Irie Blue Hole
Tucked away in the mountains of Ocho Rios, getting to Blue Hole isn't easy. Undoubtedly one of Jamaica's hidden treasures, Blue Hole isn't completely commercialized - yet, this is what makes it that much more applealing. A few miles up the hills of Ocho Rios are very narrow, windy roads complete with nail bitting shear mountain drops. Roughly about a 15-20 minute drive from the heart of the city, Blue Hole is not to be missed.
Once at the top, shoeless and shirtless tour guides run behind taxis' and tour buses, waiting to grab the next bunch of red-faced, white-nosed tourists. Thankfully, we didn't fall into that category.
Leaving the bus in just our swimsuit, water shoes, and a Go Pro, Cueme and I trekked down narrow steps, up unchartered paths, through lush greenery and exotic flowers, all in search of this natural wonder. While searching, I, one began to think we were lost as it was a much longer walk than I expected and two, bits started falling out as it was a much longer treck than I expected.
Screams of fun, laughs, chatter began to echo off the mountain, the sounds got louder and then there it was, absolutely mesmerizing. The bluest water I have ever seen, this site isn’t just pretty water. There are also small waterfalls, thick vegetation wrapped their vines around the crevices of its rocky perimeter. Large vines hang down into Blue Hole giving it an even more exotic appearance. Do you remember the movie, FernGully: The Last Rainforest from the early 90s? Well, this could be the rainforest.
There is something about this blue hue that makes the water look so inviting, so mythical, so enchanting. To get in, you have a few options. You can jump in from a ledge that is about 6 feet above the water, or for those daredevils, there’s a rope you can grab on to, and swing in like Tarzan. You can also slip into the pools if you don't feel like jumping in, but I recommend jumping in because once your tippy toes feel just how cold the fresh river water really is, the rest of your body will not want to follow. So just jump!
With a few jumps under our belt, our tour guide grabbed us and lead us to the 'Secret Falls'. Along the trail, we visited a crocodile rescue site. Yes, Jamaican Crocodiles. Who knew? There were maybe 5 or 6 very large crocodiles, caged behind a barb wired fence. This is something my 60lb dog could get through, so I didn't think this was such a great idea to cage 6 colossal animals behind such a weak fence. But then again, when in Jamaica, right? After being reassured by the crocodile's owner, who lives in the attached house, we quickly thanked him and mosied on our way.
Along the trail, we saw locals selling coconut water, fresh from the coconut shell, Red Stripe, hand-made crafts and some water shoes. Five bucks later we were sipping on coconut "wata", there’s nothing better than fresh coconut "wata", after that heart clinching hike.
At the top, we waddled through some water, but this time the ice cold water was refreshing. Finally, at the falls, our guide grabbed our Go Pro and jumped into the water head first, from heights I wouldn't even think of! Yikes!
There are a few small holes that take you inside the falls. As I was on my minimoon, and you know, constantly sipping on Blackwell Rum cocktails, Jamaican patties, ackee and salt fish for breakast, jerk chicken for lunch, you can imagine I wasn't too excited about squeezing into a small hole, as I was already squeezing out of this tiny weeny bathing suit I had on. The hole, thankfully, is about 2 feet wide and is covered by a stream of steady flowing water coming down the falls. Our guide went in first, completely vanishing, he whistled indicating it was safe to climb in, feet first, of course. Once we touched solid ground and wiggled the rest of our body's in, it wasn't too bad. There was even a small mud bath inside one of the holes. Mudded up and jumped into the blue pool to complete the treatment.
We jumped off of ledges, a few times, well Cueme did I just cheered him on. That still counts right? At the end of the tour, our tour guide, whose name I can't remember for the life of me, went in search for long long strands of grass, quickly made a crown and braided my hair, then handed me a Red Stripe. It couldn't get any better that this.
We climbed, jumped, swang, laughed, cried and panicked all in the same day, and it was worth it. As we make our way back to the first of the many blue holes, our tour guided showed us the countless photos and videos he had taken. At the end of the tour, we walked back refreshed, alive, and with two grass crowns. We thanked our tour guide graciously, headed to our taxi when we were greeted by a roadside vendor in a purple "pimp" suit selling weed brownies.
Blue Hole really is a breath of fresh air.