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On my most recent trip to Jamaica I visited St. Elizabeth, Negril, Ocho Rios, and Portland. As someone who is Jamaican I’ve been to Ocho Rios a hundred times. Still the beauty of this parish of Jamaica never gets old. Here are the best things to do in Ocho Rios and general tips on planning your Ocho Rios vacation.
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Ocho Rios Vacation Tips: Things to Do in Ocho Rios
Climb Konoko Falls
When most people think of things to do in Ocho Rios, Dunn’s River Falls is usually at the top of their list. While it’s the most well known waterfall in Ocho Rios it’s not the only one. Konoko Falls is gorgeous and actually just 20 minutes from Dunn’s River. It’s way less crowded, easier to climb, has an amazing viewpoint of Ocho Rios and costs less. With this tour, you can climb Konoko Falls and visit the botanical gardens.
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Bobsled at Mystic Mountain
Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time! If you’ve never seen or heard of the movie Kool Runnings you are missing out and need to fix that ASAP. For those that have this is your time to relive your dreams of being on the Jamaican bobsled team. Okay so while you clearly won’t be running down ice lanes and jumping into a bobsled in the heat of Jamaica it’s still a really great experience. If you’re in a single your bobsled whips around twists and turns at up to 20mph while if you’re in a double you’ll go up to 40mph. Don’t worry scaredy cats, you can control the speed of your bobsled to go as slow or fast as you’d like. Kids must be 46” to participate and one ride is included in your general admission.
Don’t leave your swimsuit because when you’re finish bobsledding you can go down the waterslide and splash into the infinity pool overlooking Ocho Rios. There is also the opportunity to go zip-lining and/or a guided nature walk. Visiting Mystic Mountain is one of my favorite things to do in Ocho Rios.
There are some beautiful coral reefs near the shores of Ocho Rios. You will still need to get there via a boat, but you’ll be at the reef in no time.We saw sting rays and an abundance of colorful fish. We booked our excursion through our hotel but Chukka Tours is a popular choice for tourists visiting the island.
Relax at Hidden Beauty
If you’re looking to relax in serenity away from crowds spending the morning or afternoon at Hidden Beauty is what you’ll want on your itinerary. It isn’t called Hidden Beauty for nothing as you’ll either get lost or think you’re lost on the way. You can find it on Google Maps but if you go to Blue Hole and instead of stopping there just continue driving straight you’ll run into it in about 15 minutes. Ask any local you see outside of their home or walking down the street and they’ll reassure you you’re headed in the right direction. It costs 500 JMD to enter and is cash only.
Drive Through Fern Gully
Fern Gully road was created in 1907 due to an earthquake that destroyed one of the rivers in Ocho Rios. It was turned into a road and now serves as tranquility to the many who visit to view the windy roads covered by fern species that have formed a “tunnel”. These tickets allow you to skip the line and tour Fern Gully.
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Spend the Day at Blue Hole
You can spend an entire day enjoying Blue Hole in Ocho Rios and you should. It’s more than a waterfall and that’s why even if you visit Konoko Falls and/or Dunn’s River Falls you don’t want to skip here. You can jump off the falls, swim in its natural pools, and swing into the water.
Go Rafting on the Martha Brae River
While the Martha Brae River is technically is Trelawny it’s a quick hour drive from Ocho Rios and worth it. Relax as your raft captain slowly rows you down the river. The water is typically clear blue unless there has been a lot of rain which causes mud from the mountains to enter the river and discolor it for a short time. Experience Jamaica’s top rafting destination on a 3-mile rafting adventure with these tickets.
Climb Dunn’s River Falls
When thinking of things to do in Ocho Rios Dunn’s River Falls is the first things that comes to peoples minds! Well it’s popular for a reason but here are some tips to make your experience better. It gets really crowded, especially on the days when cruise ships are in port so arrive as soon as they open. Be prepared for cold water and slippery rocks. You will 100% need water shoes if you plan on climbing the falls. For those with young children or otherwise don’t feel comfortable there is a staircase you can walk up so you can view the falls without being in the water. There is also a beach here with warm water you can relax in after you climb. These tickets allow you to climb the amazing 600-foot limestone rock formation of the Dunn’s River Falls
Eat at Scotchies
Even if you are staying at an all-inclusive in Ocho Rios it would be a crime to leave this parish without eating at Scotchies. They have the best jerk pork in Jamaica amongst over meats which are slow cooked on an open fire. While you should come here hungry, don’t come starving as you could potentially be in for a rude awakening at the length of the line. Don’t let that discourage you though, the wait is well worth it. Be sure to try some festival and/or bammy as your side!
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Ocho Rios Vacation Tips: How to Get to Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios is easily accessible from both Kingston and Montego Bay so I recommend booking whichever airport is the cheapest. American, Jetblue, and Spirit, Delta, Caribbean Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, Cayman Airways, Copa, and WestJet fly to Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. If you’re flying to Montego Bay your options are American Airlines, United, Caribbean Airlines, Delta, jetBlue, Southwest, Spirit Airlines, Air Canada, Copa, Condor, WestJet,Virgin Atlantic, and eurowings.
At the airport you can rent a car from Alamo, especially if you plan to explore the island on your own. From Kingston airport there is a highway that goes to Ocho Rios but it has tolls and its cash only so be sure to get Jamaican dollars prior to leaving the airport. The drive takes about 90 minutes. From Montego Bay the drive is about two hours.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving in Jamaica or your hotel doesn’t offer a shuttle you can book your own from both Montego Bay and Kingston.
Ocho Rios Vacation Tips: Where to Stay in Ocho Rios
The only place I stay in Ocho Rios is Moon Palace Jamaica. While it recently got the name Moon Palace when it was bought out in 2016 I stayed at the property multiple times when it was Jamaica Grande. It has never let me down and the one time I strayed away, booking a different hotel I had to check-out on arrival. Yes, it was that bad and I would avoid Jewel Runaway Bay if you’re looking for a more luxurious option. Moon Palace is a 4 star all-inclusive hotel with two beaches on property and an array of other amenities. You can read my full review here.
Ocho Rios is beautiful and it’s easy to see why so many tourists visit. Hopefully this article gave you some ideas of things to do in Ocho Rios you haven’t heard of before. If you’re spending an extended amount of time in Jamaica I hope you’re able to visit the nearby parish of St. Elizabeth where my family is from. Did you find this article helpful? Please share it!
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