The Best Beaches & Fun Things to Do in Ocho Rios Jamaica
Saint Ann is the "Garden Parish of Jamaica", and it definitely lives up to it's name! It is full of gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, markets and art galleries, eco-tourist destinations, water adventures and other things to keep you busy. Below, we've listed some of the hidden gems and other fun things to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica, including Runaway Bay and the surrounding area. Click the red links for more details.
Some of our sponsors offer tours in Ocho Rios and we have listed a few of them below that may interest you. Whether you're spending your entire vacation in Jamaica or arriving by cruise ship for the day, you're sure to find fun things to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica to please everyone.
For Saint Ann's interesting cultural and historical buildings and sites, click here for more information. And, remember that Saint Ann borders the parishes of Saint James (Montego Bay) and Saint Mary (Oracabessa, Port Maria), so look for other adventures there as you'll be very close to many of them!
Book ahead to save time and money!
- Blue Hole - A hidden gem (one you may not hear about) and nature at its finest! Blue Hole (also called Island Gully Falls) always tops visitors' lists of fun things to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica. This little piece of paradise can be found in the White River Valley which hugs the borders of both St. Mary and St. Ann. The clear waters of the river wind through hills, forests and villages along their path to the Caribbean Sea. The Blue Hole is about a 30 minute drive away from the cruise pier in Ocho Rios, near Exchange. In this area, the river creates cascades of waterfalls which gush into a pool (“hole”), producing the most beautiful shade of blue! The Blue Hole is about 20 to 25 feet deep and is a great spot for a swim. There are small caves under the falls, Tarzan-type ropes for swinging into the pools, and you can hike along the stream to other falls and pools. The area is unspoiled by tourist traffic as most have no idea it exists, making the Blue Hole a peaceful, private spot. If you go with a driver, he/she will most likely have to wait for you while you play because Blue Hole is in the hills of St. Ann and definitely off the beaten path. Admission, which includes a certified guide, is currently about US$10 for adults and US$5 (plus your cost to get there). This short video gives a good overview of beautiful Blue Hole.
- Bob Marley Centre and Mausoleum - See information under Culture & History: NINE MILE.
Spirit of Reggae from Ocho Rios - $80.75
from: Tours and Co Associates Inc
Feel the spirit and legend of the King of Reggae music
come alive as you walk through the village of Nine Mile,
his birth and final resting place.
Ocho Rios Zion Bus Tour - $103.99
A must for every reggae enthusiast! Take a ride on the 'Zion Bus'
with your fellow reggae fans while your dreadlocked driver and
guide tells tales of the life of Bob Marley. Stop off at a local
Jerk Center for a traditional Jamaican lunch of jerk, rice, peas
and other yummy treats!
- Brown's Town Market - If you are headed to Bob Marley’s Nine Mile via the B3 out of Runaway Bay, be sure to stop in Brown’s Town, particularly on a Monday, Wednesday or Saturday when the market overflows with higglers (what Jamaicans call street vendors) selling their wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables. Brown’s Town is a relatively large Jamaican community about 8 miles up into the Dry Harbour Mountains above Runaway Bay. The market is the most vibrant on Saturday, the main market day, but you will enjoy it anytime. Go to the back of the market to find vendors of clothes, shoes and other things, and definitely buy a delicious beef or cheese patty here! Definitely drive around the area for the scenery, old great houses, and historic churches and buildings. Click here for more on Brown Town's interesting history. Catch a view of bustling Brown's Town in this short video.
- Calypso Rafting - Located 10 minutes from Ocho Rios, they operate rafting and tubing excursions on the White River. They also can arrange charter boats for deep sea fishing as well as jet-skiing. Their most popular tour is the River Combo which combines tubing on the White River with a climb of Dunn's River Falls, but you can skip Dunn's River if you want. The guides here are friendly and entertaining, and you'll enjoy a more local Jamaican experience and smaller crowds than some of the other organized tours. You can book via email on their website. Phone: 876.974.2527 or 876.974.5199.
- Cardiff Hall Public Beach - (This beach is sometimes called Flavours Beach.) Most of the beaches in Runaway Bay are unfortunately owned by large hotels and resorts and are off-limits to non-guests, but Cardiff Hall Public Beach, on the west end of town, is free and open to the public. The beach is located next to the Franklyn D. Resort and across the road from the Runaway Bay Shell gas station. The beach is clean and safe, and you'll probably encounter locals trying to sell you their wares. Just be polite and say no thanks. The popular, casual Flavours Beach Bar & Restaurant sits on this beach and has great food and drinks. They also have live music on some Friday nights.
- Chukka Caribbean Adventures - Chukka is Jamaica's leading provider of action adventure tours, ranging from zipline canopy tours to jeep tours and river excursions, and other fun things to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica. You can also board the new Chukka Catamaran and snorkel some of Jamaica’s best coral reefs (& then climb Dunn's River Falls), enjoy a Horseback Ride N’ Swim, tour Good Hope Estate, one of the oldest historic sites in the Western hemisphere, take an ATV safari or an off-road dune buggy adventure, and much, much more! Chukka's tours offer something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Chukka Cove Canopy Tour from Ocho Rios - $89.25
from: Tours and Co Associates Inc
Soar through the trees using an intricate system of harnesses,
pulleys and karabiners on horizontal traverses, while gazing at
the surrounding jungle.
- Columbus Park - This is situated to the west of Discovery Bay on the Queens Highway. It commemorates Columbus' visits to the island and operates as an open-air museum with sketches of Jamaican history. The park marks the spot where, according to some, Columbus first set foot on Jamaica. The small park is worth a stop if you’re already heading along the North Coast Highway. You can see 18th century cannons, a water wheel used to power a sugarcane mill and maritime artifacts. See it with a guide (for a fee) or on your own. Open daily from 8am to 4pm.
- Coyaba River Garden and Museum - This is another of visitors' most popular things to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica. The word coyaba comes from an Arawak word for paradise. It describes the practice of burning herbs on flat stones which put the Indians into a heavenly state, or coyaba. These spectacular tropical gardens also offer a small museum displaying artifacts from the Arawak, Spanish, and colonial English settlements in the area. Not too far from downtown Ocho Rios, this lushly landscaped park and museum were built on the grounds of a historic farm (the Shaw Park Plantation) that dates back to the earliest days of Britain's colonial age in Jamaica. Take a guided tour through the garden, climb Mahoe Falls and dip in the pool at the base of the Falls, or explore on your own and take a zillion spectacular photos! It's open daily from 8am to 5pm and there is an admission fee of US$10 (which includes a guide). This short video will give you an overview of Coyaba Gardens.
- Cranbrook Flower Forest & River Head Adventure Trail - This beautiful commercial nursery and eco-tourism destination at Laughlands, not far from Ocho Rios, is a must-see for anyone who wants to experience the lush beauty of Jamaica away from the crowds. Centered around a much-restored watermill built by a British planter in the 18th Century, the 130 acre property welcomes visitors on guided tours of its formal lawns, fountains, lakes, and ponds, but you are usually welcome to wander around on your own for free. The area is the private creation of Ivan Linton, who has pampered the plants of this former plantation for over 20 years. He has cultivated a wide variety of tropical plants to sustain the natural environment. You can bird-watch or fish here. The grounds are perfect for a picnic and there is a play area for kids. After you eat, hike alongside the Little River. The path climbs high into the hills to a waterfall. The hike can be slippery, so take good walking shoes. This video will give you a taste of Cranbrook Flower Forest.
- Dolphin Cove at Treasure Reef - If swimming with dolphins is on your bucket list, you can do it right here in Ocho Rios. Three levels of dolphin interaction are offered here: petting the playful creatures, playing with them in the water, and actually swimming with them. Prices increase with the level of interaction. They also offer shark and stingray experiences, a tropical aquarium, mini-boats, a jungle trail and a nice little beach. (The stingrays and mini boats are included in your admission fee.) Many tourists rave about the experience in spite of the hefty price tag. And be prepared to pay extra for the photos they will take of you. Check out their promotional video. Phone: 876.974.5335.
Ocho Rios Dolphin Encounter Program - $86.99
In this 20-minute program, children and adults alike will enjoy the
company of their new dolphin friends in Ocho Rios. Learn about
dolphins in the educational introductory presentation then have
an encounter with the dolphins from the security of the shallows.
Being extremely sociable, they will enjoy your company, as you will
theirs. Caress and touch the dolphins and view them up close!
Ocho Rios Dolphin Swim - $154.99
This is a great Ocho Rios intermediate package where you swim
in the deep for half an hour with one dolphin after an introduction
and briefing from resident expert trainers. Experience for yourself
the unique feeling of awe which dolphins inspire by their profound
intelligence and beauty!
- Dunn’s River Falls: Dunn's River Falls is a series of tiered waterfalls that drop 600 feet to the beach along the Dunn’s River, the largest of Ocho Rios’ eight rivers. When the cruise ships are in, a steady stream of tourists holds hands as they climb the slippery rocks with the help of guides. The falls are one of Jamaica's most popular attractions. Visit on a Sunday though, the one day off from ship arrivals, and there will be far fewer people enjoying the swirling water. If you're planning to climb the falls, wear sneakers or water shoes to protect your feet from the sharp rocks and to prevent slipping. You can also just relax on the beach or stroll along the stairways, terraces and decks to see the falls. You can enjoy them without the climb. Check out this Dunn's River Falls video.
Dunn's River Falls Tour from Ocho Rios - $38.99
Discover the natural beauty of Dunn's River Falls on this tour in Jamaica!
Visit Jamaica's beautiful Dunn's River Falls from Ocho Rios and hike to
the top of the stunning 600-foot (182-meter) waterfall with the help of
your local guide. When you reach the top, take in the magnificent
landscapes and admire the scenic tropical views.
- Dunn's River Beach is a beautiful 1/2-mile long beach located just below the town's famous waterfalls. It's golden-sand beach is bisected by the cold waters of the falls that empty onto its shore. Watersports are all available here. Or bring some snorkeling gear and head to the reef located just off shore. You can get a good look at the beach in the video of Dunn's River Falls above.
- Eden Falls (a.k.a. The Ruins at the Falls) - The 40-foot natural Eden Falls are a lesser-known attraction in Ocho Rios and are part of The Ruins. There's a restaurant here that gets mixed reviews, but you may want to go just to tour the lush grounds. It was originally part of a larger property called "Eden Bower", which was owned by the Geddes Family in 1907. The Ruins "attraction" came into existence in the mid-1950s, when a retired American Doctor, Robert Page, was inspired to create replicas of plantation building ruins. Future owners expanded. Today they offer historic and garden tours of the tropical property. The property is fed by the Milford Stream, the last cataract of the old Shaw Park Estate. This was also the pathway used by many Spaniards. In fact, the battle of Shaw Park in February 1659, contributed to the defeat of the Spanish by the British. Milford is the smallest of Ocho Rios' eight rivers, while Dunn's River is the largest. Also enjoy a look at the nearly extinct Jamaican River Mullets, fish that live in the pond by the courtyard. The restaurant is highlighted by the illuminated falls that cascade into the Caribbean, making for lovely views.
- Enchanted Gardens and Aviary - See Turtle River Falls and Gardens below.
- Faith's Pen - The A1 Highway is the longest in Jamaica, running all the way from Kingston to Negril. If you’re crossing the mountain on it between Ocho Rios and the south side of the island, Faith’s Pen is about halfway between Ochi and Kingston. This is roadside dining at its finest and the perfect spot to stop for a snack! From Ocho Rios, go about 12 miles south on A3 to the intersection of A1, then continue south about 4 miles past Moneague. Along a curve in the road you will find a neat row of about 15 to 20 roadside huts selling all your Jamaican favorites – jerk chicken, roast corn, festival, bammy, steamed fish – and traditional dishes like ackee & salt fish, cow cod soup and mannish water. Facilities are bare-bones. Stop, meet the people and enjoy the Jamaican hospitality. As with any place where vendors compete with each other, there will always be a few bad apples that spoil it for the whole bunch by overcharging. Make sure to negotiate and know your price in advance. Read our recent post about Faith's Pen or check it out on video.
- Fern Gully: Fern Gully is a National Park of Jamaica. It is a stretch of Highway A3 that winds south just outside of Ocho Rios on the road to Moneague. For three miles, the road is lined with lush ferns and innumerable plants; well worth a drive even if you’re not headed that way. The road goes through a canyon that was an old river bed and was called Ocho Rios Gully until flash floods rushed through it, causing an abundance of ferns to sprout. In about 1880 it was planted with about 200 more species of fern. Succeeding hurricanes have damaged it and the fumes of passing cars are also causing damage. It still remains attractive with its banks of ferns and other plants, canopy of trees and filtered sunlight. You can walk the Gully if you prefer and, depending on the time of day you go, there are usually local craft sellers along the road. In this gully, there are reportedly more varieties of ferns than exist on the whole North American Continent. Take a video tour of Fern Gully.
- Firewater Pond - Located in the hills above St. Ann’s Bay in a small rasta community, this is another hidden gem! The pond contains natural gases which, when mixed with the naturally-occurring sulfur, create gentle flames that float on the water! Firewater was reportedly discovered more than 80 years ago by Granny May (Mehala Smith) who took shortcuts from the hillside community to her job at Drax Hall estate and one day discovered salty bubbling water at the base of a cotton tree. The water eventually became a pool and, when attempting to burn a wasp nest from the cotton tree, her torch fell into the water and flames spread on the water. She claims a voice told her that the spring had healing powers and locals claim the springs can cure cataracts, arthritis, skin problems and a variety of other ailments. Today, a group of local rasta “masseurs” work at the pond, heating towels over the flames, applying them to achy joints and giving massages as a source of income (donations accepted). The money helps to buy clothing, school supplies and food for the struggling families in the community. They’ve erected a crude bamboo fence with tarps to provide a bit of privacy. The waters are let out of the pool and allowed to replenish after every group leaves. Firewater can be difficult to locate but is worth the trip! Just outside the Runaway Bay roundabout (about 30 minutes from Ocho Rios), find a very narrow dirt road behind the Norman Manley Training Grounds, and follow it as it narrows further along the edge of a cliff, until you reach a small town where the rastas will guide you to the parking area. Read a friend’s blog post about her adventure to Firewater and check out this video.
- Green Grotto Caves - Formed of coastal limestone, these caves were a haven for runaway slaves and pirates. The Tainos left drawings on the walls. The mammoth cave is full of rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites, and is nearly one mile long and 40 feet deep. At the bottom of the cave lies eerie Grotto Lake, 120 feet down, where you can see the stalagmites growing from the bottom. The price of admission includes a 45-minute tour of this well-lit cave. At one time, a nightclub operated here, and tours included a boat ride across the Green Lake. Tourists were even allowed to take a swim in the fragile ecosystem. Preservationists will be glad to know that when the government took ownership of this fragile resource, they discontinued these damaging activities. This is a good destination for those who want to see caves without really going off the beaten path. The Green Grotto Caves (also known as Runaway Bay Caves, Cave Hall Caves, Discovery Bay Caves, Dry Harbour Caves, Hopewell Caves, Rum Caves and Dairy Caves) are situated about two miles east of Discovery Bay. They are usually open daily. Experience Green Grotto Caves on video.
Ocho Rios Shore Excursion: Green Grotto Caves - $39.99
See one of Jamaica's remarkable natural wonders while in port in
Ocho Rios. A shore excursion to the Green Grotto Caves will leave
you filled with wonderment at the beauty of this Caribbean island.
- Hooves Jamaica - See the rural side of Jamaica on horseback! The "Beach Ride" takes you on a visit to the Seville Great House Museum, which houses artifacts found on this fascinating property. Then, you're off on a 2-hour ride through the woods and wetlands to the beach, where you'll ride in the waves! Along the way, you'll learn the interesting history of the area's Taino and sugar plantation history. They also offer the "Rainforest River Ride", "Bush Doctor Ride", and several other options. The owners also participate in a rescue program and rehabilitate horses that are found abandoned or abused. (Bravo!) Phone: 876.972.0905.
Heritage Beach Horse Ride - $71.99
Ride through the waves on horseback! Discover the rich history of
Jamaica as you ride on through the countryside. Stop at the beach,
where you'll have time to relax before heading into the shallow waters
on your horse! Designed for all experience levels, this tour is ideal
if you're up for some adventure!
- Irie River - Irie River, formerly known as Irie Beach, is a true Jamaican Paradise and is widely known as one of our best kept secrets. It is located on a scenic section of the White River, in Ocho Rios, just 15 minutes upstream from the ocean. People come from all around the world to swim in our cool, clear waters and to relax and be amazed by our enchanted gardens. Irie River has the atmosphere of a plantation-era bathing hole, Caribbean style. The sandy bottomed river flows gently through the park, allowing for safe swimming and visitors can bask in the sun on the grassy banks or relax in the shade provided by the lush tropical rainforest overhead. A hidden gem!
- Island Gully Falls - See Blue Hole above.
- Island Village and Island Village Shopping Center – A little bit like a theme park, this exotic looking village opened in 2002. There are some nice shops, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and reggae-themed attractions scattered over 4 acres on a beachfront within a few steps of the Ocho Rios cruise ship terminal, but you won't find much action is there's no ship in port. There is a branch of Margaritaville here (they have a great waterslide!), along with shops selling all sorts of clothing, souvenirs, books, music, fine jewelry and coffee. But, sadly, when I last visited in June 2013, many shops were empty due to the business they lost when some of the cruiseships moved to the new Falmouth port. It was still nice to sit with some Blue Mountain coffee, a patty and a Devon House ice cream and watch the people wander past. The Cove Theatre, St. Ann’s ONLY movie theatre, is here and shows the latest Hollywood movies if you want to get out of the heat.
- Island Village Beach - If you walk to the end of the boardwalk at the Island Village Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios you will find Island Village Beach. This is a smaller and more intimate beach than some of the others in Ocho Rios. Watersports are all available here and you can also rent chairs and umbrellas. The beach also has a volleyball court and easy access to Margaritaville for drinks.
- Jewel Runaway Bay Golf Club - This is a 72 par, 18 holes championship golf course which offers an exhilarating experience for beginners and accomplished golfers alike. The course was designed by Major John Harris from Britain and was opened in 1960. It has undergone a lot of improvements since Jewel took it over from Breezes. The features of the golf course are long rolling fairways, large flat greens protected by grassy mounds and sand bunkers. The course measures 5,389 yards and is slope rated 117 from the forward trees. From the back it measures 6,870 yards and is slope rated 124. The course includes a clubhouse, restaurant and pro shop. Visitors are welcome on weekdays and weekends, but must book in advance. Phone: 876.973.7319.
- Mahoe Falls - The falls are part of the river system, accessed through Coyaba River Garden (see above), that rises in the gardens via three natural springs. The owner has thoughtfully installed nicely designed ramps and rails to make the 100-foot drop waterfalls accessible via an easy stroll down to the swimming hole at the base of the falls. Visitors describe it as a mini-Dunn’s River Falls but with fewer people, no human chains and no slippery rocks. Hidden gem! Enjoy a little video tour of the falls.
- Mahogany Beach is situated off of Main Street on a small cove at the east end of Ocho Rios. If you are on foot, walk east from town and make a left after you pass Bibibip’s Bar & Grill. If you're on a cruise ship, you may want to grab a taxi. The beach has a roped-off swimming area to prevent boats from bothering swimmers. There is a reef for snorkeling and a mineral spring. This public beach can get crowded on cruise ship days. All of the water sports are available here along with a bar and restaurant on the beach. The beach was privatized, so there is an entry fee.
- Mallard's Beach is on Mallard’s Bay in the center of Ocho Rios (just to the west of Rooms on the Beach) and gets quite crowded when the cruise ships are in port. There are lots of activities and water sports available here, so this beach is a good mix of people-watching and fun.
- Mystic Mountain Rainforest Adventures - A few miles west of Ocho Rios, Mystic Mountain is one of Ochi’s biggest attractions. Crisscross the forest on a zipline (probably the nicest in Ocho Rios), ride the Sky Explorer chair lift, or enjoy a fun roller coaster-like "bobsled" ride through the dense foliage. There's an infinity pool here and a water slide (included in the admission fee), as well as a restaurant. They also have butterfly and hummingbird gardens. It's not cheap and can get very crowded on cruise ship days. This video will give you a feel for the attractions.
Ocho Rios Shore Excursion: Sky Explorer and Zipline
at Mystic Mountain - $45.99
While you're off your cruise ship in Ocho Rios, spend your time
soaring high above the Jamaican rainforest. The Sky Explorer shore
excursion at Mystic Mountain is a thrilling way to experience the
beauty of Jamaica while you're in port in Ocho Rios. Glide through
the air 700 feet (215 meters) above sea level in a state-of-the-art
chairlift; for more thrills, upgrade to the zipline option.
Ocho Rios Shore Excursion: Bobsledding Tour
at Mystic Mountain - $67.99
A winter sport like bobsledding is not what you expect to do
while in port on a Caribbean island, but in Jamaica, it's an
adventure you can't get anywhere else. While in port in Ocho
Rios, book yourself a seat on a bobsledding shore excursion
at Mystic Mountain. Buckle up, hold on and get ready for a
thrilling ride through the Jamaican rainforest.
- Ocho Rios Craft Park has about a hundred stalls. You can buy ready-made hats, baskets, handbags, woven items, apparel and souvenirs. Woodcarvers work on bowls, ashtrays, statues, and cups. This is the place to buy your t-shirts and coconut crafts. Everyone is aggressively trying to sell you something and compete with the stall next to theirs, which can be overwhelming. There is definitely room to bargain here, but be respectful.
- Ocho Rios Marine Protected Area - In 1966, a small area of the coast of Ocho Rios was declared a protected area. After years of lobbying by Friends of the Sea-Jamaica, the boundaries of this protected area were expanded in November 1999 to cover a much larger area. The boundaries extend from the shoreline of Mammee Bay and Drax Hall in the west, to Frankfort Point in the east and north to a depth of about 3,200 feet. There is some excellent scuba diving offshore here with beautiful coral formations that are due to be incorporated in the Ocho Rios Marine Park, which has not yet been developed.
- Paradise Beach (a.k.a. Salem Paradise Beach) in Salem (near Runaway Bay) has some of the best snorkeling in the area. The beach location is very near the Hedonism III resort. Has changing rooms and a beach bar.
- Priory Beach can be found a little west of St. Ann’s Bay going toward Runaway Bay. The beach is clean and tidy with beautiful blue waters and is a favorite of locals. They have a popular late Sunday night beach party here with good music and dancing.
- Prospect Plantation Tours - Prospect is one of Jamaica's oldest great houses, built in the early 18th Century. You can see bananas, cassava, sugarcane, coffee, allspice and many other crops at this 1,000 acre working plantation. Prospect is very close to Ocho Rios but actually located in the parish of Saint Mary. See the details on our Saint Mary activities page.
- Puerto Seco Beach is near Columbus Park in Runaway Bay. This long stretch of white sand public beach looks out on Discovery Bay, the location where, according to tradition, Christopher Columbus first came ashore on Jamaica. He sailed in search of freshwater but found none, naming the stretch of sand Puerto Seco, or "dry port". Today the beach is anything but dry; concession stands sell Red Stripe and local food to primarily a local beach crowd. It is nicely maintained and has changing rooms and toilets.
- Reggae Beach - A favorite beach of many who visit the area, beautiful Reggae Beach is located just outside of Ocho Rios to the east, near Prospect Plantation. Expect to relax in the shade, swim, and get a drink from the bar and a bite of local food to eat. This is a quiet, laid-back beach. In fact, on a weekday you may have it entirely to yourself. If you are looking for water sports and organized activities, this is probably not your best choice. There are bathrooms and outdoor showers. There is also a beach bar and cafe here. No chairs, so bring your own!
- Resort Divers - I am not a diver, but Resort Divers' clients say they are the best dive outfit on the island. They are a PADI 5 Star facility and offer services from central locations along Jamaica's North Coast - Ocho Rios and Runaway Bay. They have free pick-up service from all area hotels and cruise terminals in Ocho Rios and Falmouth. They are known for their friendly, professional service, offering good, varied dive sites. All equipment is well cared for and in good condition. In addition to scuba diving, they offer glass bottom boat and banana boat rides, snorkeling, parasailing, and fishing excursions. Phone: 876.881.5760.
- Sandals Golf & Country Club at Upton - The rolling landscape gives you stunning views of the ocean and the mountains. It's a short course, just 6,400 yards for a par of 71 and a course rating of 70.9, but it's fun to play, with tight fairways, tiny greens and will give you a leisurely but challenging, round of golf. The course is well-maintained, and the caddies (mandatory) are excellent. They also have well cared for rental equipment available. Visitors are welcome on weekdays and weekends, but must book in advance. Phone: 876.975.0119.
- Shaw Park Gardens – see Coyaba River Garden and Museum
- Turtle Beach, also known as Ocho Rios Bay Beach, is the main public beach adjacent to (and within walking distance of) the Ocho Rios cruise ship pier. Expect crowds when a ship is in port. The mile-and-a-half long white sand beach draws both locals and tourists but there is usually plenty of space to stretch out and relax. The swimming is good but the water can be a little grassy.
- Turtle River Falls and Gardens - Hundreds of people have wonderful memories of the old Enchanted Gardens Resort (lots of honeymoons there!!) which fell into disrepair and closed shortly after September 11, 2001 because of debt and tax issues. The property has been for sale for years and the hotel is still closed. However, the property has been refurbished and is NOW OPEN under a new name for garden tours, special events and weddings. My personal opinion, since I hate crowds, is that Turtle River is equal to Dunn's River Falls in terms of beauty and waterfalls. In fact, it may be better! This tropical paradise and rainforest is 20 acres with 14 natural waterfalls, meandering streams and natural spring-fed pools; offering a nature walk replete with a wide variety of flowers, fruit trees and a large Japanese Koi pond. The property also includes the largest walk-in bird aviary in the Caribbean with a wide variety of exotic birds. It is truly spectacular! There is a nominal admission fee for the garden tour (about US$20 and about $1,000J for residents), which helps with the upkeep of the gardens and the aviary. Carnival Cruise Lines offers an excursion tour of the gardens or you can visit on your own as well. The restaurant is not open so, if you think you'll get hungry, you can bring your own food. On Eden Bower Road in the hills of Ocho Rios. This short video will give you the highlights. Open Mon-Sat 9am to 4pm. Phone: 876.974.8508.
- Wassi Art Pottery Works - Another interesting stop is Wassi Art Pottery Works, on Back Street in the community of Great Pond (on the east side of Ocho Rios). This shop offers a tour of its factory. The pottery is made of clay from Castleton, a small town in the mountains of northeast Jamaica. The clay is worked into a variety of objects – tiles, sculptures, plates, candlesticks – and sold at the store and at fine boutiques island-wide. They have some spectacular pottery! Read our recent post about Wassi Art.
- White River Bamboo Rafting - A quiet raft trip down the shaded and tranquil White River is a relaxing alternative to more strenuous activities. Sounds good to me! Go on your own or arrange it through ChukkaCaribbean. Chukka offers white-water tubing on the White River. No previous rafting experience is required. Rafters travel in a convoy along the river and through some gentle rapids. They also offer kayaking through the rapids and lagoons along the lush tropical vegetation and beautiful bamboo groves.
Ocho Rios White River Valley Tubing Safari - $64.99
Discover the best kept secret in Jamaica! Take off on an exciting
river tube ride along the White River where you'll be surrounded by
beautiful scenery. You'll pass through coconut plantations, bamboo
groves and see the locals in their riverside homes! Enjoy the
challenging rapids as well as the enchanting and peaceful lagoons!
Blue Mountain Downhill Bike Tour with Transport
from Ocho Rios - $92.99
Explore the Blue Mountains of Jamaica on this full-day tour, including a fun
bicycle ride - downhill! After a drive to the mountains for a Jamaican
brunch, stop by Blue Mountain Coffee for a coffee roasting demonstration.
You'll take in amazing views of Kingston and the Caribbean as you
coast down the mountain. Stop for lunch before a refreshing swim
under a gorgeous waterfall! (Not for 1-day cruise visitors.)