Since the re-opening of this historic cruise port in 2011, Falmouth Jamaica has become a popular, year-round destination and port of call for many large cruise vessels. Royal Caribbean International funded the pier construction for the Falmouth cruise port but the port is also used by other cruise lines including Holland America, Disney, Princess, Norwegian, and MSC.
Conveniently located near both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, the town of Falmouth offers many beaches and attractions for cruise visitors to enjoy. The local people welcome tourists with open arms, ensuring that everyone has a wonderful time and leaves satisfied and refreshed.
Don’t worry about exchanging currencies while in Jamaica, as the American dollar is accepted in all shops and restaurants.
We have compiled for you 24 things to do in and around Falmouth during your visit to Falmouth, including excursions, restaurants, and tours. We are certain that you will find something on this list to make your visit as memorable as possible.
The Falmouth Cruise Port
Many visitors won’t have to look much further for something to do than the port itself. Part of the ports redevelopment was to include themed retail shopping, restaurants, recreation, and more, all within the Historic Falmouth Cruise Port.
Enjoy shopping along 120,000 square feet of retail space full of shops, restaurants, and more, all ready to serve you. Before you go, download this map of the Port of Falmouth. It shows you where the shops are, and where to find other things like the ship terminal, trolley station, taxi shelter, and more.
Must-Try Local Restaurants
Visiting Jamaica isn’t complete if you don’t take the opportunity to sample some of the local fare. Here are some must-try restaurants in Falmouth that we highly recommend.
1. Donna’s Caribbean Restaurant
Originally the home of Club Nazz, this restaurant has been taken over with new management by the restaurant chain most popular for their Jamaican food in Southern Florida, Donna’s Caribbean Restaurant. Falmouth is currently the only Jamaican location for this restaurant. The food and service here is delicious. You’ll find plenty of favorite Jamaican dishes served here, and they even have free Wi-Fi.
2. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
Visit a little paradise created just for cruise passengers to enjoy in Falmouth: Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
Channel your inner pirate in Margaritaville as you visit the Pirate Bar, eat some deliciously spicy Jamaican food that is out of this world, lounge in the margarita-shaped pool or get a drink at the swim-up bar. You can also get your own custom souvenirs and shop at the retail store for more.
The possibilities are endless here in Margaritaville. Warning, though: you may not want to ever leave.
3. Pepper’s Jerk Center
For some of the best authentic Jamaican food located within walking distance of the Port of Falmouth, be sure to visit Pepper’s Jerk Center.
Located inside what used to be slave quarters, the owner, Clint ‘Top Man’ Rennie has made this restaurant the top place to go to in Falmouth for jerk chicken and pork. Locals and visitors alike swarm to this restaurant every day to enjoy the best Jamaican food and atmosphere around.
4. Leon’s Lobster Hut
Leon’s Lobster Hut offers the best and freshest lobster, caught locally off the Jamaican coast. The restaurant is just steps away from the white sands of Royalton Beach, offering wonderful panoramic views of the ocean in all it’s beauty.
5. Glistening Waters Restaurant
The Glistening Waters Resort and Restaurant, named so for the Luminous Lagoon that surrounds them both, provides both a wonderful place to stay in Jamaica, and a great place to eat. If, by chance, your stay in Falmouth is overnight, book your overnight stay at Glistening Waters for a once in a lifetime experience.
Be sure to come to the restaurant for a delicious Jamaican dinner, followed by an evening tour of the luminous lagoon, which is beautifully lit by the bio-luminescent micro-organisms found in the water. It is a sight to behold, and can only be truly appreciated in person.
When you begin to crave something sweet, head on over to Tortuga, the best dessert and sweet spot in all of Falmouth. Well known for their rum cakes, they serve about a dozen different kinds, along with various coffees, chocolates, and more.
Be sure to buy extras to take with you, or go online and order some to be shipped to your home. That way, once your cruise is over, you’ll have some tasty cakes and sweets waiting for you at home!
Great Houses and Estates
7. Rose Hall Plantation
The gorgeous Rose Hall Plantation is among one of the best things to do when you come into the Falmouth cruise port. It’s located in Montego Bay about a 30 minute drive west of the port and sits on a 6,600 acre plantation.
This estate was once home to Annie Palmer, who the Jamaicans nicknamed “The White Witch of Rose Hall”. Rumored to have been steeped in black magic and witchcraft, and used such to kill dozens of lovers, it is believed that she still haunts the estate to this day.
You can visit just for the tours, golfing, shopping, and restaurant, or book an overnight stay (if you are able) at the all-inclusive resort. Will you see the White Witch? Who knows?
8. Good Hope Estate
Not to be outdone by the wonders of the Rose Hill Plantation, Good Hope Estate should also be at the top of anyone’s list while in Falmouth, especially adventure seekers.
Good Hope Estate was once owned by sugarcane farmer and slave trader, John Tharp. Today, it is a thriving citrus farm and park for anyone to visit and enjoy. Visitors can enjoy a historical tour of the estate, go zip lining through the trees, or drive ATVs all over the property.
Photography enthusiasts will love the panoramic views that the estate offers of Queen of Spain Valley, the Cockpit Mountains, and more.
Various Falmouth Excursions and Attractions
9. Mystic Mountain
Mystic Mountain is one of the most cruise friendly places to visit during your port of call visit to Falmouth Jamaica. They will help you have the most fun ever and still get you back to your boat on time.
Go bobsledding, ziplining, hiking, or take a tour of the Dunn’s River Falls. You can also visit the Lookout Tower, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, nature trails, and more. You can even book combo tours that take you to various places at once, and will still allow you to get back to your cruise before it ships off again.
10. Dunn’s River Falls
Speaking of Dunn’s River Falls, this is one of the most popular shore excursions when visiting Falmouth. The waterfalls are about 180ft high and 600ft long, and if you take a tour of the falls, you will ascend the falls, made up of natural stone steps, as a group. It’s recommended that you wear water shoes or water sneakers for this excursion, as the falls can be rather slippery.
If climbing the falls isn’t for you, enjoy a relaxing swim in the natural pools at the base of the falls, and just have some fun.
11. Rio Bueno River
Take a short trip to the Rio Bueno River, right between Trelawney and Montego Bay. You can book either a rafting or tubing excursion, which is where the adventure begins.
There will be many photographic opportunities as you make your way down the river, so make sure to have your (hopefully waterproof) camera at the ready. You’ll pass under the Old Colonial Bridge, the Bengal Beach, and various other sights. When the tour is over, you’ll be dropped off at Bengal Beach where you can hang out, go for a swim, or get something to eat.
12. Martha Brae
For another amazing rafting adventure, you can go to Martha Brae for an hour long rafting experience with the entire family. This one is located a little closer to the cruise port, so if your visit to Falmouth is short, this would be a great way to experience Jamaica, maybe stop somewhere to eat afterwards, then get back to your ship on time.
This rafting tour is a little more laid back than others, and the rafts are stable enough for those who can’t swim to enjoy. You’ll also be able to visit Miss Martha’s Herb Garden during your trip and receive a handcrafted souvenir from the Rafter’s Village before you have to go back to your ship.
13. Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto Caves once served as a hideout for slaves, as well as a place to store barrels of rum during World War II. Now, the underground waters and tunnels, filled with miles of limestone formations, stalagmites, and stalactites is one of the most popular attractions in Ochos Rios.
The tour only takes an hour, leaving you with plenty of time to do something else before your ship leaves.
14. Swamp Safari
Swamp Safari is a must-visit for any animal lovers, or fans of the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die”.
Just a short walk from the cruise pier is the Charles Swaby’s Swamp Safari and Crocodile Farm. Over 80 crocodiles live there, bred and raised by Charles Swaby. When you visit, you can take a tour of the farm, watch feedings, hold a baby crocodile, and even become friends with a boa constrictor.
For those Bond movie lovers, at the end of the tour you’ll be able to watch a reenactment of a scene from the movie, a scene which was originally shot there.
15. Windsor Caves & Research Center
The same man who owned the sugar fields of Good Hope Estate also owned the Windsor Estate, which was a cattle farm back in the 1700s.
The Windsor Caves, though beautiful to behold, are currently inaccessible to visitors due to the large amount of bat guano that collects on the cave floor. The cave also has the protentional to transmit potentially fatal disease to visitors called histoplasmosis, so entrance is reserved for researchers and licensed spelunkers.
You can, however, visit the research center, and even dine with the biologists who study there during a “Meet the Biologists” dinner they have at Windsor. This would be a great experience for aspiring scientists to enjoy and learn from. Learn about what research is currently being done and what they are doing to help conserve the nature around them.
16. Paintball Jamaica
For families who love a little bit of adventure and competition, you must book a visit to Paintball Jamaica, the best and only paintball experience you’ll find in Jamaica.
They offer a variety of experience packages for kids, families, and for large groups. Splatmaster is a low-impact paintball game for kids ages 8-13, or you can play as a family on one of the adult fields. This is a great team-building exercise, which is why it’s great for families to participate.
If you only have a few hours to explore and visit when arriving in Falmouth, your best option is to go on a tour around the town or at one of the many attractions.
We’ve already mentioned a few tours you can take, but those are not the only options. There’s history tours, culinary tours, trolley tours, and so much more.
Here’s a list of tours that you should check into and participate in. Many range from an hour to about three hours, so decide which would best fit your time frame so you don’t miss your ship leaving.
17. Heritage (or Historic) Tours
For those lovers of history, if you have a short time to spare, going on a historic or heritage tour around Falmouth is probably the best way to get to know the area and maybe even do a little shopping.
You can book a guided walking tour, or get a map and take a self-tour around Falmouth. There is so much history and architecture to view and enjoy. You’ll want to have your camera with you (as well as some good walking shoes) so you don’t forget anything you’ve seen and experienced.
If you’d rather not walk, there’s a heritage tour you can book directly from the port and will take you around historic Falmouth by trolley. This 60-minute tour picks you up at the port. During the tour you will see the Phoenix Foundry, William Knibb Baptist Church, an old Jewish Cemetery, famous residences once owned by well known citizens of Falmouth, and much more.
18. Jamaica Culinary Tours
These food tours are a collaboration with the historic walking tours you can take around town. Jamaica Culinary Tours last about two and a half hours, along which you’ll be able to sample all kinds of local cuisine, learn about plantation life, discover the various cooking methods that Jamaicans use, and more. All while learning about the history behind Falmouth and it’s cuisine.
They are able to make accommodations for any vegetarians in your group, but unfortunately there are no substitutions for vegans, or those with restrictive food allergies like gluten or dairy-free.
These food tours run every week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. If you’re ship comes in on a day they don’t normally operate don’t worry, because they do offer tours on cruise days. Price is $55 per person, $35 for kids 12 and under.
19. Bob Marley Tour
Bob Marley fans will want to take the opportunity to learn about your favorite reggae musician while in Falmouth. First, you can go on a one and a half hour drive to the mountain village Nine Miles, where bob Marley was born and raised. See where he lived and died, and hear all kinds of stories about his life and music.
After the tour, drive over to the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, where you can take yet another tour (75 minutes for this one). Here there are exhibitions, a theater, a gift shop, and a café where you can stop to eat before heading back to the ship.
20. Hampden Estate Rum Tour
The Hampden Estate is another large estate in the Falmouth region that holds a lot of history for the area. Originally founded in 1753 it is one of the oldest rum manufacturing estates in town.
The estate offers a two hour tour, including lunch, where you can learn about the history of rum, the history of the estate, and how rum is made. You will be able to sample the rum made there at the end of the tour. As such, only those 18 years or older will be able to participate
21. Rois Lagoon Kayak Tour
Nature and water lovers will enjoy taking a tour around Rois Lagoon in Falmouth by kayak. After a brief safety orientation on how to use the kayak, you’ll go on a journey like none other through the wetlands of Falmouth and learn some of nature’s secrets.
Visit the Pirates Cover, have some delicious jerk chicken, see some amazing art at the art gallery and gift shop. Learn about mangroves, raid the pirate’s treasure in the cove, and be entertained by the flying fish.
There is so much more you’ll get to see and do on this kayak tour, so you certainly don’t want to miss out.
22. Burwood Beach
Burwood Beach is probably the only public beach available right now in Falmouth. It’s about ten minutes from the port close to the Blue Waters Beach Club.
Access to the beach is only $5 per person, and they have bathrooms, showers, and a place to change clothes available. Just take a few hours to relax on the beautiful white beach sands while you listen to the waves. Don’t forget to bring your sunblock and an umbrella, as it can get very hot there.
23. Doctor’s Cave
If you don’t mind spending a little extra money and going out a bit further, book an excursion out to Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay. General admission is $6 per person, $3 for children under 12 years old.
At Doctor’s Cave you’ll find a restaurant and bar, bathrooms and showers, umbrellas you can rent, and even a Starbucks coffee shop.
If you wish to use the clubhouse on the beach, they charge $150 a year for an individual membership, and $250 a year for a family membership. Memberships also include use of the indoor gym. These would be great if you make frequent trips to Falmouth and Jamaica throughout the year.
24. Jacob Taylor Beach
For a truly Jamaican beach experience, be sure to visit the Jacob Taylor Beach, just before the Silver Sands Community. There is also a fisherman village nearby, so while you’re there, you can watch the fisherman as they head out on their boats to catch fish for the day.
You can take your time here and relax as you watch the fishermen. Get a snack, get something to drink, and maybe even have the wood carver make something for you. There’s plenty to see and do at the Jacob Taylor Beach that will be truly unforgettable.
Whether you’ll only be in port for a few hours, or you get to stay overnight, there are plenty of things for you to see and do while in Falmouth. You can hang out right at the port and not go anywhere else, if your wish. Or you can venture out and take a tour of Falmouth, visit one of the great estates, go fishing, kayaking, tubing, or just chill at the beach.
Thrill seekers can go on ATV rides, zip lining, or bobsledding through the rain forests of Falmouth. Witness a haunting at Rose Hill, or visit the birthplace of the King of Reggae.
Don’t forget to get something to eat and taste some really amazing authentic Jamaican food. Go shopping for souvenirs to bring back home for yourself and your loved ones. Some of the tours in Falmouth even offer customized souvenirs.
You don’t want to miss out on what the most popular port city in all of Jamaica has to offer, so take the chance to explore it while you can.
This guest post was written by Justin Stewart.