Weekend Escape: Chillin’ in the relaxing Nature Blue Hole
The Nature Blue Hole in Exchange, St Ann, has become one of Jamaica’s favourite chill spots.
The area, just minutes outside of Ocho Rios, with the stream bordering St Ann and St Mary, is an ideal place for fun and relaxation.
At the entrance, you’re greeted with the rules, among them “no sexual harassment by staff” and “no arguing or fighting on tour”.
Devon Vassell, one of several tour guides on duty, pointed out all the amenities.
He started by showing THE WEEKEND STAR all the areas for relaxation, which take visitors back to ‘real Jamaican life’ of sitting on wooden benches and big stones under trees.
There are gazebos of various sizes, a colourful wooden kitchen, a bar, and a rest area. The kitchen space is available for rent for $10,000 per day.
It was on to the water, and, as the name suggests, it’s blue and pleasing to the eyes.
One section, closest to the entrance, is 13 feet deep. It has a rope from which visitors can swing and then take a plunge into the cool waters below.
“No one has to worry when they come here because the tour guides will take care of you,” said Vassell. “You can take your food, liquor, or just about anything to play with, but no weapons allowed.”
He noted that Nature Blue Hole also provides items such as tyre tubes and life jackets for a minimal rental fee.
Patrons can also rent lockers for between $200 and $500, or US$5 for tourists.
Nataliya, who, along with her friends, was visiting from Germany, said that the attraction “is a nice place to hang out and to chill”.
“It’s beautiful because the water is blue, and it’s adventurous because you can climb anywhere,” she added.
A few animals such as cats, dogs, and birds were also visible, and Winett, also visiting from Germany, found love with the cats, one of which she cuddled as she spoke to WEEKEND ESCAPE.
“I like the cats, and the place is peaceful,” she said
Miss Cherry, who sells items such as water shoes and towels on location, said that business is better in the summer. She rents the shoes for US$6 and US$12 (new) and sells a pair for US$10.
The journey from the entrance to the falls, which takes you through rocky hills and across the stream about six times, is about 12 to 15 minutes’ walk.
Denae Saddler praised her tour guide for a great experience.
“He brought us to the top of the falls, where we jumped off into that 40-foot water. The climb was kinda hard but fun,” she said.
Breanna Bisasor, who was also with the group, said, “This (Blue Hole) is staying true to Jamaican roots – cooking on a wood fire and everything. It’s very natural.”
Founder Fredrick Henry said that visitors come from all over the world.
“We do like ecotourism, so you (tourist) even get to meet the locals, so we are like family,” he said.
The entry fee is US$15 for tourists and $500 for locals, while children under 13 enter free.