There are loads of active and adventurous things to do in Ocho
Rios or Ochi, as the locals call it. Clients can sail on a
catamaran, fly through the jungle on a zip line, horseback ride in
the sea or swim with dolphins. However, for a tamer way to explore
this bustling Jamaican enclave away from the hustle and bustle of
tour buses and itineraries Ocho Rios offers duty-free shopping,
dining and sightseeing, easily reached by foot or a short cab
Hiking the Falls
Jamaica is known as the land of rivers; Ocho Rios
actually translates to “eight rivers.” Clients can check out the
island’s watery nature first hand at Dunn’s River Falls Park. The
best way to get there, whether clients have accommodations in the
city or arrived via cruise ship, is by taxi. Constantly reshaping
itself, the falls remain one of the country’s national treasures
and a visit is meant to be fun for the whole family.
Adventurous guests can climb the falls in a human chain on a
guided walk upriver. Guests gather at the guide center to be
escorted to the bottom of the falls, where they form a human chain
and slowly climb the rocky face of the river. A great team-building
exercise for family and groups, the whole climb takes about one
hour from bottom to top.
Those opting for a less adventurous route can check out the fun by
walking alongside the river to several viewing decks. Clients can
also sun themselves along the beach or explore the surrounding
foliage where they will see ferns, bamboo, ginger lilies, orchids
and a variety of palms. Before leaving, guests often shop the
crafts market or stop for ice cream and other treats.
Entrance to the park is $15 for adults and $12 for kids, and
facilities include changing rooms and lockers for storage of any
personal items visitors don’t want to get wet. In addition, aqua
shoes are available to rent if clients want some extra traction
climbing the falls. Tevas and tennis shoes also work, but advise
clients that they will get them soaking wet making the climb. Allow
about two hours or more to really enjoy the park.
There are five open-air craft markets in and around Ocho
Rios. Located on the main drag, the Ocho Rios Craft Market is the
perfect place to pick up inexpensive, handmade souvenirs. Small and
maneuverable, the market offers everything from high-quality straw
fans with hand-stitched designs and wood-carved turtles, to Jamaica
T-shirts, hats, flip-flops and coffee-bean necklaces for $1.
Vendors are sometimes aggressive in generating interest in their
wares, but a simple “no thank you” will do.
Other outdoor markets include Olde Market Craft Shoppes next to
the Seow Supermarket, Pineapple Craft Circle at Pineapple Place,
Coconut Grove Craft Market next to Coconut Grove Shopping Centre
and Fern Gully Craft Centre at Fern Gully.
For a posh shopping experience, visit the Island Village Shopping
Center on the main street, close to the cruise ship terminal and
the center of town. Here, clients will find duty-free shops and
several high-end art dealers and local crafts.
What’s for Dinner
The Island Village Shopping Centre is also next to (the
notorious) Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and a new Hard Rock Cafe.
Opened in 2002, Margaritaville in Ocho Rios is the chain’s third
addition the first in Montego Bay and the other in Negril. By day,
the restaurant is busy with tourists and cruise-ship passengers.
But after the sun goes down, Margartitaville attracts a rowdy
crowd, and clients should expect to pay a $10 cover most nights.
Many hotels have a specific “Margaritaville” night, offering free
transfers and entry, as well as drink specials and free shots at
The Hard Rock Cafe Ocho Rios is slated to open later this month,
but the retail store is already a popular spot for North American
For those who are more interested in traditional fare, the Ocho
Rios Jerk Centre, located on the road to Dunn’s River Falls Park,
is well-known among locals for its outstanding jerk chicken.
Scotchies is another tasty eatery, although the restaurant is much
farther out of town on the road from Montego Bay.
Dunn’s River Falls Park
Park Hours: 8:30 a.m-4 p.m.
Hard Rock Cafe