TRAVELOG

5 Must Do Things In Ocho Rios — Jamaica

Ocho Rios, today, is a far cry from the once little known sleepy fishing village, sited on the north coast in the parish of Saint Ann in Jamaica.

Ochie, as it is popularly called, has become one of the most important resort towns on the island.

It now boasts a cruise ship harbor, hotels of all sizes, exquisite dining restaurants, name brand stores, a number of different malls, and a wide range of tourist attractions.

Additionally, the town is surrounded by some of the best beaches in Jamaica.

So, looking for some fun in Jamaica this Spring Break? Why not make Ocho Rios your fun spot to stop.

Below are 5 must do things once landed in this town:

1. Climbing the Dunn’s River Falls — this famous waterfalls sited in Ocho Rios is nestled on top of a hill amidst lush green vegetation, rich tropical foliage, and a canopy of trees. The path from the base to the top of the falls is about 600 feet high and is fused with sparkling, gushing, crystal clear water that is refreshing and as cool as a gently blowing morning breeze. There are also natural pools formed along the path as giant boulders create walls that restrict the flow of water. The Dunn’s River Falls is one of the few waterfalls in the world that directly merges with the sea directly and creates a long stretch of beach of glistening white sands and shallow waters that allow for easy swimming.

Dunn’s River Falls & Park is open every day from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. On days when cruise ships are in port, the park opens at 7 a.m.

2. Check out the Blue Hole — It is one of the hidden gems in Ocho Rios and by extension Jamaica. It is sited off the beaten path, in a rustic, exotic, and pristine setting about 25 minutes from the town.

It is a place for relaxation and to be at one with nature. In fact, one would find it very difficult to walk away from this place without a sense of awe of the beauty and wonder of nature.

The main Blue Hole with its turquoise blue waters is tempting for one to jump in upon first sight. It is about 20 – 25 feet in depth and is good for swimming. However,  if swimming is not one’s forté, then lazing away some leisure hours on the side while inhaling the fresh air, soaking up the sunshine, and observing the beauty of the place is an option.

At another section of the Blue Hole, there is a waterfall which is about 20 feet in height. Here, the water races down in a series of gushing cascades, thus forming large pools at the base of the fall. There is also a network of inner caves at the base which promotes more frolicking and fun as well as provokes curiosity. 

It is important to have a guide when visiting this site. However, it is possible to explore the Blue Hole alone if no swimming or crossing of the river is involved.

3. Visit the Bob Marley Center and Mausoleum — A trip to Nine Mile to see Jamaica’s musical legend Bob Marley birthplace is a must for fans.

This small community of Nine Mile is located between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. At this site, one gets to tour the birth home and burial place of Bob Marley.

Here, one may engage in activities such as capturing photos of Bob’s house, reading notes left behind by fans inside, viewing the mausoleum, dining in the on-site restaurant, purchasing a range of souvenir items from the Marley gift shop as well as listening to stories from the village folks about the life and times of Bob Marley.

“We went early in the day and arrived before 11 a.m. This was ideal as around 11:30 busloads of cruise ship passengers rolled in and it got quite packed,” reported one visitor on the popular website, Trip Advisor.

Getting to the site can be challenging if one is not accustomed to the roadways. A guided excursion is one’s best bet to venture out to this site on one of those tours. Also, be prepared to inhale marijuana smoke on site as the plant is widely used.

One can visit the Bob Marley Centre and Mausoleum every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

4. Go swimming at Cardiff Public Beach — this is one of the few remaining public beaches in Jamaica. It is sited near the Franklyn D. Resort on the West end of Ocho Rios.

This beach is clean and safe and easily accessible to public transportation. There is also a restaurant and bar on the beach which provide delicious traditional Jamaican food and drinks. Also, pulsating Jamaican reggae music is part of the offering.

5. Go Chukka Caribbean Adventures — here, one will be exposed to something new and different from the usual beach stuff.

Thrill seekers and those who are open to new adventures will not only find the experience exciting but will also have lots of fun.

Activities here include flying through the rainforest hundreds of feet in the air, swimming on horseback, exploring the countryside on an ATV, or going on a relaxing float down a river.

Carol Maye, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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