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Ocho Rios Travel Guide – Things to Do & Insider Tips

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Overview

Ocho Rios – From Fishing Village to Nature Adventure Paradise

“Ochi,” as affectionately called by its inhabitants, is a colorful and lively small town. It used to be a sleepy fishing village until the shipping companies discovered the place and its phenomenal nature. Since then, cruise ships have been docking regularly.

“Ochi” has adapted perfectly to this. You will find the first small outdoor shopping mall, and many more stores follow the more you go into town. You will definitely find something here from exquisite stores with famous brands, traditional handicrafts, or colorful souvenirs.

You won't find any historical buildings or museums here, and as soon as you leave the tourist part of the city, you will dive into the real-life of the inhabitants. Everything seems a bit more chaotic and disorganized, but on the other hand, it radiates a fascinating disorder. You don't visit Ocho Rios for the sake of the city, but for the huge variety of outdoor activities.

You'll also find the Dunn's River waterfalls here, which you can actually climb up. Mother Nature has truly created them in a staircase shape, and it's great fun to climb from the end to the beginning. By the way, it's one of the few waterfalls that end in the ocean.

Or soar over treetops on a chairlift and race through the jungle in a bobsled. Pure adrenaline! You can enjoy the city panorama from the infinity pool or the restaurant to relax. Did you know Jamaica has a bobsled team and is in the Winter Olympics?

And if you've ever wondered what it's like to swim in glowing water – here you actually have the opportunity! Please, how crazy is that? There are tiny microorganisms living in the water, and your movement makes them feel disturbed, and then they glow so fascinatingly.

And there are gorgeous beaches for sunbathing and also famous for water sports. If you still have enough energy in the evening, you can go dancing in one of the bars or clubs.

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Top Things to Do

There are so many attractions of various kinds, and you will want to enjoy each one to the fullest. Especially for the visit to the Glistening Waters in the Luminous Lagoon, you should definitely have more than one evening to choose from.

1 - Glistening Waters

Some things are as unreal as a unicorn. So is water that glows and glistens at night. But this, you can actually experience in Jamaica. This phenomenon is super rare in the world, and here you can even swim in it! Teeny tiny organisms make it possible. The microorganisms feel “disturbed” when you move in the water and light up in the most beautiful, unreal blue.

It's an experience that's hard to put into words. When you let the water run down your hand, it glistens like millions of tiny blue stars. Be sure to check the weather, because after rain or a full moon you will see very little to nothing!

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2 - Dunn's River Falls

The famous Dunn's River Falls are often referred to as a national treasure and have appeared in several movies. What makes them so unique? Well, you can climb them because nature has shaped the limestone cliffs into staircases.

You can always take a relaxing swim in one of the natural pools, and there are even natural water slides on the way up. Bet you'll go up more than once. Water shoes are necessary, and you can also get them on site. There is also a water park for kids, a lovely beach, a climbing park, lockers for valuables, cafés, and crafts from local artists.

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3 - Blue Hole

Another brilliant water attraction in Ocho Rios. There are various small pools, a large main pool, and a 6-meter waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. Perfect for jumping in or swinging in on a rope, splashing, swimming, and exploring caves. An excellent place to relax and get an adrenaline rush. You should have water shoes with you or rent them. There are also lockers for your valuables.

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Transport

How to get there

Ocho Rios makes it very easy for tourists. Domestic and international flights land at Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios. So you could also start your Jamaica trip from here. The most convenient way is still to land in Montego Bay.

Airport Transportation

Some accommodations offer airport transportation. Otherwise, you can take a cab outside the airport. Practical, reliable, and bookable in advance is this airport transport:

Arrival by Bus
The Knutsford Express stops centrally in Ocho Rios. Depending on the location of your accommodation, you can walk there. But don't worry, there are always cabs waiting to take you to your accommodation.
Arrival by rental car

There is left-hand traffic in Jamaica, in Ocho Rios, the traffic is pleasant, and no one falls into hectic. Depending on where you are coming from, it may be a winding drive here. Should you have a rental car, always take an all-day attended parking spot and never leave anything in the car.

Transport in town

You can explore Ocho Rios on foot. You can even walk to an attraction or two. After dark, you should definitely take a route cab, route bus, or city cab – check the price in advance.

Where to Stay

There is a wide and fantastic selection of hotels, hostels, vacation rentals, and apartments in Ocho Rios. Some are located in the center and so close to the city beach. Others are located on the mountain, offering incredible panoramic views of Ochi.
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Where to Eat

There is a nice selection of restaurants here with all different cuisines. We really enjoyed the Jamaican cuisine here, and we also recommend you just drift and eat where you find the most locals; you won't regret it.

Restaurants we tried and liked
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Our Insider Tips

1 - Mystic Mountain
Games, fun, excitement, a fantastic view, and lots of nature perfectly describe Mystic Mountain. The chairlift takes you high above “Ochi.” You can blow off steam in a climbing park, go zip lining, watch beautiful hummingbirds and learn about Jamaica's rum history in the museum.

Have you seen the movie “Cool Runnings?” It's based on a true story, and you can experience the fun and action on the wooden bobsled track in the middle of the jungle. Enjoy a delicious cup of Blue Mountain coffee with panoramic views of Ocho Rios and swim in the infinity pool.

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2 - Konoko Falls

Walk through the beautiful tropical garden and enjoy the chirping of colorful birds. In the middle of nature, you will find Konoko Falls. You can swim in natural pools or climb up to the first cascade and stand under the waterfall. At the top, there is another natural pool and a bar. And the best part? You can climb up as many times as you like. Water shoes are a must.

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3 - Ocho Rios Beaches

Powdery glittering sandy beach and the Caribbean Sea in front of you, just let your soul dangle and get some sun in Ocho Rios effortlessly. In addition, fresh coconut or a tropical cocktail – pure relaxation. Ocho Rios offers many beaches, so you're spoiled for choice, but rest assured you can't go wrong with any of them – they're all fantastic.

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