From secret waterfalls to visiting Bob Marley’s childhood home, there are lots of great places to go in Ocho Rios. Here are 10 fun things to do in Ocho Rios, including the best hidden gems and excursions that you shouldn’t miss.
Fun Things to Do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
If you’re heading to Jamaica then Ocho Rios is a great place to stay. Located on the North Coast, this is where many of the luxury all-inclusive Jamaica resorts are located. There are many great Ocho Rios attractions to tempt your fancy.
It’s a great base from which to explore the Jamaican countryside. These are 10 fun things to do in Ocho Rios which the whole family will enjoy.
1. Bob Marley Nine Mile Tour
One of the most famous Jamaicans is Bob Marley. The legendary reggae singer and songwriter was born in the village of Nine Mile near Ocho Rios in 1945.
You can visit his childhood home on a guided tour to Nine Mile, and see his final resting place, the Bob Marley Mausoleum. The air conditioned bus picks you up at your hotel and takes a very scenic ride through the mountains.
2. Cranbrook Rainforest Gardens
Cranbrook Rainforest Gardens are a beautiful place to stroll around and makes an interesting excursion in itself. Set in 40 landscaped acres, the walking trail takes about a mile and a half to the river, where you can bathe if you wish.
From the beautiful torch flower to the peacocks parading around, this lush rainforest is a real treat for the eyes. There’s a small gift shop and cafe at the entrance.
3. Cranbrook Zip Line Canopy
However, the main attraction at Cranbrook Flower Forest is the Zip Line Canopy where you soar above the trees. One of the best activities in Ocho Rios, this is an adrenaline packed experience.
You swing along, admiring the scenery, helped by the expert instructors. With traverses ranging from 105 to 660 feet, it will keep you busy for several hours.
4. Green Grotto Caves
These famous Jamaican caves take their name from the green algae that covers their walls. The Arawak Indians were the first known inhabitants of these limestone caves.
They were also used as a refuge by escaped slaves, when they became known as the Runaway Caves. Today, they’re home to nine species of bats. You might recognize the caves from the James Bond film Live and Let Die, when they were evil Doctor Kananga’s lair.
Take a tour from your hotel in Ocho Rios to Green Grotto Caves and underground river, where your expert guide will point out the many stalactites and stalagmites.
5. Island Gully Falls aka The Blue Hole
Many visitors to Jamaica head to the famous Dunn’s River Falls. As it’s one of the most popular Jamaica shore excursions, it can get very hectic if a cruise ship is in port. That’s why we suggest that you consider visiting another Ocho Rios waterfall – Island Gully Falls.
It was formerly known as The Blue Hole, and is hidden away down a quiet road. The journey is definitely worth it, as there’s an impressive cascading waterfall which you can dive into as well as a Tarzan style river swing. Island Gully Falls is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day.
6. Jamaica’s Largest Spa
If you’re looking for relaxing Ocho Rios activities, consider a spa session at Jamaica’s largest spa. AWE Spa is located inside Moon Palace Jamaica®, one of the best hotels in Ocho Rios.
Before your spa treatment, enjoy a complimentary Water Journey guided by your very own spa valet. They will lead you around the different areas such as the steam room, sauna and hydrotherapy pool before taking you to your professionally trained therapist.
Our massage was so relaxing that we fell asleep.
7. Jamaican Sunsets
Although Negril is the most famous area of Jamaica for the sunsets, Ocho Rios isn’t half bad! It’s also worth getting up early for sunrise, when you might be lucky to see dolphins in the bay.
Ocho Rios is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the Caribbean. The beautiful sunsets are one of the reasons!
8. Konoko Falls
Another picturesque Jamaica attraction is Konoko Falls and Park. What makes this place unique is that you can climb all the way up the waterfall, with the help of a guide.
It’s essential to wear water shoes but you can buy them on site if you don’t have your own. Towels will also come in handy to dry off afterwards!
Before climbing up the waterfall, enjoy the guided tour around the botanical gardens. They were once the home to the Taino Indian tribe and now feature a wide variety of our indigenous animals and birds. The park is open from 8 am to 4.30 pm daily.
You can also take a private tour combining Konoko Falls with the Blue Hole. It’s a great all day excursion in a private air conditioned vehicle.
9. Mystic Mountain Bobsled Experience
If you’ve seen the movie Cool Runnings, you’ll know all about the exploits of the Jamaican bobsleigh team at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Take a guided tour from Ocho Rios Pier to Mystic Mountain and you can get an adrenaline rush of your own.
The Sky Explorer Chair-Lift carries you to the top of the mountain, and you take the bobsled ride down. In the grounds there’s also a nature trail, a hummingbird garden and an infinity pool with a waterslide.
10. Turtle River Falls and Gardens
This Jamaica eco-attraction boasts 20 acres of lush gardens, a turtle and fish pond and 14 cascading waterfalls. There’s an aviary that you can walk through, with over 80 species of birds.
You can also climb up one of the waterfalls, with the help of an expert guide.
11. White River Rafting and Tubing
A popular activity for those visiting Jamaica by cruise ship is to go to White River Valley. The river tubing departs from Spanish bridge, a Jamaica landmark dating from the 1600s. It’s an exhilarating way to experience nature, in the company of an expert guide.
12. Yaaman Adventure Park
One of our favourite Ocho Rios excursions is to Yaaman Adventure Park. This 18th century estate, previously known as Prospect Plantation, has some fun activities on offer such as horseback riding, Segway tours and ATV rides.
Take a look around the aviary where you’ll come across some friendly birds that you can feed. Then hop on board the jitney, a tractor drawn carriage for a ride around the 1,000 acre estate.
Our guide, Donovan, had us in stitches with his deadpan humor, so make sure to ask for him if he’s available. The estate was purchased by Sir Harold Mitchell in 1936 and its grounds are dotted with trees planted by heads of state such as Sir Winston Churchill and Pierre Trudeau who visited.
There are also many crops such as coconut, all spice, bananas and coffee. You’ll then have a tour of the Great House and learn how to cook jerk chicken and other delicious Jamaican food on the shady terrace overlooking the Caribbean sea. If you’re wary of spicy food, the trick is to add only a little Scotch bonnet pepper!
Restaurants in Ocho Rios
There’s a wide variety of restaurants in Ocho Rios, although it can be hard to find those that serve truly authentic Jamaican cuisine. Here are some of our favorite suggestions.
For laidback dining with your feet in the sand, Bamboo Blu is the perfect choice. A true hidden gem, there is no signpost at this beachside restaurant within Mammee Bay Estate on Mammee Bay. Just check with the security guard that you’ve come to the right place!
Once you reach the end of the track. you’ll find a charming blue and white building set on the 700 foot beach. Tuck into Caribbean and European dishes, washed down with a tropical cocktail. You can also do snorkeling or enjoy a banana boat ride for a small fee.
Miss T’s Kitchen
To experience real Jamaican cooking, head to Miss T’s Kitchen. Hidden away in a quiet backstreet of downtown Ocho Rios, it’s the brainchild of Anna-Kay Tomlinson, otherwise known as Miss T.
She’s passionate about Jamaican food and ever since the restaurant opened in 2009, it has been one of the top spots for fine Jamaican cuisine. In a beautiful courtyard setting, try a variety of sharing dishes such as curry goat, oxtail or lobster rundown.
Oceans on the Ridge
For a panoramic view over Ocho Rios bay, you can’t beat Oceans on the Ridge in Shaw Park. This casual Jamaican restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch or dinner, though you could just savour one of their frozen cocktails.
DJs or local bands often play there and the ambiance on the observation deck is very chilled. Check before you go whether the cruise ships are in port as it can get crowded at those times.
Where to Stay in Ocho Rios
One of the best Ocho Rios all inclusive resorts is Moon Palace® Jamaica. With the largest private beach in Ocho Rios, it has great sea views from most of its 705 guest rooms.
The bedrooms are very comfy and as its all inclusive, the mini bar is fully stocked. We particularly like the range of complimentary non-motorized water sports on offer, as well as the unique FlowRider wave simulator.
Children will love the kids club and there’s also a teen lounge as well as several swimming pools. It’s popular for weddings with its gazebo overlooking the ocean and ballroom for larger parties.
As for food options, you’ll be spoilt for choice with six bars and five restaurants as well as 24 hour room service. Sample Oriental cuisine at Momo, Italian at La Gondola, seafood at Pier 8 and sweet treats at La Boulangerie, open 24 hours a day.
Of the bars, the adults only Martini bar is our favorite – don’t miss the chocolate Martini! The swim up bar outside is great fun too, and there’s regular entertainment on the outdoor stage too. All in all, a great place to stay.
Getting to Ocho Rios
Most flights from abroad come in to Sangster International Airport (MBJ). From here, it’s about 1 hour and 30 minutes drive to Ocho Rios.
If you want to combine your Ocho Rios stay with time in Montego Bay, that’s quite easy. The distance between the two resorts is 1 hour and 30 minutes by car.
These are our favorite suggestions of things to do in Ocho Rios. You’ll find many of the activities in question featured here and lots more suggestions for what to see in Jamaica:
We hope that you have found these Ocho Rios tips helpful. Have you ever visited Jamaica and which activity would you like to try out of these?
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Published at Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:20:50 +0000