Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Falmouth Jamaica Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions, Weather

Falmouth cruise terminal. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Falmouth cruise terminal. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Historic Falmouth Cruise Port on the northern coast of Jamaica is a 32-acre cruise terminal and park developed by the Jamaica Port Authority and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

The development includes a craft market, duty-free and boutique shops, restaurants, offices and historic homes within walking distance. It is mostly a port of call on western Caribbean cruises.

Falmouth, nestled between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios on the northern coast of Jamaica, was founded in 1769. It is known as one of the Western Hemisphere’s best-preserved towns from the Georgian era.

The Falmouth cruise terminal is a triangular, open-air shopping mall with a welcome building, trolley station, taxi stand, bus stand, restaurants and retail shops. Anyone who is taking a Caribbean cruise for the first time will find that terminals like the one in Falmouth are worth a visit either at the beginning or end of the day, before or after excursions elsewhere.

Quick Travel Tips

  • Montego Bay and Dunn’s River Falls are popular cruise excursions.
  • Beaches usually require a taxi, rental car or excursion bus to reach them.
  • The best time to visit is March or especially April.

Where is Falmouth Jamaica?

The western Caribbean port of Falmouth sits right between the two most popular cruise and resort cities in Jamaica. It is 26 miles east of Montego Bay and 31 miles west of Ocho Rios on the northern coast of Jamaica.

Cruise visitors will have quick access to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios for a wide variety of excursions and major attractions that they might not find at Falmouth. Montego Bay is known for beaches while Ocho Rios has Dunn’s River Falls and other major attractions.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Walking Around Attractions

Falmouth is a small town and fairly easy to tour on foot. A guided trolley tour is a better way to explore it, especially for people who don’t want to walk much.

Historical points of interest include the former residence of slave owner John Tharp; the Albert George Shopping and Historical Centre; the town house of plantation owner Edward Barrett; and the St Peter’s Anglican Church, built in 1795.

Another significant historical building is the William Knibb Memorial Baptist Church on King Street. It was built by a missionary and leader in the movement to abolish slavery in Jamaica. It is less than a mile from the cruise pier.

Shore Excursions

The Falmouth cruise port emphasizes local history and culture. Beyond the port, many of the major attractions lie to the east near Ocho Rios or to the west at Montego Bay. Ocho Rios is about an hour away by car or tour bus, while Montego Bay is about 45 minutes away.

Dunn's River Falls
Dunn’s River Falls. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

The famous Dunn’s River Falls, one of the best natural attractions in the Caribbean, is an hour away near Ocho Rios.

The cascading waterfalls allow visitors to climb up them in a daisy chain. We climbed the falls with our three children and found that it was a fun and memorable family experience. (But it is not advisable for very small children.) The falls are a popular shore excursion from the Falmouth cruise port. A Dunn’s River Falls tour costs about $50 to $100 per person depending on the time of year and the departure point. Some tours cost more with extra amenities such as food and beverages.

The Rainforest Adventures Park at Mystic Mountain near Dunn’s River Falls also is about a one-hour drive from Falmouth. It offers bobsledding, ziplines and “tranopy” tours, which offer a combination of ziplines and tram rides. Prices vary according to the program, but they usually start at more than $100 per person.

Dolphin lovers can go to Dolphin Cove near Montego Bay to swim with them. But it is an hour and 20 minutes by car or bus to the east of Falmouth because it is on the far side of Montego Bay. Dunn’s River Falls is a quicker drive. Prices depend on the program, but they usually start at more than $100 per person.

Luminous Lagoon is a marshland between Falmouth and the town of Rock. It is home to millions of dinoflagellates, microscopic organisms that produce an eerie glow at night. They reveal outlines of fish and other objects in the water. Prices start at more than $40 per person.

Rafting, kayaking and water tubing on Rio Bueno and Martha Brae rivers are common excursions for recreational cruise visitors. Prices vary depending on the length and activity, but they usually range between $70 and $100 per person.

Rose Hall Great House near Montego Bay is a chance to visit the home of the “white witch of Rose House”. Visitors can hear a few horror stories to chill the bones under a hot Jamaican sun. The house is about 20 minutes from the Falmouth cruise docks. Most prices start at more than $70 per person and usually include other destinations such as Doctor’s Cave Beach. A visit to just Rose Hall may cost as little as $25 per person.

Beaches Near the Cruise Port

Falmouth cruise terminal
The Falmouth cruise terminal is a 32-acre park developed by the Jamaica Port Authority and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Credit: Depositphotos

Many shore excursions are available at the Falmouth cruise port, but surprisingly few include a beach visit.

Burwood Beach is a public beach about four miles east of the cruise port. Visitors will need a taxi to get there.

Some cruise excursions offer visits to Doctor’s Cave Beach, which is near Montego Bay about 40 minutes from the Falmouth docks.

Shopping / Restaurants

The Port of Falmouth has a variety of retail and duty free shops, restaurants and excursion operators in 120,000 square feet of retail space.

Shops sell the usual range of products in developed Caribbean tourism districts including duty-free jewelry, clothing, electronics, perfume, arts, crafts and souvenirs.

Restaurants at the port facility include Margaritaville, Starbucks, DQ, Quiznos, Nathan’s Famous, Auntie Anne’s and Patty Port.

Getting Around / Transportation

Cruise visitors can walk right off their ship and into the city, so there is no need to take a taxi or bus to get there.

Rental cars are available at the port, but visitors should rent them with caution. Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road. Any visitor from a country like the United States where people drive on the right side will have an extra challenge dealing with driving on the left side of busy Jamaican roads.

Otherwise, the biggest and best attractions other than a tour of this historic port city mostly exist in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. So cruise visitors are most likely to take a tour bus to get anywhere if they aren’t walking around the Falmouth cruise port.

Weather / Best Times to Go

Falmouth has some of the lowest risk of rain among all of the cruise ports in the Caribbean.

Like most Caribbean destinations, it has a dry season from January through April when the average rainfall is two to three inches a month, according to the Meteorological Service of Jamaica. These months are the best times to go.

That total increases to four inches from May through August and then climbs to five inches in September and six inches in October. Average monthly rainfall declines again to four inches in November and December.

Temperatures hover in a narrow range throughout most of the year. The average daytime temperatures range from the low 80s Fahrenheit in the winter to the high 80s in the summer.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
June 05, 2024

Falmouth Cruise Port Guide

Falmouth cruise terminal
Historic Falmouth Cruise Port is a 32-acre terminal and historical park on Jamaica's northern coast.

Montego Bay Cruise Port Guide

Montego Bay
Montego Bay, Jamaica, is a western Caribbean cruise port and the tourism capital of Jamaica.

Ocho Rios Cruise Port Guide

Ocho Rios harbor
Ocho Rios cruise port visitors will find one of the best destinations for things to do in Jamaica.

4 Best Jamaican Beaches for Cruise and Resort Visitors

Best and Worst Times to Visit Jamaica

12 Best Jamaica Tourist Attractions

Jamaica Travel Tips: Hotels, Attractions, Weather

Jamaica Monthly Weather Averages: Rain, Temperatures