Ocho Rios Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
(Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Middlesex, Jamaica)
Ocho Rios is now officially a draw to those with money to spend and many of the tourist attractions here will require you to dig deep. There are also a number of beaches where you can simply lounge and top up the tan for free. The best known Ocho Rios beaches
are Turtle Beach and the Mallards.
Island Village is a sort of theme park right near the town centre and beaches, and has its own stretch of sand, along with several interesting side attractions. Ocho Rios also boasts good scuba diving, snorkelling and sport-fishing conditions, and very popular glass-bottom boat rides. Slightly out of town are the Dunn's River Falls and Dolphin Cove attractions, as well as a series of cool landscaped gardens (former plantations) and the Sandals Golf Course.
Address: Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, JM
Tel: +1 876 974 8356
The Island Village is a large self-contained entertainment park near the centre of Ocho Rios, being located at the junction of both DaCosta Drive and Main Street. Founded as recently as 2002 and designed with the supposed typical look of a traditional Jamaican coastal village, this attraction comes with a quiet beach, along with swanky craft shops, bars and restaurants. There is also a video-casino, a village green, an art gallery and an amphitheatre with regular open-air performances, as well as the extremely popular Reggae Xplosion Museum
. Island Village is most popular with cruise ship passengers and those who don't care to explore too far.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to midnight
Admission: free, charge for beach
A number of fun organised adventure tours are available in Ocho Rios, a better choice in fact than in an other part of the country. These tours generally include a pickup from your accommodation and offer guided horseback excursions around the beaches, rainforest, former sugar plantations or mountains. Other adventure attractions worth considering include mountain bike tours of the Blue Mountains, inner-tube rafting along the White River, aerial tours by helicopter, and wilderness trips into the mountains onboard all-terrain vehicles. More activities can be arranged from the respective tour operators on Main Street's Reynolds Pier or nearby. For horse riding, Windsor Road at St. Ann's Bay is the place to book up.
Open hours: daily - hours vary
Admission: charge, discounts available for children
Dunn's River Falls
Tel: +1 876 974 2857
Although very commercial, Dunn's River Falls is something of a must-see. Lying off Highway A3, just 3 km / 2 miles to the west of Ocho Rios, these dramatic waterfalls are well-known throughout Jamaica
for their cool pools and cascades. The falls go up a few hundred metres and visitors can climb right up them on a limestone staircase, whilst also enjoying a private beach onsite. To reach the top will take around 30 minutes, and swimwear is necessary. It is all a little touristy, however, with an eatery and snack bars, craft shops, live music, orchid gardens and obligatory tour buses, together with rather steep entrance fees. If you would like to miss the crowds, consider arriving before 10:00, or later on, after 15:00 or 16:00.
Open hours: Saturday to Tuesday - 08:30 to 16:00, Wednesday to Friday - 07:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discount for children
Address: Dolphin Cove, Highway A3, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, JM
Tel: +1 876 974 5335
Just slightly out of town and on the way to Discovery Bay is a major attraction of Ocho Rios, Dolphin Cove. Located near to Dunn's River Falls, visitors get the opportunity to swim and play with bottlenose dolphins in their lagoon, and there are a variety of packages. There is also a large aquarium at Dolphin Cove with tropical fish, stingrays and sharks, and you can get to feed the latter. Children will enjoy the 'Jungle Trail' through the mini-zoo and its exotic creatures. Prices for activities are generally quite steep, although very memorable and likely to be a highlight of any Caribbean holiday.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 17:30
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
Tel: +1 876 395 7023
Running from Ocho Rios to Galina Point, in an easterly direction, the coastline affords a wonderful concentration of marine life and coral reefs. Perfect for both snorkelling and also scuba diving, this scenic stretch features many underwater attractions, with the shallow reef at the 'Caverns' being known for its nurse sharks and shipwrecked 'Kathryn' boat (a former minesweeper), and Devil's Reef dropping to a depth of more than 60 metres / 197 feet. Excursions can be arranged at the Garfield Diving Station on Main Street.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free, charge for trips and equipment hire
Deep-Sea Fishing / Sport Fishing
For many, sport fishing is a major reason to visit Jamaica and Ocho Rios has much to offer keen anglers. Boats geared up for sport fishing can be chartered from the marina, with tailored fishing packages being available and led by experienced professionals. Boats come with cabins and refreshments, while in the water, you can expect to catch all manner of whoppers, such as kingfish, mahi mahi, marlin, yellowfin tuna and wahoo, amongst other fish. There is also the possibility of catching barracuda, sailfish and snappers.
Open hours: daily - hours vary according to demand
Admission: charge for deep-sea fishing trips
Sandals Golf and Country Club
Address: Bonham Spring Road, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, JM
Tel: +1 876 975 0119
The Sandals Golf and Country Club is to be found roughly 6 km / 4 miles to the south-east of downtown Ocho Rios, being reached by taking Highway A3. Certainly ranking amongst Jamaica's most scenic courses, the club boasts views of the surrounding mountains and sea, and comes with 18 holes, narrow fairways, a driving range, a pro shop and caddy services.
Guests staying at any of Jamaica's Sandals Resorts are able to play here, while a round can also be arranged by the Jamaica Executive Golf Services, complete with a pickup service. If you are feeling peckish after your golfing, then head to the plantation-style clubhouse and pay a visit to its popular restaurant.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 17:00
Admission: green fees applicable