Hotels in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
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Sunshine, culture and adventure in Ocho Rios
The resort town of Ocho Rios on the northern Jamaican coast has emerged as a popular cruise ship port in recent years. The former fishing village is now a busy town surrounded by a diverse mix of beautiful scenery and adventurous activities. Although many visitors only pass through briefly via cruise ship, Ocho Rios and the neighbouring area contain ample attractions and points of interest to keep travellers busy for weeks. Visitors can also experience the cultural side of Jamaica through its fine cuisine and distinct local music scene, both found in abundance in Ocho Rios.
A sandy bay that shapes the town centre
Ocho Rios Bay Beach is the centrepiece of the town, a few kilometres of white sands curving around the bay, with views out to the cruise ship port to northeast. The bay provides a useful reference point in terms of orientation and much of the town’s commercial centre is situated in the blocks behind. Many of the Ocho Rios hotels can be found along the bay offering perfect access to the beach and the warm ocean water, a particularly appealing factor for visitors. To the north end of the bay lies the cruise ship port where many local sellers gather as the boats come in, offering an array of market goods and foods. Truth be told, there is much better value to be found in and around the town where there are official shopping centres and a variety of craft markets. The other end of the bay is another smaller pier before the separate Fisherman’s Beach; a great spot for finding authentic local cuisine.
Salted fish and beachside cocktails
Visitors to Ocho Rios are treated to a wide variety of restaurants and street food, with many well established family firms operating for generations in the bay. Jamaican cuisine is well represented and has a strong seafood focus, as to be expected in a coastal town. Other Jamaican classics can be found across the town such as saltfish and ackee, curry goat, and jerk chicken. International dining options have grown in recent times to cater for the international tastes of the visitors; Italian and Indian cuisines are represented plus a host of Western classics. Moreover, most of the larger hotels in Ocho Rios contain in-house restaurants, usually with a diverse menu. Aside from restaurants, there are also dozens of bars across the town offering guests a refreshing cocktail or local Red Stripe beer to enjoy in the sunshine. The bar scene becomes even more lively in the evening with many bars showcasing local reggae artists and DJ’s into the early hours of the morning.
A whole host of adventure activities
Moving away from the town centre there are a range of activities and sights linked to the surrounding nature. The Rainforest Adventures Misty Mountain amusement park is located two kilometres west of Ocho Rios and offers ziplining, rollercoasters, chairlifts and other such facilities. It is a popular spot with families and many tour operators offer transfers from any hotel in Ocho Rios, adding an extra element of convenience. Again to the west of the town centre lies the White River and here visitors can find a host of water based activities such as rafting, tubing and even jetskiing. At the mouth of the river there is a smaller beach home to a selection of cafes and restaurants, plus examples of the independent lodge style Ocho Rios hotel, presenting a quieter accommodation option. Other well favoured activities include mountain biking or trekking in the forests close by Ocho Rios, tour groups offer day packages but visitors can also simply seek independent bicycle hire in the city.
Waterfalls, James Bond and Bob Marley
Ocho Rios is also used a base to explore much further along the northern coast of Jamaica, with many of the island’s highlights within driving distance of the town. Dunns River Falls is considered one of the national treasures and is a must-see if visiting northern Jamaica. A common activity is to climb the one hundred and eighty metre long falls and enjoy the series of small lagoons interspersed along the way. The falls were used for the 1962 filming of Dr. No, the first James Bond film, in part because the author Ian Fleming lived in a beach house further along the coast. Another famous landmark from Dr. No is James Bond Beach, a now famous tourist hotspot which is overlooked by Goldeneye, Fleming’s well known retreat. One of Jamaica’s most globally known sons is of course Bob Marley and he was born in a village twenty-five miles southwest of Ocho Rios. Tour groups offer trips down to the village, with music fans enjoying being given a history of Bob’s life in Jamaica and showing first-hand where he grew up.