Things to Do in Ocho Rios
Blue Hole is a natural wonder located near Ocho Rios. A deep cavern within the tropical mountains of Jamaica, Blue Hole gets its name from the deep hue of the water here. This site isn’t just pretty water, though. There are also waterfalls pouring into the hole from the sides and thick vegetation growing around the edges and from crevices in its rocky perimeter. Vines hang down into Blue Hole as well, giving it an even more exotic appearance. It is an excellent place to go swimming and cliff jumping.
Nine Mile is synonymous with one of Jamaica’s most famous sons, the late great master of reggae Bob Marley.
Thanks to guided tours led by Rastafarian guides, you can visit the former home of Bob Marley, as well as the musician’s beloved Mt. Zion Rock and his mausoleum. Many of the guides are Bob’s fellow musicians, relatives, and friends.
You can admire Bob’s gold and platinum records on display, along with musical instruments, his favorite chair and other personal effects.
Another highlight of a visit to Nine Mile is the Jamaican scenery you’ll see on the drive from the coast.
Legendary explorer Christopher Columbus first trod upon Jamaican soil at Discovery Bay, when he landed here in 1494. Columbus Park commemorates that momentous day in history.
The Columbus Museum here explores the history and impact of that landing, along with the pre-colonial history of Jamaica’s indigenous people.
From Arawak canoes to sugarcane milling, nautical relics and cannons, the open-air museum overlooking the harbor at Discovery Bay is littered with fascinating artifacts from Jamaica’s past.
Jamaica is known for much more than its Bobsled team! The small town of Ocho Rios is the ultimate gateway to a plethora of sightseeing and cultural experiences on the North Coast of the island. Originally a fishing village, Ocho Rios has grown into a noted port of call for cruise ships and a bustling economy has developed around the influx of tourists.
The cruise port is located in convenient walking proximity to downtown Ocho Rios, a mid-sized town with six shopping plazas and an abundance of bars and restaurants. The taxi drivers around the pier have a reputation for being very aggressive. Be polite in denying their solicitations, but don’t let them intimidate you.
Although somewhat tourist congested, you cannot visit the North coast without seeing Dunn’s River Falls, one of the most spectacular waterfalls you will ever see. The Horseback Tour will allow you to enjoy the view from a unique perspective and also takes you along the Caribbean Sea.
White River Valley prides itself on its eco credentials, offering all manner of outdoor adventures. The white limestone rocks give the White River its name, causing the water to tumble over rapids and forming tranquil lagoon pools for rafting.
You can go tubing or kayaking in the White River, or even saddle a horse for a ride along trails leading through tropical rainforest! Visit the landscaped Village of Flowers, and seek out the old Spanish Bridge dating back to the 1600s.
Thrill seekers who visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica, must make time to visit Mystic Mountain for some stomach jumping and gravity defying adventures. Mystic Mountain is a nature park located in Jamaica’s lush rainforest. You’ll see and experience the island from different vantage points through three different types of excursions.
Mystic Mountain’s zipline course sets you racing through the rainforest as you slide down thick cables while strapped to them via a harness. As you reach each new platform that is part of the zipline course you’ll not only get a rush of adrenaline, but you’ll also see gorgeous views of the rainforest as the zipline course takes you through a distance of over 550 feet.
The Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica will get you feeling like an Olympian as you race around twists and turns on the bobsled track – no snow or ice required. You can speed up for thrills or slow down to enjoy views of the rainforest and Caribbean Sea as you slide around the track.
Jamaica’s tropical trees and flowers surround a colonial-style home at the Coyaba River Garden and Museum, backed by stupendous views of the Ocho Rios harbor. Water is one of the main features of the gardens, with tumbling streams and the Mahoe Falls.
With plenty to do, you can choose to sip locally grown coffee in the cool courtyard cafe, take a guided tour of the gardens, have a swim in the falls, and even shop for local crafts in the courtyard boutique.
The site also has a small museum exploring the history of Jamaica’s original inhabitants, the Arawaks and Tainos.
Time and tide have etched the limestone Green Grotto Caves, lined with the green algae that gives them their name. The caverns are home to bats and marine life, and over the centuries they’ve been a hideout for fugitives and runaway slaves.
Hidden away in an inner cavern is the crystal-clear Grotto Lake. Overhead, pockets in the limestone provide filtered light through the caverns’ forest of stalactites and stalagmites.
Take a step back into the wilds of Jamaica with a drive through the incredibly lush and tropical Fern Gully. A towering tunnel of ferns and tropical overgrowth, this rainforest is so full and green that it has become one of the most noteworthy attractions in all of Jamaica.
See water falling over canyons, beautiful gorges, tropical birds of paradise and more than 300 varieties of fern. Along the way visitors can stop to haggle with roadside vendors for wooden arts and crafts, or, if they’re lucky, they’ll spot Fern Man, who wears a robe of pure fern. With so much green vegetation, this shady forest canopy is a great spot for a quick drive or a leisurely walk.
The main beach in Ocho Rios, Turtle Beach, is a crescent of white sand just off Main Street. The white sands stretch along the bay’s east side, overlooked by palm trees and high-rise hotels.
Enjoy the local surroundings and take to the water in a kayak or jet ski, or swim in the safe shallow waters lapping the sand! You can hire sun beds, umbrellas, food and drink from nearby vendors. The beach also has changing facilities and showers.
More Things to Do in Ocho Rios
If the rough-and-tumble bustle of Kingston or the all-inclusive enclaves of Montego Bay aren’t your style, consider Port Antonio. This sleepy banana-port town in the lush northwest of the island is a side of Jamaica you may have never heard of, unless you were around in the 1940s when Port Antonio was an idyllic and popular escape for Hollywood elite like Errol Flynn who built an estate here. Port Antonio’s dense downtown area is pockmarked with dilapidated Georgian-era buildings, and just outside of town, you can see the stretch of shore that served as the set for Brooke Shields’ film The Blue Lagoon. Nature is the name of the game here, from the rolling blue surf at Boston Bay—purported to be the birthplace of jerk chicken—to the placid jungle-fringed waters of the Rio Grande, where you can hire a guide to take you on a run down the river aboard a slender, 20-foot-long bamboo raft.
Cranbrook Flower Forest is a stunning example of Jamaica’s tropical heart, filled with flowers and hidden pools. A riverside nature trail winds through the tropical rainforest, lined with exotic flowers, leading to tranquil swimming holes.
Follow the trail on foot or on horseback, and try to name the tropical flowers, from begonias to heliconias!
If you are looking to raise your adrenaline levels, zip lines traverse the forest for a wild ride overhead, and cool swimming holes and falls offer a welcome break from the heat of the day.
Experience life in a colonial plantation at Brimmer Hall!
Established in 1817, this historic estate today is still a working enterprise, producing Jamaica’s famous coffee and tropical fruit.
To further enjoy the scenery, tour the plantation by tropical tractor and take a drive past coconut palms, citrus groves, coffee trees, and fields of pineapples and bananas.
The grand estate home provides insights into colonial life, furnished with antiques from the era.
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