Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Justin
With the upbeat Caribbean feel and reggae beats of the famed Bob Marley, to the “one love” ideology the island has to inviting tourists and guests, an Ocho Rios vacation is something like no other. Ocho Rios is a busy stop for your Jamaica vacation, full of crystal clear beaches to discover, glistening waterfalls to climb, jerk huts to taste, and plazas and shops to pop into for shelter from the sun. Here, you’ll enjoy rum cream as smooth as the glistening waters that line the city, rainforests as diverse as its people, and beaches that will leave you begging for another day of vacation. The culture of the Jamaican people is made up of its distinctive music, food and spices, and the laid back attitude to just about everything. You won’t find a remote getaway in Ocho Rios, but rather a vacation destination to visit year after year. Let our Ocho Rios travel guide convince you your next all-inclusive vacation should be an Ocho Rios all inclusive.
Who should visit Ocho Rios?
Ocho Rios, or Ochi as it’s affectionately called by locals, is the perfect destination for the sun seeker looking to explore beyond Jamaica’s beautiful white-sand beaches, and explore all that the country has to offer. The central and northern parts of the country offer plenty in the way of excursions and day trips to immerse yourself in the country’s beautiful flora, culture, and history. You’ll find almost any type of watersport here, and the island’s location makes it an easy destination to get to: just a short flight from Toronto and eastern Canada. An exciting destination for couples, wedding groups, singles, groups, families, friends, and beyond, Ocho Rios is rich in the country’s history, and the beauty that attracts countless tourists each year. With the “no problem” attitude that Jamaica boasts, an Ocho Rios all inclusive vacation can be what you want it to be.
Ocho Rios attractions:
Ocho Rios is the perfect Jamaica destination for the traveller looking to get out and get active. With luxury shopping plazas to small road-side souvenir shops, Ocho Rios is the perfect package with beaches, luxury accommodations, and plenty of culture to get a feel for the area. For the adventurer or for the traveller looking to lay low, Ochi offers high fun, and high beauty.
Dunn’s River Falls: The most popular tourist attraction in the area – and arguably, all of Jamaica – is Dunn’s River Falls. This 600-foot waterfall allows you to climb it, and swim in the base pool to cool off. Known as one of Jamaica’s national treasures, Dunn’s River Falls is known throughout the Caribbean. The Falls are said to be the location of the famous Las Chorreras battle in 1657, and today the Falls spill out into the Ocho Rios bay, where they can be seen by passing catamaran cruises.
Mystic Mountain: Dream of being on the next Jamaican bobsled team with a trip to Mystic Mountain and the famous bobsled tour through the rainforest. Climb some 700-feet on the Sky Explorer Tour where you’ll see stunning views of Ocho Rios and the aquamarine waters of the bay below. From here, opt to zip through the rainforest on a Jamaican bobsled track, or take part in the 7 zip lines that run between the trees. A gallery of National Heroes and athletes at the start of the tour will inspire you to go faster and squeal the whole way down, and the gift shop at the end of the tour will have you feeling like a special treat or medal to celebrate your great run. Note: The Bobsled tour does allow you to control your speed with a handle – push forward for full speed ahead or be hesitant and pull back for the racer looking to enjoy and skip the thrills.
Konoko Falls and Park: A short drive from downtown Ochi, find Konoko Falls, a 200-metre waterfall overlooking the city. Climb to the top over limestone and mineral pools with the help of a guide, and learn the history of the area as you climb. Whether you climb the waterfall or walk the path alongside, you’ll want to reach the top, where a botanical garden of native flowers and plants greet you: your guide will pick leaves and ask you to smell them guessing which spices come from which tree, explaining how they all fit together to make Jamaica’s famous jerk chicken, and explaining the history of Jamaica’s Arawak people: the first people on the island. Don’t leave without a visit to the small zoo and bird cages where you can feed budgies and hold a snake and an iguana. *Athletic level: easy/moderate.
Dolphin Cove: Surrounded by Jamaica’s rainforest, the Dolphin Cove along the main route into Ocho Rios offers the chance to swim with dolphins in their natural environment, hold and feed Caribbean sharks, snorkeling with sting rays, and seeing land animals and lizards that roam the surrounding areas.
Taj Mahal: Get a taste of Jamaican shopping at the Taj Mahal Shopping Centre in downtown Ocho Rios, where over 20 duty free shops await for your rum, coffee, jewelry, tee shirt, and other needs can be fulfilled. Here, bartering is common, and you’ll find shops with free samples of Appleton Estate Rum Cream – every flavor you can imagine, from coffee cream to banana cream, original, and coconut. Drink up, get a bottle for home boxed up and taste Jamaica all year round. Stories of aggressive shopkeepers in Jamaica are few and far between now, and other than bartering, you won’t find a lot of pressure at beach-front markets or in larger shopping centres.
Weddings: Jamaica is a popular wedding and honeymoon destination. The Jamaican people are welcoming and friendly, and the lush, tropical backdrops at almost every resort make it the perfect destination to say “I do.” Resorts that offer on-site weddings include a wedding specialist in destination to ensure your day goes off with “no problem, mon.” A destination wedding in Jamaica means you can start your honeymoon the minute the papers are signed. For more information on destination weddings, talk with a travel agent about what is available for your special day.
Other activities available in Ocho Rios include ATV tours, river rafting on the River Bueno, horseback riding along the beach, or a highlights tour to hit the hot-spots all in one day. Excursions offered by the resorts also include watersports like snorkeling, scuba diving, glass bottom boat tours, water bikes, and more. For travelers looking to book their own excursions, or those looking to see more of the island should consider Jamaican Tours Ltd., a partner with the tripcentral.ca promotional partner prepaid from select gateways.
Where to stay in Ocho Rios
The best hotels in Ocho Rios Jamaica are located throughout the area, along the white sand beaches that line the northern shore of the country. Most Ocho Rios hotels are all-inclusive, meaning the drinks will flow, the food is aplenty, and your activities are all included. Resorts range from family-friendly to adults-only options, with something for everyone from the traveler looking to walk the beach, someone who wants to stick to the pool, and for the traveler looking for luxurious accommodation. To find the best resort matched to your preferences, budget, and travel dates, try trip matchmaker.
Some of the top tripcentral.ca recommendations for an all inclusive Ocho Rios vacation are:
Riu Ocho Rios, 4-star
Escape to this beachfront property for a vacation offering the best bang for your buck in the area: the hotel offers 856 rooms, and activities for any type of vacation – whether the kids are in tow or whether you’re escaping with friends, a group, or your sweetheart. Get involved in the culture of Jamaica through the music and dancing that goes on after the sun goes down, or select one of many watersports, pools, spa treatments, and more to pass your beautiful, sunshine-filled Ocho Rios vacation days.
Beaches Ocho Rios, 5-star
Perfect for any family vacation, the Beaches Ocho Rios is the complete package, featuring a spa, golf course, Pirates Island WaterPark and Xbox 360 lounge, and 223 rooms along the bright blue waters of Jamaica. All-inclusive here means 6 restaurants, 5 bars, a fitness centre, children and teen clubs, daily and nightly activities and entertainment, land and non-motorized watersports and the chance for family memories or quiet hours for mom and dad away from the kids.
Jewel Dunn’s River, 5-star
This adults-only property in Ocho Rios offers luxury on the beach. With elegant rooms ranging from simple guest rooms with a touch of luxury to large suites, a vacation here is relaxing and perfect for a friends getaway, or for couples celebrating a special occasion. Enjoy six bars, six restaurants, countless sports, non-motorized watersports, or truly relax at the on-site spa. Minutes away from Dunn’s River Falls, visitors to the Jewel Dunn’s River will experience all that is Jamaican hospitality here.
Couples Sans Souci, 4-star
For an adults-only, romantic escape, Couples Sans Souci is a lush, luxurious resort with a focus on the mountains that the resort is nestled into, and the beautiful views of the ocean blue from most points on the resort. The focus here is on rejuvenation: rekindle the love between you and your partner, and feel rested and relaxed after time in the spa that stretches out over much of the resort with cabanas on the cliff-side, or at one of three beaches (including one au naturel). Looking for more on the Couples resorts brand? We have 8 things you might not know about Couples Resorts.
Ocho Rios is most often visited as an all-inclusive Jamaica vacation, lasting 7 to 14 days. With plenty of options for excursions to see more of the country than just the resort properties, an all-inclusive vacation with these day trip add-ons is really the best bang for your buck when visiting Jamaica. Ocho Rios is also the country’s most popular cruise port, with cruises in destination several times per week during high season, making the excursions (like the famous Dunn’s River Falls) high traffic areas for tourists each week.
When should I visit Ocho Rios?
Visits to Ocho Rios are most commonly between 7 to 14 days. Temperatures hit highs of 33C in the summer months, with lows of a comfortable 26C, while the winter months when travel is most popular for visiting Jamaica see highs of 29C and lows of 23C. Expect to experience warmer temperatures when doing excursions in the rainforest, where it’s often muggier and warmer, while coastal activities can see cool breezes, depending on the season.
How to get to Ocho Rios
Canadians travelling to Ocho Rios will fly into the Montego Bay airport, the Sangster International Airport (MBJ), and see transit time of approximately 90 minutes to their resort, with provided shuttle service both when arriving and when departing included in most vacation packages. Direct flights are offered multiple times weekly from Toronto to MBJ year-round, while the west coast and east coasts offer direct flights several times weekly, depending on season and carrier.
Upon arrival at the airport, consider the Club MoBay VIP lounge which offers speedy service through security, customs, baggage, and access to a private lounge where the Red Stripe begins flowing and food is offered to weary travelers. With access to showers, a spa, and a comfortable area to wait for your shuttle service, the $80USD is well worth it for quick access and transportation through the airport stops. The Club MoBay VIP lounge can be purchased with the tripcentral.ca promotional partner prepaid card for only $35USD (one-way) from all gateways.
Getting around Ocho Rios
Travelling between the Montego Bay Sangster International airport, where you’ll land to begin your Ocho Rios vacation, and your resort on the northern coast of the island will be provided by a transfer van or bus from the airport to your resort lobby. Once you’ve settled into your new home away from home – the home of all right – there will be little need for further transportation. Travellers looking to explore more of the area and partake in excursions will have transportation offered by either the hotel or excursion company, which will see you picked up and dropped back off at your resort. For travellers looking to wander downtown Ocho Rios and enjoy some shops, boutiques, and some of the city’s culinary scene, a cab is recommended.
Renting a car in Jamaica is, of course, possible, but not necessary. Jamaicans drive on the opposite side of the road and drive right-hand drive.
Price range: Expect to pay between $500 and $2800 per person for an all-inclusive Ocho Rios vacation. Pricing does, of course, depend on the hotel and season you visit, with high-times like Christmas and March Break often seeing prices soar. Prices are also affected by departure city, with Halifax and Calgary (for example) seeing higher prices than Toronto due to flight time and airline possibilities.
Language: English, though the locals may speak Patois, the local dialect, which may sound like English slang
Currency: The Jamaican dollar, though the United States Dollar (USD) is widely accepted at all excursions and shops. The exchange rate is approximately 1 USD = 120 Jamaican dollars. Credit cards are also commonly used, with Scotiabank locations around the island for easy access to more cash, if required.
Electricity: 110V, the same as North America. No converter is required.