5 experiences not to miss in Jamaica’s Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is located on the north coast of Jamaica, in the parish of St Ann, known as the garden parish due to its lush landscape. It’s a beautiful part of the island but, as with all things of beauty, it’s become a popular resort destination. So how about escaping the comfy resort, the pool side cocktails, and venturing off to enjoy the real Ocho Rios? Here are the 5 experiences you cannot miss during your stay:

Ochos Rios

1. Blue Hole waterfall

This pristine waterfall is one of the most iconic destinations in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. A popular swimming hole, Blue Hole has rope swings for the adventurous and smooth cliffs for sunbathing. Located in the parish of St. Mary, the area isn’t easy to find and does require light hiking. Visitors can enlist the help of locals who serve as area guides to trek to the top of the waterfall.

Blue Hole

2. White River tubing

Enjoy a 3-mile drift down a winding, spring-fed river that offers equal doses of excitement and relaxation at White River. Most of the journey is smooth, easy sailing, with a few rapids near the end of the river path. Travelers can take in the stunning foliage during the 45-minute tour or learn more about Jamaica’s history from knowledgeable tour guides floating along with groups in their own bottomed inner tubes.

White River

3. Mystic Mountain

Mystic Mountain offers a wide array of rainforest adventures. True to Jamaica’s culture, the mountain offers a 1,000-meter bobsled track through the trees. Visitors can also fly across a canopy zip line or soar 700 feet above the rainforest in a chair lift. Atop the mountain, enjoy a contemporary menu of Caribbean cuisine at the mountain’s restaurant open for lunch and dinner.

Mystic Mountain

4. Dunn’s River Falls

A natural amusement park built around the waterfalls of Dunn’s River, this is a prime destination for hiking the Jamaican landscape and sliding and swimming down the falls. Helpful tour guides lead the way up to the top, and the climb is suitable for all ages. Be sure to check out the craft market, which is chock full of souvenirs from local artisans. Visitors can also store their valuables in lockers provided by the park.

Dunn's River Falls

5. And of course… the beaches of Jamaica!

You don’t have to check in to a fancy resort hotel to enjoy Jamaica’s white sand beaches. Bag yourself a stay in one of the many vacation rentals in the area and then head to UDC Beach, one of the prime public beach destinations in Ocho Rios. Go scuba diving and explore the coral reef off the shore. Alternatively, Reggae Beach and James Bond Beach, where scenes from the James Bond movie Dr. No were filmed, also offer a renowned public beach experience.

Beaches of Jamaica

Aside from the above experiences, if you’re staying at one of the growing number of Ocho Rios vacation rentals, you could shop the local market for fresh produce to cook at the villa. Or, if cooking sounds like too much hard work, then dine out at one of the incredible restaurants. Places like Scotchies (where you can enjoy amazing jerk chicken), Evita’s Italian (a Jamaica-Italian fusion) and the Almond Tree (don’t miss their signature banana bread!).

Andy McNulty is the Co-Founder of Vacation Insiders.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Sonny says:

    Nice photography, making my mind to go for it…! I might as well go for it, I guess. Hope to meet you sooner or later. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Bob Merrick says:

    You sure make Jamaica sound inviting. I had just returned from a trip to Puerto Rico (which was fabulous) and was thinking about a trip to Jamaica. I didn’t realize that there was so much to see and do there. The chairlift above the rainforest is a must see. I enjoyed the rainforest in Puerto Rico as well.

  3. Charmaine says:

    I like this article on Ocho Rios. If you are a tourist planning to visit get out and explore. The Blue Hole is one of the hidden gems and a must on your bucket list of places to visit in Ocho Rios. Other than Dunns River another waterfall to visit is Turtle River Falls. Other popular things to do or visit Dolphin Cove or Go horse back riding in the sea. Ocho Rios is in close proximity to some of the best attractions in Jamaica.

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