Nature reserves and Lagoons of Jamaica

When it comes to natural scenery, Jamaica might be 75% beaches, but that other little sliver is reserved for lush nature reserves and lagoons populated by tropical flora and fauna.

And these landscapes aren’t just for looking at – you can dive in, hike up and boat across to make sure you’ve lapped up absolutely every morsel of what this unique terrain has to offer.

If you’re heading to Jamaica and want to go off the beaten hotel-and-beach path, we’ve got a list of natural sites you’d be wise to check out.

Royal Palm Reserve, Negril

The Royal Palm Reserve is a 300 acre expanse located within the massive Negril Great Morass, a giant nature reserve paved with swampy wetlands and marshes.

Visiting this smaller chunk is a hassle-free way to get an insight into the larger reserve, as there’s an informative museum on hand, as well as a boardwalk that stretches for 800 metres. While walking here, you can expect to see everything from tropical birds chirping from overhead to crocodiles poking their heads up from the water.

Glistening Waters, Falmouth

The Glistening Waters in Falmouth are a gorgeous natural sightseeing event only to be seen by night. The Glistening Waters in Falmouth are a gorgeous natural sightseeing event only to be seen by night.

The spot in particular is known as the Luminous Lagoon – it’s a phosphorescent lagoon that glows a brilliant blue when the organisms underwater are disturbed. There are cruises that embark into this eerie lagoon by night so that you can get the best views, plus a nearby restaurant to pick up a bite afterwards.

Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, Montego Bay

Montego Bay‘s Rocklands Bird Sanctuary might not look like much from afar, but it’ll offer an up close and personal look at some of Jamaica’s most beautiful birds.

It began just as a hobby to the woman who previously owned the house, as she found that after a while of living there, the local birds began to follow her home. Nowadays, you can rock up and get cosy with hummingbirds, thrushes, mockingbirds and so much more, many of which will land on you if a treat is involved.

Dunn's River Falls, Ocho Rios

Dunn’s River Falls are among the most popular tourist hotspots in Jamaica, famed for their natural beauty. They’re a collection of waterfalls stacked on top of each other to look like a set of naturally-formed stairs, albeit super slippery ones.

It’s over an hour’s hike to get all the way to the top, but there are little lagoons along the way that you can stop at. If you aren’t a confident trekker, you can hire a personal guide to help you scale the falls safely.

Blue Hole, Ocho Rios

The famed Blue Hole – sometimes referred to as the Irie Hole – in Ocho Rios is another one of those legendary natural sites in Jamaica, loved for its blindingly blue-green hue.

The site is divided into two, consisting of a pool and a waterfall located above. The pool is privy to a swing where you can launch yourself into the cool water, while the waterfall – reached by a path that runs alongside the pool – is about 20 feet high and empties out into a pool of its own.

Mayfield Falls & Mineral Springs, Negril

Surrounded by lush foliage and tucked up into the mountains, the Mayfield Falls, located just a brief drive from Negril, are a gorgeous collection of waterfalls and natural pools that, combined with a nearby petting zoo and restaurants, becomes its own little resort.

If you want to make a whole adventure out of it, there are river tours and white water rafting excursions you can join up here to really get the most of your trip.

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