During its 18th-century heyday, Falmouth was one of Jamaica’s busiest ports for ships transporting sugar, molasses, rum, and coffee. As those industries slowed, so did the port, located on the north side of the island between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. That changed in 2010, when Royal Caribbean spent more than $150 million to create docks large enough to accommodate megaships plus a terminal and beach for cruisers. The location makes it a convenient place to launch shore excursions to the island's nearby waterfalls, caves, and beaches, and most cruisers head right out of town.
What We Love
Walkability: Feel like exploring on your own? The dock is just a short walk from the city's historic Georgian sights.
Authentic Jamaican Atmosphere: Less a tourist mecca than other Jamaican ports, Falmouth has a tangible history and real community feel. You’ll see kids, families, and other locals going about their day-to-day lives.
Plenty of Excursion Options: From ATV tours and bamboo raft rides to catamaran cruises and beach outings, there’s a wide array of shore excursions to choose from on a Falmouth stopover. Don’t miss a visit to nearby Dunn’s River Falls — terraced limestone stairs that measure up to 180 feet tall and 600 feet long and cascade into the sea.
Best Known For
Georgian Architecture: Falmouth is known for having one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved collections of Georgian buildings. The entire historic district was declared a national monument by the Jamaican government in 1996.
Slave History: Once a central hub of the slave trade, Falmouth Harbor would have seen as many as 30 tall ships on any given day, many of them carrying slaves from Africa. Several local walking tours, including Falmouth Heritage Walks, give insight into this darker side of the island’s past.
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Who It's Best For
Foodies: Don’t leave Jamaica without sampling traditional jerk-seasoned cuisine, a bottle of Red Stripe beer, and a local fruit, such as ackee, mango, or guava. These inexpensive treats are readily available at pretty much any Falmouth café.
History Hounds. Accessible, walkable Falmouth is a boon for anyone who'd like to learn about the city’s rich and fascinating backstory, be it with a good guide, a guidebook, or an app.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
You Can’t Escape the Souvenir Peddlers: The port area is a gathering place for vendors selling inexpensive Jamaican wares: wood carvings, beaded jewelry, baskets, reggae CDs, and so on. Don’t be shy about haggling.
Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Boston Globe.