Dunns River Falls
Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica’s national treasures. Globally, it is as well known as reggae and equally stimulating. There are few places where the Arawak name “Xayamaca” – land of rivers and
springs – is more apt. The Spaniards called the area “Las Chorreras”, the waterfalls or springs and it is truly one of the most beautiful spots on the island.
A stone’s throw from Ocho Rios, one of Jamaica’s fastest growing resort centres, Dunn’s River Falls is unique. Described as a living and growing phenomenon, it continuously regenerates itself from deposits of travertine rock, the result of precipitation of calcium carbonate from the river, as it flows over the falls. The small dome-shaped cataracts are usually associated with thermal spring activity found in limestone caves. This, combined with its location near to the sea, gives Dunn’s River the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the Caribbean, if not the world.
The name “Las Chorreras” has degenerated over the years to “Ocho Rios” (meaning eight rivers), although there are actually only four rivers in the area – Cave River, Roaring River, Turtle River and Dunns River. These “Chorreras” are characterized by clarity, unending flow and swift descent, punctuated by rapid cascades and waterfalls which pour directly into the Caribbean Sea. Dunn’s River Falls has an interesting history. It is believed to be the site of the famous battle of “Las Chorreras”, fought in 1657 between the Spanish and the English for possession of the island. The English won, and under British rule “Las Chorreras” was first owned by Charles Pryce. It later became part of the 276 acre Belmont property, which was acquired by Government in 1972, to provide for future development of recreational and park facilities.