About Ocho Rios
Jamaica’s Ocho Rios is known as the ‘garden parish’ thanks to its lush tropical flora and exotic fauna, magnificent waterfalls and winding rivers. The coastal island town also boasts one of Jamaica’s most popular attractions, Dunn’s River Falls.
Like all Jamaican towns, Ocho Rios is alive with reggae music and tourists who meander along the beaches and through the open-air restaurants and markets. Movie buffs know that ‘Goldeneye‘, the luxurious former estate of James Bond author Ian Fleming, is just a few miles east of town. It’s been converted into a high-end resort.
Cruise ships dock in downtown Ocho Rios and you can easily walk straight into the town’s craft markets, restaurants and bars.
The rivers and waterfalls in and around Ocho Rios make for top kayaking, hiking and exploring. Dunn’s River Falls’ 183m (600ft) waterfall is a must-see. You can swim near the pounding falls and, if you dare, hike up the slippery rocks. A quieter alternative is the nearby YS Falls. Horseback rides are offered along the beach or through the historic, 600-acre Annandale Plantation. Golfers can tee off 213m (700ft) above sea level at Sandals Golf & Country Club. A drive through Fern Gully (on Route A3), a natural canopy of vegetation, lets you glimpse hundreds of different fern species.
Kids can tube, bungee jump or bounce on a water trampoline at the small beach near Island Village market. The most memorable and educational experience might be the Jamaica Tourist Board’s ‘Meet the People’ programme, which lets you visit a local school or spend a day with Jamaican families. Arrangements must be made in advance.
• Dunn’s River Falls
• River rafting on White River or Black River
• Swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Cove
• Bike riding through the Blue Mountains
• Turtle Beach
• Reggae Vibes Beach
• James Bond Beach
Jamaica Tourist Board
64 Knutsford Boulevard Kingston, Jamaica
Tel: +876 993 3051.
Cruise passengers disembark directly into Ocho Rios’s craft markets and duty-free shopping areas. There are several malls to choose from, but Island Village, an open-air market, sells Jamaican handicrafts and duty-free items. Unique terracotta items are sold at Wassi Art Pottery Works and people drive a few minutes outside of town to purchase hand-carved wooden boxes made by Annabella Proudlock. The locally made Blue Mountain coffee is a popular souvenir. Other souvenirs include Jamaican rum, like the sweet rumona liqueur (the world’s only rum-based liqueur, hard to find outside the island) or Tia Maria Blue Mountain coffee.
Jerk flavouring – Scotch bonnet peppers plus other herbs and spices – was created in Jamaica and is a must-try with meat or fish. Another culinary option is i-tal (Rastafarian vegetarian dishes).
When to go:
Consistently warm weather makes Jamaica a year-round destination. The temperatures in the mountains tends to be a little cooler but also more humid. Between late May and November, Jamaica is prone to hurricanes. It also lies within the earthquake zone.