Matthew stepped with Adriana into a spectacular Caribbean embrace.

“As soon as the car door opened, we knew this would be a huge step up from anywhere we’ve ever been,” Adriana says, “and that we would never forget it.”

She would not know for another two days the depth of why they would never forget this trip.


The hidden gem

Matthew and Adriana had traveled to nice resorts in Jamaica over the years, soaking up the sunshine and sounds of the Caribbean. But they’d never experienced anything as natural as those first few moments at Sandals Dunn’s River. The welcome drinks, the welcome smiles, and the “welcome home” immediately began to untangle Matthew’s ball of nerves and replace it with tingles of excitement.

“When people treat you that well from the first hello, you know it’s genuine,” Matthew says. “It sets your mind free.”

That’s exactly what the two of them needed. Adriana came to Sandals Dunn’s River to free herself from her mentally draining work as a senior analyst. “I wanted to enjoy the beach, the relaxation, and maybe get a massage. But really, I had no plans.”

She also had no clue what Matthew had in his mind or in the core of his backpack. Inside was a second stuffed bag. Buried within that bag was a sunglasses case. The sunglasses case housed a smaller hard case. Inside that fourth layer of protection sat an engagement ring, poised for the first-ever marriage proposal at the new Sandals Dunn’s River.

“Adriana catches onto everything,” Matthew says. “She reviews documents for a living, so I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to keep my emotions from giving away the secret.”

The view of the ocean and the radiance of the Sandals staff helped. They appeared around every corner with a calming presence.

“I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to have a community of people helping me every step of the way,” Matthew says. “They knew my vision. All I had to do was show up with the ring.”


The vision comes to life

Matthew had more than an engagement ring to work with. He had a lush Caribbean island. He had a turquoise sea and a silky-soft beach. He had the luxury of Sandals, meaning he could pop the question on a catamaran cruise, in a tropical garden, or while diving over a magnificent reef.

“I know what Adriana wants and doesn’t want,” Matthew says. He’d gradually gotten to know her since they worked together as teenagers at a sandwich shop. She would not want the proposal to be too public, but also not too private. She’d want it to be beautiful, unique, and shared with a few people who would also treasure the moment.

To find that narrow sweet spot, Matthew thought he’d work the big question into a photo shoot with a Sandals photographer. They could capture every bit of the milestone on camera: the beach, the ocean, the sunset, and (hopefully) the yes.

“The Sandals Engagement Concierge team listened to my ideas,” he says, “and then created a moment far beyond my expectations. They handled every detail.”

Matthew only had to handle the ring. Half an hour before the scheduled photo shoot, he pushed it deep into a pocket and told Adriana he was going out for some ice. A Sandals village was ready for him.

“Hey Matthew, my friend,” a bartender called out, “let me give you something.” He poured Matthew a shot of Appleton 12 and filled his bucket with ice. The general manager assured him everything was in place. The bartender poured him a second shot of rum.

“I’m not sure how the entire staff knew what was going on,” Matthew says, “but having them in my corner helped me enjoy the moment.”

When the photo session started, the Sandals staff photographer led Matthew and Adriana to the pool. Click. Then to the garden gazebo. Click. To a bridge. Click. Click. At every stop, Adriana thought, “Oh, this will look nice in a frame.”

Back on the beach, another Sandals team was setting up a picnic from paradise. Champagne. Flowers. Chocolate-covered strawberries. All in front of the sea and the last gentle daylit waves.

“Let’s finish next to the water,” Matthew said. Adriana walked over to the blanket, watching the sky turn colors and waiting for the click of the camera. As the sun dropped to the ocean, Matthew dropped to a knee. And Adriana’s world turned into a fairytale.


A champagne cork flew into the sky. A saxophone player strolled onto the beach. A drone hovered overhead. A sand-colored tarp pulled away from the words “Marry Me” spelled in sea stones. Adriana’s face became a beautiful shade of red.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!”

With the ring securely on Adriana’s finger, Matthew stood and looked around. People on the dock clapped. Guests at the pool toasted. Newlyweds on the boardwalk stopped. Women cried. And husbands said to themselves: Why didn’t I think of that?

One happy heart

On the day when Matthew and Adriana prepared to leave Sandals Dunn’s River, congratulatory echoes met them everywhere they turned: from the watersports staff, the entertainment team, the restaurant staff, and the entire Sandals family.

“They were thanking us for allowing them to be part of our special moment,” Matthew says. “Where do you find that? Staff members thanking guests?”

In a way, Adriana never really left Sandals Dunn’s River. She keeps the resort alive with a caption in her Instagram bio: “I’m on Cloud Sandals until further notice!” And her face still turns a happy shade of red when she talks about the proposal in choppy sentences.

“It’s so fresh. I’m still shocked. It’s heartwarming.”

Matthew laughs. He sounds relaxed, like a man who’s finally released his grip on a phenomenal future and is now living in it. “The proposal and people at Sandals set the tone for our life together,” he says, “and it’s better than I ever pictured.”

Already popped the question? Then it's time to start planning your wedding celebrations! Share your vision with our wedding experts at 1-877-726-3257 and get all the support you need to bring your dream ceremony to life in the sunny Caribbean.

Inside the Grand Opening of Sandals Dunn’s River, Where Legends Come Home

Behind the scenes
June 15th 2023
Inside the Grand Opening of Sandals Dunn’s River, Where Legends Come Home

Over the weekend of May 19, a new moon rose in the skyscape of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. With it came a cosmic reset and a renewed sense of direction for the Sandals Resorts family. In great celebration and legendary fashion, Sandals Resorts unveiled its latest resort, the all-new Sandals Dunn’s River.


Pictured here: The 260-room Sandals Dunn's River, where modern design meets lush Caribbean landscapes.

In the presence of Caribbean leaders and dignitaries and Jamaica’s most famous performers, the new resort welcomed its first guests to honor the legends of the past, while keeping sights set on the future of Jamaican tourism. The A-list guest list included the likes of GRAMMY-award-winning artist Shaggy, The Voice winner Tessanne Chin, and the renowned cast of STOMP, fresh off their Broadway run. The party was a celebration not only of Sandals’ newest resort, but a commemoration of a 30-year-old dream realized.


Pictured here: From left to right: Singer-songwriter Shaggy, 'The Voice' Winner Tessanne Chin, and STOMP performers.

Three decades ago, our founder Gordon “Butch” Stewart handpicked the hallowed land that now holds Sandals Dunn’s River, once home to the iconic Arawak Hotel. In this way, the new resort stands as a representation of legends and a dedication to the golden age of Jamaican tourism. Stewart, who grew up on the sands and shores of Jamaica, left his fingerprints on every corner of the new resort, which stands as the final project he collaborated on with his son, Sandals’ current Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart.

With this sacred history in mind, the grand opening celebration featured a tribute to the late founder, Gordon Stewart – a hospitality giant with a larger than life legacy, who spent his early days selling fish to local resorts in Ocho Rios. His story, the Sandals story, is the stuff of legends, and that is what we were there to celebrate.


Pictured here: A soul-stirring tribute by a 40-person choir from the University of West Indies, honoring Sandals Resorts International's Founder Gordon 'Butch' Stewart's life and legacy.

Upon arrival at the swanky celebration, Caribbean Prime Ministers, Sandals executives, and honored guests were greeted with an exclusive cocktail, the “Jamaican Sorrel Royale,” a sparkling version of the traditional Jamaican Rum Punch. Between sips, they snacked on delicious bites from across the resort’s new restaurant concepts, including macarons infused with the destination’s locally-sourced chocolate and treasured Blue Mountain coffee.


Pictured here: The Most Honourable Andrew Michael Holness of Jamaica (left) and Sandals Resorts Executive Chairman Adam Stewart (right) share a cup of coffee at the first of its kind BLŪM coffee shop, one of Sandals' latest innovations.

Guests mixed and mingled to the melodies of a 40-member choir from the University of the West Indies, the Edna Manley College, and the Ashe Company. Jamaica’s most talented performers and most awe-inspiring voices swelled through a spanning and emotional tribute to Stewart, honoring a life well lived, a dream realized, and a legacy that will never be forgotten.

The music and the magic didn’t stop there. Well beyond sundown, guests danced to the sounds of a steel drum band and marveled at state-of-the-art video mapping of the iconic Dunn’s River Falls. At this celebration, the performances were not limited to a stage. Above the horizon line, aerial ribbon dancers gracefully scaled the facades of the resort’s new buildings, and entertainers performed in pools, floating on original bamboo rafts custom made by Jamaican artisans. This legendary celebration unfolded in the heights of the skies and the depths of the waters.


Pictured here: Gravity-defying aerial acrobats scale the façade of Sandals Dunn's River.


Pictured here: STOMP's show-stopping percussion brought the grand opening celebration of Sandals Dunn's River to life.

The thrilling artistry culminated in performances from world-renowned entertainers, beginning with a soul-stirring performance from the cast of STOMP, who brought the heartbeat of Jamaica to the new Sandals Dunn’s River grounds. On the edges of seats and the tips of toes, guests roared as they welcomed the ever-iconic Mr. Boombastic himself, Shaggy. The “King of Reggae” and the pride of Jamaica, Shaggy performed his greatest hits from “It Wasn’t Me" to “In The Summertime,” encouraging celebrators to sing along. The mere presence of these performers represented something far greater than evening party entertainment. These artists, alongside honored Caribbean dignitaries, represent the soul of the island Sandals Dunn’s River now calls home and their involvement certifies the authenticity and heart that was so thoughtfully poured into the culture of this new resort.


Pictured here: Mr. Bombastic himself, Shaggy, capped the night off with a surprise performance.

The performances ended in extravagant fashion, with an impressive fireworks display large enough to light up the entire Ocho Rios sky. Still, the celebrations continued into the night at a lunar after-party and beach bash under the light of the new moon.

All great parties, even the best of them, eventually come to an end. The thrills are ephemeral, the drinks run dry, and the performers rest. Stages are struck and new moons wax, but the reason for celebration never wanes. In the shadow of the Sandals Dunn’s River opening, we’re left only with the memories. What remains, of course, is the greatness, the legacy, and the promise of the all-new Sandals Dunn’s River.

The resort, the 17th in the Sandals Resorts family, awaits you, our honored guests. Here, the future promises new memories, greater parties, romantic moments, sweet hellos and bittersweet goodbyes.


Pictured here: After the surprise Shaggy performance, fireworks illuminated the nightsky of Ocho Rios.

Whether Dunn’s River marks your first or 17th Sandals visit, there is something new in store for you here. If you think you’ve seen it all, you haven't. At Sandals Dunn’s River, Jamaican roots are infused into every touchpoint, each corner of the resort echoing the destination’s lush forests and majestic banyan trees. The water that flows through the resort is sourced directly from the natural reserves of the Dunn's River Falls, from the lobby waterfalls to the cascading pools of the Red Lane Spa and Jamaica's largest pool. The all-new Tufa SkyPool Butler Suites mark the first cantilevered suites in Jamaica, featuring glass panels spanning the length of oceanfront balconies. The guest-favorite Coyaba Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suites have been reimagined with vast open-air rooftops tucked into the island’s lush flora.

For the Sandals Resorts family, the people of Jamaica, and you, Sandals Dunn’s River is a legendary gift from the grand hotelier who started it all, and in only the way he would expect, the resort offers an entirely new experience of the island, of home. To learn more about the new Sandals Dunn’s River from the great minds who built it, tune into our latest PalmCast episode, “A Legendary Welcome: Executive Chairman Adam Stewart Introduces Sandals Dunn’s River”.

Relive the magic of the Sandals Dunn's River Grand Opening Celebration with our recap video. Please click the below video view.

Dunn's River Falls: The Complete Guide

Island Life
July 4th 2022
Dunn's River Falls: The Complete Guide

Just like reggae music, Dunn’s River Falls is a unique and world-famous attraction on the island of Jamaica. The 180-foot high, 600-foot long landmark stands as a living testament to Jamaica’s natural beauty and attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year.

A brisk 1 hour and 30-minute hike will take you on an exhilarating adventure to the summit through lush surroundings, dotted with natural swimming pools.

The fall’s most defining feature, however, lies at its base. There, the falls empty into the sea at Little Dunn’s River Beach, making Dunn’s River Falls one of the few travertine waterfalls in the entire world. Let's dive in!

What happened to Sandals Dunn's River? Sandals Dunn's River returned to the Sandals family and reopened its doors on May 24th, 2023. This incredible property has taken luxury to the next level and the cascading waters of Dunn's River flow throughout this remarkable all-inclusive resort.

In this article on the Sandals Blog:

The history of Dunn's River Falls
Climbing the Falls: What to expect
Who can climb Dunn's River Falls?
Other things to do at Dunn's River Falls
The best time to visit the Falls
How to get to Dunn’s River Falls?
What to pack?

The history of Dunn’s River Falls


Photo credit: KKulikov/

This popular attraction is said to have been the scene of the legendary historic battle of the “Las Chorreras”. The battle was fought in the year 1657 between the Spanish and the English for ownership of the land. During the conflict, the Spanish were defeated.

When England triumphed over Spain, the name of the area seemed to have gotten lost in translation and was somehow reduced from “Las Chorreras” meaning “the waterfalls or springs” to Ocho Rios meaning “Eight Rivers”. The irony is that there aren’t eight rivers in Ocho Rios, there are only four!

Even if the history of this area doesn’t interest you much, you can also appreciate the pop culture significance of Dunn’s River Falls and Ocho Rios in general. You’ve surely seen the beauty of the region in the James Bond film Dr. No, or beach scenes from Cocktail with Tom Cruise, and in more recent years a fashionista’s paradise in an episode of America's Next Top Model.

Climbing the Dunn’s River Falls: What to expect


Dunn’s River offers two climbs: a wet climb and a dry climb. If you are not a fan of getting wet, then the dry climb would be best for you. The wet climb entails walking within the falls and through the water, so a swimsuit or clothing that will dry quickly is best for the climb. The dry climb involves hiking a trail alongside the falls. Both trails are equally fun, but only the wet climb will take you all the way up to the summit.

Proceed with caution when approaching the top of the falls because it can be slippery along the rocks. Climbing the falls without a tour guide is not permitted, so feel free to ask your guide to help you navigate your way. For the dry climbers, you can make use of the handrails on the sidewalk should you feel unsteady at any time.

Insider tip: There are plenty of tour companies in Jamaica, so it can be difficult to know which one to choose. The Dunn's River Falls Tour by Island Routes includes a catamaran cruise as well! Island Routes is Sandals' preferred partner for good reason.

Don’t forget to pack a pair of anti-slip sneakers or water shoes. You’ll definitely need them as you make your way up and down the falls. Another safety precaution is to join a human chain of people holding each other’s hands as they make their way up and down the falls. This is such a common occurrence on the falls that it’s practically a ritual.

Insider tip: Buy and bring your own water shoes. You’ll get them for the same price as you’d pay to rent them on your vacation, except you’ll have them for your entire vacation and beyond.


Photo credit: Steven Frame/

If you want to take a dip into the water while doing the dry climb, there are several points along the path where you can easily access the river, if you wish. The refreshingly cool water will wash over you as it cascades down the fall.

Though Dunn’s River Falls is not man-made, some of the terraces incorporate man-made improvements. Several small lagoons are interspersed among the vertical sections of the falls, purely for your relaxation and pleasure.

Insider tip: Bring a change of clothes for post-climb, if you want to get dry quickly. Dunn’s River Falls Park provides locker rooms, where you can store your belongings securely. They cost up to $10 USD up front, of which $3 USD will be returned to you when you collect your belongings and present the receipts and key.

If you decide to make your own way by taxi to the falls, the admission rates (as of June 2022) are as follows:

$25 USD Non-resident adult (or JMD equivalent)

$17 USD Non-resident child (or JMD equivalent)

$1000.00 JMD per Resident adult

$500.00 JMD per Resident child

To obtain the resident rate, you will have to show a valid Jamaican driver’s license or ID card.

All tickets include a tour guide. It is not possible to visit the Falls without one. You can pay with US dollars (USD), local Jamaican dollars (JMD), or a credit card. Bring a little extra cash to purchase a few of the souvenirs and snacks that are available on-site.

Who can climb Dunn’s River Falls?


There are no height restrictions for this climb, but it is not recommended to bring along small children or people who are not strong enough to swim at the foot of the falls. However, there are plenty of other attractions nearby to keep the family entertained for the entire day, or just during your climb.

It’s recommended that the below people not climb the falls:

  • Women who are pregnant
  • People with heart conditions or high blood pressure
  • People with back, knee, or neck problems
  • Those with significant physical ailments or other conditions (eg. respiratory issues, recent hand/arm surgery)
  • Those with diabetes or other health problems that may make them more vulnerable to injury
  • Those under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Those under 3 feet tall

Other things to do at Dunn’s River Falls: Something for everyone


Chasing waterfalls isn’t for everybody, so if all you desire is a happy snap with a backdrop of the cascades then so be it. There is a multitude of alternative activities to keep you entertained while waiting for your fellow vacation buddies to climb the falls.

Enjoy The Central Gardens: Tropical garden with a water park for the kids

Complete with three lush gardens, a waterslide, and a splash pad as its center, this rustic space boasts 12 wood-overlaid kiosks laden with Dunn’s River Falls Park branded merchandise, a photo shop where you can collect insta-memories of the falls, ice-cream, pizza, and a host of other commodities.

Get some authentic souvenirs at the Craft Market

Get sucked into the competitive world of craft markets in Ocho Rios. Crafts markets are in abundance in Jamaica, but with Dunn’s River Falls being the biggest attraction, it’s safe to say the craft market at Dunn’s River Falls Park has some of the best souvenirs.

Relax at Dunn’s River Falls Beach


Located at the base of the falls, Dunn's River Falls Beach has a spectacular view of the cascading waterfalls. All-day beach access is included in your falls adventure, so take a run on the beach, stroll while admiring the flora near the falls (including tropical flora like bamboo, crotons, ferns, ginger lilies, orchids, and a variety of palm and breadfruit trees), or simply watch the sunset while relaxing on the beach at the foot of the descent.

Enjoy local food at the Falls

For a true Jamaican culinary experience, head over to the cafeteria where you can be served jerk chicken, pork, fish, and a variety of snacks. For a lovely day out with friends and family, pack your own picnic, and cook your favorites on the convenient grills scattered around the park.

The best time to visit Dunn’s River Falls


Dubbed a living phenomenon, Dunn’s River Falls has become a prominent feature on bucket lists all over the world.

Needless to say, crowds are something to be cognizant of, especially where cruise ships are concerned. Crowds can easily be avoided if you know the best times to visit. Check the Ocho Rios cruise ship port schedule for the days you are planning to book your tickets or tour. If you are booking a tour, your tour operator is the best place to turn for advice on timing your visit.

The Dunn’s River Falls’ daily operating hours are 8:30 AM - 4 PM from Monday to Sunday.

Insider tip: Try to avoid visiting the Dunn’s River Falls on Wednesdays because it’s a busy cruise ship day. Saturdays and Sundays are great days to visit the falls, but can still get a little busy with locals.

We would also suggest that you tackle the falls either first thing in the morning or the last thing in the afternoon. That way you’ll avoid the midday crowds.


The climb will take you anything from 35 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. So, the sooner you get moving, the longer you’ll have to take it all in without interruptions.

Insider tip: Read our in-depth guide on when it's the best time to visit Jamaica. You’ll learn about the temperature and rainfall in different Jamaican destinations, and get an overview of annual events taking place in Jamaica.

The water temperature at the Falls is pretty consistent year-round. On rainy days expect the water to be a bit colder. Similarly, on hot sunny days, the water temperature at Dunn’s River Falls is warmer but still cool and refreshing.

Where is Dunn’s River Falls and how do I get there?

Only a stone’s throw away from Ocho Rios on the northern coast of Jamaica sits the giant natural staircase. Visitors can take a 5-minute drive on land or arrive by water from any one of the Sandals resorts, including Sandals Ochi (all-inclusive couples-only resort), Beaches Ocho Rios (family-friendly all-inclusive resort) and Sandals Royal Plantation (adults-only luxurious beachfront butler suites).

If the surrounding cities have piqued your interest, note that Dunn’s River Falls will be anything from a 1 to 3-hour drive away, depending on your location.

From Falmouth to Ocho Rios: 1 hour, 10 minutes’ drive.

From Kingston to Ocho Rios: 1 hour, 15 minutes’ drive.

From Montego Bay to Ocho Rios: 1 hour, 45 minutes’ drive.

From Port Antonio to Ocho Rios: 2 hours’ drive.

From Negril to Ocho Rios: 3 hours’ drive.

Cruisers docking at Ocho Rios will have plenty of time to climb the falls. After a 10-minute drive from the port, your adventure will be underway!

If you’re docking at the ports in Montego Bay, Port Antonio, or Falmouth, you’ll still have the opportunity to complete the climb. However, your commute will be slightly longer, so be sure to budget additional time into your schedule.

What to pack for Dunn’s River Falls?


Whether you’re passing through Jamaica on a cruise liner, or staying at your favorite Jamaican all-inclusive resort, there are a few items you should pack to ensure a relaxed day on your Dunn’s River Falls escapade.

  • Swimwear
  • Water shoes
  • Camera (waterproof if possible)
  • Money for the entrance fee, food and water, and a tip for your tour guide (not mandatory)
  • Change of clothes

Capturing the moment is what allows great memories to live on, but we wouldn’t advise you to bring a fancy camera to enjoy the falls. It will likely get wet or damaged. A simple point-and-shoot HD waterproof camera will allow you to create stress-free snaps along the way. If you forgot to bring a camera, it’s not a lost opportunity. Be sure to don your best smile at all times because you never know when a Falls-employed photographer may cross your path. Be warned, though, that they will charge you a small fee for the photograph if you want a copy to take home.

Frequently asked questions about Dunn’s River Falls

How much does it cost to go to Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica?

If you are not a Jamaican resident, admittance to Dunn’s River Falls is about $25 USD per person, ages 13 and up, while admittance for children aged 12 and under is about $17 USD. Jamaican residents pay $1000 JMD per person for visitors aged 13 years and up (those who are aged 18 and older must present a locally issued picture ID), and $500 JMD if the child is 12 years old or younger.

What can I expect at Dunn's River Falls?


On a Dunn’s River Falls tour, you can expect to see and climb the beautiful travertine falls, which are usually pleasant to swim in. When the weather is hot, the water is normally warmer. When it rains, the water is colder but still nice to swim in. You can also expect to have a guide, and access to restaurants, restrooms, changing rooms, and lockers to store your belongings.

Why is Dunn’s River Falls famous?

Dunn's River Falls is the historical site of the Spanish-named “Las Chorreras” battle, which was fought in 1657 between the Spanish and English for ownership of Jamaica. “Las Chorreras” aptly translates to “The Waterfalls” or “The Springs” in English, tying the battle to the falls forever.

How far from Montego Bay to Dunn’s River Falls?

From Montego Bay to Dunn’s River Falls is about 3 miles (4.8 km). From Ocho Rios, it is 2.7 miles (4.3 km), from Negril, it is 107.5 miles (173 km), from Falmouth, it is 43.2 miles (69.5 km), and from Port Antonio, it is 65 miles (106.2 km).

Can you go to Dunn’s River Falls on your own?


Absolutely! However, it is far less convenient than if you simply book a tour at the Sandals resort tour desk. By booking through the resort, you’ll have transportation to and from the Falls arranged for you. You can easily book a Dunn’s River Falls tour and other extras before you arrive.

Who knew that waterfalls were so fascinating and could provide hours of entertainment at the same time? Ocho Rios is full of surprises, and it’s more than just luxurious beaches, crystal clear ocean water, and sunny days filled with rum punch. Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios is definitely not something you want to miss on your next trip to Jamaica.

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