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Ocho Rios
Things to do, Attractions, Restaurants, Tours, Galleries, Spas, Parks and Golf Courses - Visitors Guide

UPDATED: Fall 2011 - Print a copy of this page and take with you to Jamaica.

Thank you for visiting our site on Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Below is a brief history of Ocho Rios followed by a description of trips, shopping, restaurants and night life. Once you have finished reading, be sure to visit our main page for: other towns of Jamaica, pictures of Jamaica, facts about Jamaica and other Jamaican links.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica has a number of unique attractions to enjoy. Dhana Car Rental and Tours, Ltd. can help you experience these sites by renting a car. Click to reserve online now or call toll free for more information call 1-866-276-1884 in North America or (876) 953-9555 in Jamaica. We offer rates as low as US$175 per week, plus taxes and insurance. Click here to find out why Dhana's rates are so low.

The Parish of St. Ann on the north coast is known as the "garden parish" because of its great beauty with lush, vibrantly hued foliage. Its parish capital is the market town of St. Ann's Bay. However the vacation development of this delightful parish has centred on the seaside town of Ocho Rios.

The name Ocho Rios, literally translated from the Spanish, means "Eight Rivers" but it could be a corruption of Las Chorreras, the waterfalls, because waterfalls are perhaps the most striking feature of the area.

In fact, Ocho Rios owes much of its fame to Dunn's River Falls, a much-photographed and much-climbed attraction. It is a joy to be in or swim underneath the refreshingly cool water of the falls, and great fun to make the climb to the top.

Another very beautiful attraction is Eden Falls at The Ruins restaurant and the picturesque white-sand beaches that ribbon water's edge along the town.

Ocho Rios is also famous for Fern Gully, a rocky gorge of tremendous depth which zigzags for about four miles from the Ocho Rios coast up to the central mountain area of the island. Although it has become rather commercialized in recent years by souvenir vendors, it is still well worth a visit to see the profusion of tropical ferns (over 500 species) and the kind of foliage only to be found in a tropical rain forest. In the deepest parts of the gorge, only faint dapples of sunshine penetrate through the thick foliage and the temperature is about ten degrees cooler.

In the last 20 years, Ocho Rios has developed from a small fishing village to a thriving tourist destination. New beach land, hundreds of acres, was dredged to the south and hotels, apartment blocks, shopping centres and a marina were added to the already well-established old hotels like Jamaica Inn and Shaw Park.

A deep water pier with berthing space for three cruise ships at a time has attracted this segment of the tourist industry and it is a rare day when the streets of Ocho Rios do not throng with cruise ship visitors.

Villas and Inns
Moon San Villa is a four bedroom, four-bath villa with two dining rooms, two decks, living room/TV, small library and cable TV in every room. All four bedrooms are decorated in Caribbean style and colours. The villa is one hundred feet from the ocean and seven miles from Port Antonio, and has two decks overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Approximately three hundred feet from Moon San is the entrance to the world famous Blue Lagoon. The Lagoon is a blend of spring and salt water both cold and warm, which makes swimming a whole new experience. To reserve the Moon San Villa online, click here now

Tower Cloisters, an intimate apartment complex located just outside Ocho Rios, is ideal for couples and families looking for a relaxing holiday with choice of restaurant or self catering facility. Call 876-975-4763/4.

Things to do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica has a number of unique attractions to enjoy. Dhana Car Rental and Tours, Ltd. can help you experience these sites by renting a car. Click to reserve online now or call toll free for more information call 1-866-276-1884 in North America or (876) 953-9555 in Jamaica. We offer rates as low as US$175 per week, plus taxes and insurance. Click here to find out why Dhana's rates are so low.

Shopping in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

There are several shopping plazas to cater to visitors, offering everything from Jamaican handicrafts and souvenirs to duty-free bargains from the in-bond stores. Included is Island Village which is located on the beach, stays true to its tropical location vibrant gardens, picturesque boardwalk, water features for a relaxed shopping experience. Find Reggae XPlosion, duty free shops an ice cream parlour, Margaritaville and much more on-site. The Taj Mahal is nearby with additional shopping and dining options.
The Crafts Market is situated in the downtown area.

Art Galleries in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Wassi Art Pottery Factory Tour
Famous island-wide for its unique, colourful Caribbean pottery, tastefully hand-made, the wide variety of one-of-a-kind designs will amaze you. Visitors are welcome to tour the studio and watch a lump of Castleton Clay transformed into a work of art. The showroom is open from Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm. They will ship worldwide by Fedex and package especially for air line carry-on. 876-974-5044.

Harmony Hall
This beautifully restored mid-19th century building, once a Methodist manse, now features a fine collection of works from Jamaican artists and sculptors. Well-attended exhibitions during the winter season are not to be missed and will include crafts and original jewellery pieces from local artisans.

Parks and Nature Reserves in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Cranbrook Flower Forest
Cranbrook is located off the North Coast Highway in Laughlands, St. Ann. Well laid out gardens with nature hikes, swimming, bird watching, pond fishing, horse and donkey rides. 876-995-3097

Coyaba Gardens
A refreshing escape; immerse yourself in the colourful beauty of this garden refuge. Explore the gardens with its vibrant hued flora, natural springs and small pools or learn about the island's history in its small museum.

Shaw Park Gardens
Situated high on a hilltop overlooking the sea and only five minutes from Ocho Rios, Shaw Park Botanical Gardens encompass 25 acres of tropical splendour. 876-974-2552.

Green Grotto Caves
Traverse these series of underground connected limestone caves. History and nature meets at location which is said to have been used as a hideaway for runaway slaves. Spelunkers will appreciate the intricate passageways, stalactites and stalagmites. 876-973-3217

Turtle River Park
In the centre of the bustling town lies this green respite. A simple yet lovely garden with the Turtle River running through it, the park provides a enclosed area for children to frolic in the sun and a great place to take a break from sight-seeing.

Historical Sites and Cultural Experiences in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Bob Marley Birthplace and Mausoleum
In a quiet village called Nine Miles in the hills of St. Ann you will the birthplace and mausoleum of the late reggae superstar, Robert "Bob" Marley. An interesting trek, this definitely a trip off the beaten path where you may even meet his mother if you are lucky!

Prospect Plantation Tour
One of the oldest-established plantation tours the island has to offer. It is a still a working plantation which grows a little of everything so you will see such tropical produce as sugar cane, banana, cassava, avocado, and pimento (allspice) in their own habitat. A herb garden is a new addition. Peacocks roam the property and a horseback tour instead of a jitney tour is an option for the more energetic. Trail bikes tours are yet another possibility and there is miniature golf for those who cannot bear to be far from a golf course. 876-994-1058.

Seville Great House and Heritage Park
Discover the very beginnings of this island's rich history and people. The site marks the area where Jamaica's first inhabitants, the Taino Indians made their largest settlement over 1500 years ago. 876-972-2191

ReggaeXplosion
Trace the evolution of Jamaica's indigenous music through a vivid presentation starting from the 1950's to present day. Soundtracks, other recordings and images bring to life this celebration of the island's music. 876-974-8353

Walker's Wood
Jamaica is truly about flavours which are brought to life in our music, art and of course foods. Our spices and unique methods of blending them has created a cuisine that both reflects our background as a melting pot for many cultures as well as a definitive taste found nowhere else. Tucked away in the hills just beyond Ocho Rios is the Walker's Village home to the world renowned seasoning and sauce factory. Tour this community based company and sample the sauces and of course purchase for take home packages.

Firefly
Once a holiday refuge for the luminaries of the day, the historic home of playwright Noel Coward has played host to Queen Elizabeth II, Laurence Olivier, Sophia Loren, and Elizabeth Taylor to name a few. Stop by for a tour and learn more about this beautiful home named for the luminous insects that come out in the evenings. 876-725-0920

Golf Courses in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Super Clubs Golf Club
This 45-hole championship course has been host to many events including the Jamaica Open and the World Cup of Golf Qualifier. Beautiful views and a fast paced game characterize this golf experience. Want to learn the game or just sharpen your swing, there is a golf school on-site. 876-973-7319

Breezes Braco Golf Club
Also considered to be fast paced and challenging greens, the course is located just outside St. Ann. Enjoy a fun short round of nine holes here.

Sandals Golf & Country Club
Renovated in June 1992, Sandals golf course features greens rebuilt with Tifdwarf Bermuda grass and beautifully resurfaced fairways. This golf course is great Caribbean golf experience.

Water Sports and Soft Adventure Tours in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Chukka Cove
Situated about 15 minutes from Ocho Rios, just beyond St. Ann's Bay on the way to Montego Bay, Chukka Cove is a farm and stable which offers rides to suit anyone, from beginners to the most experienced. Their beach ride takes you through a dairy and cattle farm to the beach where an exhilarating ride through the waves will get your adrenaline flowing. They have recently added an exciting new attraction: a bike ride through the spectacular scenery of the Jamaican mountains down to a white sand beach and a refreshing plunge into the clear blue sea. Other adventures including river tubing and atv bike riding available through Chukka Caribbean Adventures.876-972-2506

Safari Tours
Zebra-striped jeeps will take you to White River for a breathtaking river tubing ride or on a hiking trip through the hills and down to Dunn's River Falls or through the timeless, unhurried, Jamaica countryside, seldom seen by visitors. 876-972-2506

Heave Ho Charters
Take a sea-taxi and you can cruise in style to places like Dolphin Cove or Reggae Beach. Plan your private charter on any one of four vessels. From fun, snorkel, dinner or sunset cruises. Also speed boat tours to Cuba. 876-974-5367

Reggae Beach
This is an incredibly beautiful and secluded beach to spend the day at and enjoy Jamaican favourites such as fried fish and bammy. 876-974-5367

Dolphin Cove
Visitors can touch, play and swim with the dolphins. Dolphin programs start at 9.30 a.m., 11.30 a.m., 1.30 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. Reservations are necessary to participate but not if you only mean to watch. An exciting nature hike is offered. See parrots, native snakes, turtles, iguanas and don't miss the shark pool. Their cheerful restaurant offers buffet lunch. Also browse awhile in their delightful gift shop for souvenirs. 876-974-5335

Dunn's River Falls - Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Perhaps the most celebrated beauty spot in the Ocho Rios area. Dunn's River Falls is not to be missed. The waterfall, which cascades over wedding cake tiers of smooth rock directly onto the beach, offers a challenging climb to the top-600 feet up. But don't be discouraged if you are not athletic, as it is much easier than it looks and experienced guides are always willing to assist. This breathtaking site is definitely a "bucket list" worthy experience.

James Bond Beach
James Bond Beach is just another example why Jamaica is renowned for its spectacular beaches. Just 20 minutes east of Ocho Rios offers a great swimming beach and spots for picnics. Do not feel like packing the meal? The Moonraker Bar and Grill serves up fresh seafood at affordable prices.

Mystic Mountain Rainforest Adventures
This is an eco-friendly attraction with an adventurous twist. Located next to the world-famous Dunns River Falls, take the Sky Explorer (a chairlift ride) up to the top of this 700-foot mountain. Once there choose from the options of a fast-paced bobsled ride, lounging by the infinity pool overlooking the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, or do the thrilling zip lining tour. Also home to a great restaurant, recharge with a sumptuous lunch. 866-759-8726

Cool Runnings Snorkel & Dunn's River Cruise
Set sail to an exotic cove for swimming and snorkelling. On board enjoy the pulsating beat of Reggae music while you sunbathe and sip on refreshing cold drinks.

Call Jamaqua Dive Centre at 876-973-4845

Dining and Nightlife in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Restaurants in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
A wide range of culinary delights await visitors to Ocho Rios. Like the rest of the island, the dining experience in Ocho Rios is a varied mix of cuisines and foods from around the world.

Bibibips Restaurant & Bar
Indulge in the flavourful Jamaican cuisine at this restaurant centrally located in the Taj Mahal Shopping Centre on Main Street. 876-974-1266

Cardiff Hall Restaurant
Visit this casually elegant spot located in Runaway Bay, for great mix of local and international cuisine. 876-973-6671-4

Evita's
On the hillside at the western entrance to town serves Italian food with a touch of Jamaican that makes the dishes extraordinary. Venetian-born owner, Evita Myers has come up with the original idea of offering whole or half portions of her unique dishes for waistline watchers or, more likely, those who want to sample as many different dishes as possible. It is the only restaurant overlooking Ocho Rios and the sea. Open 11 am - 11 pm. 876-974-2333.

Faith's Pen
The tantalizing aroma of jerk, rich woody smoke and spices greets you before you happen upon this truly Jamaican spot. A string of vendors setup side by side, Faith's Pen is the perfect rest stop en-route between Ocho Rios and Kingston. A favoured location by locals and visitors alike, you will find the best of Jamaican cuisine here – ackee and saltfish, fried dumplings, roasted yams and of course jerk chicken or pork is always ready to be served. Sit in your car and eat or at stone tables set-up in front.

Hard Rock Cafe - Ocho Rios, Jamaica
In the Taj Mahal Shopping Centre on Main Street, you will find the Hard Rock Cafe. The restaurant features wonderful music memorabilia and offers its usual menu and range of drinks. A Hard Rock souvenir store is located downstairs the restaurant. 876-974-7455

Irish Rover
This authentic Irish pub sits on the outskirts of Ocho Rios heading west in the community of Drax Hall. Here you can sample Irish fare or Jamaican favourites and sip on your preferred draft while you tap your feet to lively Irish folk music. Complete with a band stand; visit on weekends for live acts that may include reggae bands! 876-972-9352

John Crow's Tavern
This sidewalk cafe/pub offers a surprisingly wide menu which includes spicy jerk, hearty soups along with typical bar food such as barbeque wings. Large flat screen TVs are setup so you can catch your favourite sport/team in action depending on the sporting season. 876-974-5895

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritavile - Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Following on the theme of its sister locations on island, Margaritaville Ocho Rios during the day offers a fun spot to have your favourite tropical cocktail and have lunch from the grill. At night, it transforms into a night club with urban local and international music pulsing into the wee hours.

Ocean's 11
This outdoor restaurant and bar is located on Fisherman's Point just off Main Street Ocho Rios. Over looking the Caribbean Sea, this is a laid-back atmosphere perfect for having drinks after dinner or for a casual night out. Come out for Karaoke Night on Tuesdays! 876-974-6896

Ocho Rios Jerk Centre
Another casual spot favoured by locals, the Ocho Rios Jerk Centre offers the best in the traditional jerk fare and serves as a "watering hole" after work or mid-journey between Montego Bay and Kingston.

Passage to India Rooftop Restaurant and Bar
Dine on authentic Indian cuisine which promises to deliver the characteristic spicy flavours that will transport you to India! 876-795-3182

Scotchies - Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Rustic and relaxed, Scotchies is the prefect place to indulge in the authentic Jamaican jerk cuisine. Be sure to order up a cold Red Stripe beer to go along with lunch or dinner.

The Ruins at the Falls Restaurant
A memorable luncheon awaits you at this special venue set beside a 40 foot waterfall amidst lush tropical gardens. Enjoy the inclusive luncheon buffet including all beverages and house wines with vibrant Jamaican entertainment. Take the historic tour or shop in the art gallery and gift shop Open for lunch 11 a.m. to 3p.m. Dinner (Starting in December) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Cambioman
Conveniently situated at 19 Main Street, Ocho Rios changes money at very competitive rates. 974-6715.

Annual Events in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios Seafood Festival - August 6

Jamaica International Jazz festival June 11-19

Asante Adonai Literary Lyme - May 22


Runaway Bay
Another charming seaside town in the parish of St. Ann, Runaway Bay has developed in to a laid back tourist destination with resorts and villas lining the white sand beaches in the area.

Discovery Bay
Arguably one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the Caribbean, Discovery Bay is another must see locale on the north coast between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Named in recognition as the long believed place where Columbus first landed, a park/open air museum has been set-up in this quiet seaside town. A marine park managed by the University of the West Indies is also next to the park.


LINKS TO INFO ON OTHER JAMAICAN TOWNS

Below is a list of other major towns in Jamaica:

Kingston

Port Antonio

Ocho Rios

Montego Bay

Negril

Mandeville & the South Coast

 

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