Ocho Rios Museums and Art Galleries
(Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Middlesex, Jamaica)
Ocho Rios has a decent spread of galleries and museums considering its size, although there is no comparison with Kingston
. You can learn all about Jamaican heritage at the Coyaba Museum, which resides within the grounds of the Coyaba Gardens. This is perhaps the most impressive museum in Ocho Rios and also comes with its own art gallery.
is the home of reggae and what better place to learn about it than at the Reggae Xplosion at the Island Village. The Reggae Xplosion details various drumming styles and also has an exhibit on Bob Marley himself. Harmony Hall also contains another popular art gallery and is slightly out of town, while you can learn all about pottery at the Wassi Art factory.
Address: Tower Isle, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, JM
Tel: +1 876 975 4222
Harmony Hall is a classic Jamaican building on the outskirts of the town, lying roughly 6 km / 4 miles to the east and just off Highway A3. Home to an interesting exhibition space (comprising both the Front Gallery and the Back Gallery) where the works of more than 100 artists are displayed, the house is of the Victorian persuasion and was the headquarters of the sugar plantation here in the 1800s. The hall has been well restored and covers Jamaican artists well, in painting, sculpture, and arts and crafts. Sharon McConnell's starfish oils are particularly notable. There is also a gift shop here that includes jewellery boxes and 'Reggae to Wear' sportswear. Those arriving at lunchtime may like to check out the fine Italian dining at Harmony Hall's renowned 'Toscanini' restaurant.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 to 17:30
Address: Shaw Park Road, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, JM
Tel: +1 876 974 6235
The Coyaba Museum is a part of the huge Coyaba River Gardens
, and traces Jamaican heritage through art and artefacts. This attraction is situated just south of the town centre, amid these beautiful gardens, and is a typical low-level building complete with verandahs. There are artefacts and paintings created by the early Arawaks and Spanish, along with a gift shop, a vegetarian restaurant and a small waterfall, with guided tours being included in the price and lasting for around 30 minutes. The gardens themselves make for good touring, while close by are the Shaw Park Gardens, and around 2 km / 1.5 miles to the east is St. John's Church.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discount available for children under 12
Reggae Xplosion Museum
Address: Island Village, Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, JM
Tel: +1 876 675 8895
Located within the popular Island Village
attraction, the Reggae Xplosion Museum takes a look at Jamaican music, including the drumming aspect, which has African roots. This highly interactive museum enjoys a central setting and has various sections, including reggae, ska and mento, as well as modern Jamaican dance music. There is also, of course, a section devoted to Bob Marley, with photographs, posters and videos galore. Many of the exhibits come with headphones, so that you can listen to the different music genres, and there is even a working recording studio.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 17:00, Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00
Address: Bougainvillea Drive, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, JM
Tel: +1 876 974 5044
Essentially a potter's factory, Wassi Art churns out more pottery than any other place in Jamaica. Located just north of downtown Ocho Rios and within the Great Pond district, the factory quarries and throws the Blue Mountain clay by hand, via the efforts of dozens of local artisans, creating some beautifully decorated pottery pieces. Visitors can tour the factory for free - an interactive tour that allows you to actually throw your own pot. There is also a cafe and shop onsite, and the owners are happy to ship your purchases if required.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: free, guided tours are available