Welcome to Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s most popular resort destinations, attracting countless visitors from all corners of the globe each year. With its beautiful beaches, world famous attractions and delicious local cuisine, it’s easy to see why Ocho Rios is considered the ultimate Caribbean destination.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to make the most of your visit. From insider tips on the best attractions to essential information to ensure your trip is a success, we’ve got you covered. Discover the top things to do in Ocho Rios and everything you need to know to have an unforgettable experience.
Where is Ocho Rios?
Ocho Rios is located on the north coast of Jamaica, in the Jamaican parish of St. Ann. You will find many of Jamaica’s popular attractions nearby, including Dunn’s River Falls, Blue Hole, and the White River. Ocho Rios is 90 minutes by car from Montego Bay and about and hour from Kingston.
Being located at the north of the island also means that Ocho Rios has some of the best beaches in Jamaica. You will not only experience the stunning turquoise waters that Jamaica is known for, but you can also find many white sand beaches and secluded coves to relax in.
When is the Best Time to Visit Ocho Rios?
When it comes to Ocho Rios, there really isn’t a bad time to visit. The weather is generally beautiful year-round, and there’s always something to see and do.
With that said, here are some tips on the best time to plan your visit based on different time periods:
- High Season (December to April) – This is the winter tourist season in Jamaica. You will find that the hotels are jam-packed and prices soar, as everyone is trying to escape the cold winter weather in North America and Europe. It’s still a good time to visit Ocho Rios, as the event calendar is jam-packed and you’ll always be entertained.
- Shoulder Season (May to June) – Prices drop and there are fewer crowds. This makes it a great time to explore the natural beauty of Ocho Rios. Go hiking, explore the rainforest, or simply relax on the beach without the hustle and bustle of peak season.
- Summer Season (July to August) – Ocho Rios cranks up to another level during the summer months. Take part in lively cultural festivals like Reggae Sumfest, or hit the waves for some epic surfing and watersports.
- Low Season (September to November) – While the weather is still gorgeous, the low season in Ocho Rios is the perfect time to experience authentic Jamaican culture. Sample delicious street food, join in on local celebrations like Independence Day, and explore off-the-beaten-path attractions without the crowds.
No matter when you visit, Ocho Rios is a vibrant and welcoming destination that’s sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.
The Craft Market: Ocho Rios has one of the largest and most diverse craft markets on the island. The location is a must see for persons vacationing in the town. It is a great spot for authentic Jamaican art work, sculptures, games, jewelry, clothing and much more.
The Fishing Village: The town is home to the Ocho Rios Fishing Village which is a local hotspot for seafood favorites. Not only does the spot feature show stopping restaurants like Lobster Dave, but it has live music on select days and is overall a perfect spot for unwinding after a long day of activities.
Nature Attractions: Ocho Rios is famous for being the location of the renowned Dunn’s River Falls, but the town has so much more to offer. Rafting on the White River, swimming in the Blue Hole, horseback riding through lush tropical forests and secret get away beaches are just some of the treasures that one can find off the beaten path.
Local Cafes: Ochi, as it’s affectionately called by locals, has a boardwalk close to the pier that has several cafes that are to die for. These locations make for a relaxing morning by the sea.
Central Location: Ocho Rios is in the North, in the central parish of St. Ann. This means it’s halfway between Kingston and Montego Bay, and also close to the parish of Portland. The town’s location thus makes it an ideal base for persons who want to explore the island. In addition to being central to other great tourist spots, there is a daily boat cruise to the famous Rick’s Café in Negril.
Crowds on ship days: Dozens of cruise ships call at the Ocho Rios port during the high season. While many are small, most are large ships with hundreds of people on board and their descent can leave the town crammed. Ship days can therefore be a little hard to navigate in the first few hours after a ship docks. Most people, however, tend to visit attractions outside of the town and things get back to normal quickly.
Harassment: Street vendors are very common in Ocho Rios, especially on days when ships are in port. You might find yourself having to turn down several vendors offering wares for sale. While this can be intimidating for some, once you firmly indicate that you are not interested, you should be left alone.
Costly: Ocho Rios is not a cheap destination. The town runs on tourism and most of the offerings are directed at tourists. This means that a lot of prices are listed in US dollars and things can get a bit pricey at some locations.