Last Minute Vacations To Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios (Spanish for ‘eight rivers’) is located on the north coast of Jamaica. Once a small banana and fishing port, Ocho Rios’ sandy beaches are now home to many hotels and a landing point for cruise ships. Due to heavy rainfall, this area has lush forests. Although it is a main tourist destination due to its palm-lined white sand beaches, it is much quieter than Montego Bay and Negril. Ocho Rios is the perfect lazy beach location.
Getting There & Other Transportation
For the cheapest and quickest way to Ocho Rios, plan a flight into Montego Bay instead of Kingston. From the Montego Bay airport, it is a 2 hour drive to Ocho Rios. Most all-inclusive hotels pre-arrange your airport shuttle. If this is not arranged for you, Jamaica Tours has a desk in the airport and can make arrangements.
Taxis called by hotels are safe but expensive. Try to share the ride with a group of people. Have your hotel call the taxi for you as they are more familiar with the island and will deter drivers from raising the price.
Minibuses also travel around the island from transportation centers. To catch one, stand by the side of the road with your arms outstretched. Bus fare is very inexpensive (roughly $1 USD for up to 40 miles).
Hotels & Places to Stay
Below are some of the most popular hotels in and near Ocho Rios:
Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club
Located 16 km from Ocho Rios, this hotel is isolated many miles from any other hotel. It is a family friendly all-inclusive resort with 5 restaurants, 7 bars, 3 pools, nearby golf, tennis courts, spa and fitness center, watersports, and many more amenities.
Couples Ocho Rios
This couples only resort is a favorite for married couples and honeymooners. Shuttle boats transport visitors to Couples’s private island, a beautiful island with a fine sandy beach, a bar and a pool.
The Golden Eye hotel is the location in which Ian Fleming wrote all 13 original James Bond books. It is very luxurious, yet has an informal appeal to it. There are 5 villas to be rented out, one of which was Fleming’s main house in 1946 where he wrote the timeless Bond books.
Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort
Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort is located on 44 acres of tropical gardens and a private beach. A handful of the accommodations are in villas, each with their own small pool. This large resort has 11 restaurants, 12 pars and 7 outdoor pools.
Dining & Nightlife
As mentioned earlier, all the major hotels in Ocho Rios have gone all-inclusive. This means that restaurants outside of the resorts are not nearly as popular. That being said, here are a couple of local Caribbean restaurants that are worth the visit.
Almond Tree Restaurant
This restaurant has a unique ‘swinging bar’ where you can have a cocktail and actually swing in chairs. Top menu items are lobster and local plantation rice.
Located on the street level of the Fisherman’s Point Hotel, this restaurant prides itself on imaginative seafood dishes, as well as jerk chicken.
Due to the fact that this town is dominated by the cruise ship industry, Ocho Rios becomes a rather deserted at night. There are some bars and nightclubs to venture off to…but keep in mind it may only be you and the locals. Amnesia and Silks Disco are dance clubs, while Ocean’s 11 and Strawberry’s are two pub style bars.
Attractions & Things to Do
Only 8 km from Ocho Rios is Discovery Bay, which is believed to be the landing point of Christopher Columbus in 1494.
Dunn’s River Falls provides a beautiful experience if you want to splash around at the bottom of the waterfall, or even hike up to higher cascades of water.
Formed of coastal limestone, the Green Grotto Caves were once occupied by runaway slaves and pirates.
Other places to see include:
Brimmer Hall Estate
Coyaba Gardens and Museum
Currency, Culture and Language
The official language is English; however, many Jamaicans speak Patois (a mixture of French, Spanish, English and African dialects).
US dollars are accepted in Jamaica, but the Jamaican Dollar is the country’s currency.
The ratio of JMD to USD is roughly 65:1.