Rafting in Jamaica is a must do experience for all adventurers to the Caribbean. Gently gliding down the Rio Grande river on a bamboo raft through lush green Jamaican rain-forest, is an activity first introduced by legendary Hollywood star Errol Flynn in the 1940’s.

The bamboo rafts were originally designed to transport bananas down the Rio Grande river. Today they gracefully navigate this beautiful stretch of river located in the east of Jamaica, close to Port Antonio. The 10km journey will take you 3 hours, with a pit-stop at Belinda’s you can sample her world famous fresh Crayfish coconut rundown for lunch!

Bamboo raft navigates the Rio Grande river in Jamaica for the ultimate rafting experience as one of the things to do in montego bay

Jamaica river rafting is one of the top things to do in Ocho Rios. Escape the confines of your hotel resort in Ocho Rios or Montego Bay and experience the true beauty of the island of Jamaica.

Practicalities and Booking River Rafting

The 10km and 3 hour journey begins at Rafter’s Village (Grant’s Level), located just south of the Berridale. Pre-arranged tours will take  you to the start point, but if you’re travelling independently, then drive to Rafter’s Rest at St Margaret’s Bay (see map, below). 

A word of warning; As you drive along the main road, just as you turn in for sign posted Rafter’s Rest, you might be accosted by some boat Captains. Whilst they all appeared to be official guides they wanted us to not go to the official booking office at Rafter’s rest and instead go with them directly to the start point. I don’t have a problem with their tactic, and I chose not to go with them as they wanted me to park my rental car in a not so secure looking field!

Transfer and Driving Journey Times
Ocho Rios to Rio Grande: 2.5 hours
Kingston to Rio Grande: 2.5 hours
Montego Bay to Rio Grande: 4 hours

Rafting in Jamaica: Rio Grande River Map

loading map - please wait...

Start at Rafter\'s Village (Grant\'s Level): 18.143818, -76.477724
Finish at Rafter\'s Rest (St Margaret\'s Bay): 18.200959, -76.508140
Belinda\'s Restaurant: 18.180775, -76.493120

 

At the Rafter’s Rest official booking office you can pay for your boat ticket (US$65 per raft) and park your car. They offer a taxi service to the start point at Rafter’s Village (US$15) which takes about 20 minutes to drive. Once you arrive at the start point you’ll climb onto your bamboo throne and begin the journey down the Rio Grande river.

Rafting the Rio Grande

Rafting on the Rio Grande will be a highlight of your trip to Jamaica so make it one of your things to do in Ocho Rios. Translating from Spanish as “Big River”, Rio Grande is a stunning slice through the Jamaican rain-forest. As your bamboo raft gently meanders along the turquoise green waters the sounds from the forest bring this magical place alive. You may encounter local farmers, who still transport their produce of bananas on these bamboo rafts.

Enough from me now, sit back and enjoy these beautiful views along this rafting in Jamaica adventure, and don’t let your feet get wet as the raft encounters fearless river rapids!

Rafting Rio Grande river in Jamaica. Things to do in Ocho Rios. Jamaica river rafting.

 

Bamboo raft navigates the Rio Grande river in Jamaica for the ultimate rafting experience as one of the things to do in montego bay

 

Rio Grande River Jamaica river rafting bamboo rating. Jamaica travel tips.

 

Rio Grande River Jamaica river rafting bamboo rating. Jamaica travel tips.

 

Bamboo rafting rio grande Jamaica is one of the things to do in montego bay. Jamaica river rafting is a popular activity and one of my jamaica travel tips. Rio Grande River Jamaica.

 

Rio Grande River Jamaica river rafting bamboo rating. Jamaica travel tips.

Belinda’s Jamaican Restaurant for Lunch

Lunch at Belinda's rest stop. She cooks fresh crayfish coconut rundown. River rafting jamaica rio grande

Located roughly half-way (see map) along your Jamaica river rafting trip, Belinda serves the very best of traditional Jamaican cuisine. Working from her meticulously clean kitchen, in the open jungle, Belinda prepares meals  from fresh ingredients. Her stove is powered by the wood she collects on her journey everyday from her home to the restaurant.

Lunch at Belinda's rest stop. She cooks fresh crayfish coconut rundown. River rafting jamaica rio grande

The Crayfish Coconut Rundown (J$1200) has to be her top dish. The fresh crayfish are delivered to Belinda every morning and their size are truly staggering. I’ve certainly never seen a crayfish this big before! Don’t be dismayed by the polystyrene plate or plastic cutlery, in fact this should give you confidence in her top class kitchen hygiene!

The crayfish are simmered in a sauce of coconut juice giving this a mouth watering good taste. All dishes are served with sides of breadfruit, fired plantain, vegetables and rice. If crayfish isn’t for you she also cooks a chicken dish (J$6000). Drinks are served here as well, I recommend the local Red Stripe beer or non-alcoholic refreshingly local Ting grapefruit based soft drink. The opportunity to sample Belinda’s cooking is another reason to do the rafting in Jamaica along the Rio Grande.

Lunch at Belinda's rest stop. She cooks fresh crayfish coconut rundown. River rafting jamaica rio grande
Belinda’s Crayfish Coconut Rundown

Got any travel tips for Jamaica to share? Leave me a comment below!

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  • Great stuff looks like a killer adventure, did you get a surf board into the water? Although the Caribbean island of Jamaica is best known for its calm seas, laid back atmosphere, white sand beaches and all inclusive jamaica resorts, the island of Jamaica is becoming known as one of the premier surfing location in the Caribbean.

    • Hi David, no not been surfing in Jamaica, I didn’t know that it was popular for surfing, thanks for sharing! Which beaches in Jamaica are best for surfing?

  • Such an awesome, tranquil experience. There’s also a private island getaway by the river, with tours to nearby waterfalls & mineral pools + vegan food even carnivores would love. Portland is just so beautiful!

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