Quick Guide to Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica lies on the island’s north coast. It is one of the country’s most visited tourist sites on account of the deep water harbour that attracts cruise ships. On cruise ship days, throngs of tourists spend a few hours in ‘Ochi’ (as it’s popularly called by the locals) where they snap up souvenirs and visit the popular Dunn’s River Falls.

The biggest attraction of Ocho Rios, Jamaica is the cascading Dunn’s River Falls, which can get crowded on cruise ship days with scores of excited American tourists trying to climb the terraces. Laughing Waters, further west offers a smaller and quieter but similar experience. Alternatively you can opt for a 45 minute lazy meander up the lush White River on bamboo skiffs.

But there is much more to the area, including some lovely little beaches, several botanical gardens and a couple of historic sites. As with many sites in Jamaica it was pirates that first saw the value of this beautiful site. Today, Ocho Rios, Jamaica is a growing Jamaican town with numerous resorts and villas that caters for visitors on a tight budget as well as the high-end visitors.

If you’re into flora you will be impressed by the sheer tropical variety on display in several botanical gardens in the vicinity. These include the Coyaba River Garden with its Arawak culture museum; the superbly maintained Eco-Tours The Enchanted Gardens (formerly Carinosa Gardens) that boasts an extensive orchid collection; and the Shaw Park Botanical Gardens which have the advantage of excellent elevated views over the coast.

Fern Gulley is a good excuse to rent scooters or a car and head inland as the road meanders up through lush hills, laden with ferns. There are several historic sites also worth visiting. Ocho Rios Fort is a modest affair dating from the 17th century (restored in the 1970s) west of the town. Eastwards you can visit Harmony Hall, a century old building that is now a centre for promoting local arts. To get a sense of life as a sugar baron during the island’s colonial era, visit the working farm at Prospect Plantation.

Activities in Ochi include scuba diving, parasailing, big game fishing, horseback riding and golf. In addition, you could simply relax on the beach at places like Turtle Beach, Mallards Beach, or Grande Beach. These are just some of the things to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica.

There is a small air strip nearby for connecting flights from Montego Bay or Kingston. Also, public passenger buses from these two major centres arrive regularly and though the journey might be a bit arduous, the scenery will impress.

If you ever get the chance to visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica, please take it. This destination has much to offer and it is not difficult to understand why scores of visitors make Ochi their destination of choice year after year.

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