Dip, Zip, and Sip with Chukka Jamaica at Dunn’s River Falls

Dip, Zip, and Sip with Chukka Jamaica at Dunn’s River Falls

Chukka Jamaica offers exciting tour at Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios

Zipline over Dunn’s River Falls with Chukka Jamaica. Photo credit Chukka Adventures

When I first heard about Chukka Jamaica’s zip line over Dunn’s River Falls, my first thought was “This is a gotta do!”

The video sealed it.

And believe me, the experience lived up to expectations.

The tour we did was a combination of a catamaran ride, climb of Dunn’s River Falls and a little ziplining thrown in. The experience, from we set off on the catamaran until we returned to the marina, was about 4.5-5 hours.


The tour started off on the catamaran at the marina beside Margaritaville at Island Village in Ocho Rios. Half an hour was allowed for snorkeling on the reef before docking at Dunn’s River Falls.

Catamaran to Dunn’s River Falls with Chukka Jamaica. Photo credit D Looney

Climbing Dunn’s River Falls

I’ve visited the falls several times but never climbed it until now. I’ve walked up the stairs alongside the falls and I’ve sat on the rocks where the river enters the sea; but, I had never actually climbed the falls.

Truth be told, I was always intimidated by this towering mass of rock with heavy and fast water flow. The idea of 20-30 people, or more, merely holding hands (possibly a child’s) and climbing the falls seemed like a prescription for disaster.

The allure of climbing the falls then go ziplining across the falls was too much to pass up and we went for it! This is as close as we come to living dangerously.

Jamaica’s Grand Dame – Dunn’s River Falls. Photo credit D. Looney

Our guide, Frank, was very reassuring to the group. He has been a guide for four years and had a strong focus on safety (trumpets he has not lost anyone yet).

First off, the water is cold, very cold, by Jamaican standards anyway. The good news is that you adjust to it fairly quickly.

The key to climbing the falls safely is to pay attention to your guide’s instructions and place your feet where the person ahead of you did. You also have to help each other. The person next to you is depending on you.

The rocks can be slippery. The guides know the non-slippery areas because they clean the rocks with wire brushes in anticipation of visitors. This is why the guides are so helpful.

You can climb the falls yourself. While a guide is not required, it is recommended, in my opinion. Even with a guide, we did encounter a few slippery spots.

The falls are impressive but not in a Niagara Falls kind of way. The falls are natural and tower up to over 600 feet. The stone formations are beautiful. The foliage around it is simply lush with the most beautiful shade of green. The water is clear, cold, and refreshing. In certain areas, the water beats in your body like a complimentary massage. Climbing the falls all the way to the top is sure to give a boost of self-confidence.

For more details about Dunn’s River Falls, read our blog post, “The 30 Questions Everyone Asks (or Should Ask) Before Visiting Jamaica”.

Ziplining over Dunn’s River Falls

We exited just before reaching the top of the falls to access the zip line. Since our tour was a combo tour, we only did three zip line stations and a bridge. The zips are short but pretty cool because we literally go through the trees and over the falls.

Chukka Jamaica’s Ziplining over Dunn’s River Falls. A must do activity in Ocho Rios. Photo credit Chukka Adventures

Note to self – I must do Chukka Jamaica’s full zip line tour over Dunn’s River, which has 7 zips and 4 bridges!

(For those who are wondering, Chukka Jamaica moved its Cranbrook Forest operations to Dunns River so the Cranbrook zip line experience is no more.)

Back to the catamaran

Once we finished ziplining, we made our way back to the beach to reboard the catamaran, which, on this leg, the staff dubbed Jamaica’s best party boat.

For the return trip, the catamaran was a lively booze/party cruise with rum punch and red stripe beer flowing and lots of singing and dancing.

Keep the noise level in mind if you have kids in tow, they might find it unbearable. The music was incredibly loud.


The tour ended with a late lunch at Margaritaville. We had a choice between jerk chicken and vegetarian fare. The food was good. Margaritaville is a great hanging out place. Their drink menu alone will make your head spin!

Just so you know … 19 Things to Know before you do the Chukka Jamaica Dunn’s River and Zipline Combo Tour

Chukka Jamaica Dunn’s River and Zipline Combo Tour
  1. Avoid the tour on cruise ship days. The falls, in particular, will be insanely crowded. 
  2. Snorkeling gear – masks and fins – are provided on the catamaran at no additional cost. You may bring your own if you so choose. Snorkeling is optional when they stop at the reef.
  3. You will get wet. Wear clothes that dry easily. If you are wearing a two-piece swimsuit, please make sure they are secure. The cold water and force of the water could easily cause wardrobe failure.
  4. Don’t bring anything that cannot or should not get wet when you climb the falls. Some people had clear plastic pouches for their phones. Do not climb with any kind of backpack or loose items in your hands. You really need your hands-free and to be unencumbered at all times.
  5. Wear shorts over your swimsuit if you are going to zipline.
  6. Wear water shoes. The water shoes are great for climbing the falls; plus, you need closed toe shoes for ziplining.
  7. Don’t forget sunscreen.
  8. The minimum height to climb Dunn’s River is 36 inches. I would suggest taller than that since in one area, the water was above my waist and I am 5ft 2 inches tall. Maximum weight for ziplining is 265lbs.
  9. We left our belongings on the catamaran while we climbed the falls and ziplined and our things were safe.
  10. Children, age 6 and older, are allowed on the tour; however, the ride back on the catamaran turns into a booze cruise and it’s party time. The music is very loud. 
  11. Guests must be age 18 or older to drink alcohol.
  12. Photos and videos are taken which are then available for purchase. The photographers and videographers are not employees of Chukka. The video was US$40 and the quality was only fair. We were in the video for only about 2 minutes in total.
  13. You need to be reasonably fit to climb the falls. There are some steep areas of the climb where you have to take reasonably large steps. Also, especially in the rainy season, the water current can be fast and strong. You really have to pay attention to what you are doing.
  14. You don’t have to be able to swim to climb the falls.
  15. No life jackets or safety gear are provided to climb the falls. As long as you observe the minimum height requirement, there should be no need for life jackets.
  16. If you are pregnant or have back or joint problems, you can take the stairs alongside the falls instead of actually climbing the falls.
  17. You will need cash for tips as well as cash or credit card for your drinks at Margaritaville.
  18. Everyone expects a tip … the catamaran crew, the guide up the falls, the zip line crew … and they aren’t bashful about asking.
  19. There are often complaints about pushy vendors who are in a shopping area near where you exit the falls after you have finished climbing. Since we did the zip line right after climbing the falls, we bypassed them and so were able to walk back down to the beach without being bothered.

Chukka Jamaica Dunn’s River Experience is in Ocho Rios, about 30-35 minutes from Mais Oui Villa in Discovery Bay.

Stay at Mais Oui Villa and get discounted rates to Chukka Jamaica’s Dunns River Zipline Experience!

‘Til next time.

Think and dream Jamaica!

Sherry, Darrell & Darrian

Considering a visit to Jamaica? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families, groups, and intimate destination weddings.

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!