Move to the musical landscape of Ocho Rios, from the reggae backbeat to the jungle calls of wild birds. Cruise to Ocho Rios and dive into the local laidback lifestyle: Sample hot-off-the-grill jerk chicken and stretch out on a golden beach. Climb a rainforest waterfall and watch for candy-colored fish while snorkeling in calm bays.
Strike a pose on the golden sands of James Bond Beach.
Descend to the real-life bat caves at the Green Grotto Caves.
Snorkel the kaleidoscopic seas right off powdery beaches near Ocho Rios.
Dance to the rhythms in the interactive reggae exhibits at ReggaeXPlosion.
Tour the Brimmer Hall estate, a working plantation where Jamaica’s famous coffee beans grow.
Reggae hero Bob Marley was born in nearby Nine Mile and is buried in a mausoleum there. He was just 18 years old when he formed his famous band the Wailers.
Jamaica was a Spanish colony known as Santiago before the British drove the Spanish out in 1655.
The island was the setting for many of the James Bond spy novels, written by Jamaica resident Ian Fleming.
Within Walking Distance
Located adjacent to the Carnival cruise Ocho Rios cruise pier, Island Village is a sprawling entertainment and shopping complex developed by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. Attractions include the ReggaeXplosion museum, a museum of Jamaican art, a casino, an outdoor concert venue, a beach with watersports, shopping (lots of it), and a branch of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
Beyond the Port Area
The most popular attraction in Ocho Rios, Jamaica is Dunn’s River Falls. This cascade tumbles nearly 600f feet down to the beach from the surrounding hills. Bobsled Jamaica & Dunns River Falls is a great way for adventure seekers to view the falls. Just south of Ocho Rios, the old riverbed at Fern Gully is now a rainforest of hardwood trees, lianas, and hundreds of varieties of ferns. Three miles east of town is lovely Harmony Hall, a restored Methodist manse from the mid-1800s and now a celebrated art gallery showcasing the work of Jamaican artists. The 1817 Brimmer Hall Estate is a working plantation where you can take a ride in a tractor-drawn jitney past the estate’s tropical fruit trees, sugarcane fields, and coffee plants.
Firefly, at Grants Pen above Oracabessa, was the home of playwright Sir Noël Coward. The house is modest, but the panoramic views of the island and Caribbean are meltingly lovely. Be sure to look for Coward’s accomplished paintings of Jamaica on the walls. West of Ocho Rios, you can explore the caves at Green Grotto, where ancient rock formations hang above pools of crystal clear water.
Beaches In Ocho Rios
The two beaches at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort on Main Street are shared by hotel guests and cruise ship passengers alike. You’ll find more open sands at nearby Runaway Bay, about 9 miles west of town, where Paradise Beach and Cardiffhall Lot Public Beach are quintessentially Jamaican stretches of fine white sand. Bring a snorkel mask and flippers for good off-the-beach snorkeling. Check out secluded James Bond Beach, in Oracabessa, about 20 minutes from town. Nearby is GoldenEye, former home of Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series.
Shopping in Ocho Rios
The Ocho Rios Craft Park, opposite the Ocean Village Shopping Centre off Main Street, has some 150 stalls stocking hats, handbags, place mats, woodcarvings, and paintings, plus the usual T-shirts and jewelry. The Island Plaza shopping complex, right in the heart of town, has paintings by local artists, handmade crafts, carvings, ceramics, and even kitchenware. At all of these places, prepare to haggle—vendors in the markets drive a hard bargain. On your Carnival cruise to Jamaica, you’ll find duty-free prices are indeed lower than stateside, but watch out for the Jamaican government’s 16.5% General Consumption Tax.
- The official currency is the Jamaican dollar. Visitors can use U.S. dollars, but should always find out if a quoted price is in Jamaican or U.S. dollars.
- Cruises to Ocho Rios, Jamaica dock at the Ocho Rios Cruise Terminal, adjacent to Island Village. Megaships occasionally use the neighboring industrial pier, which is a short walk from the terminal. Additionally, some cruises anchor and tender passengers for the short 15- to 20-minute trip to the terminal.