Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Distant Guide Tropical Adventures in Ocho Rios

Hello, intrepid traveler! You’ve decided to go on quite the adventure, haven’t you? Jamaica is the perfect place to begin your world travels and Ocho Rios' soft sand beaches, swaying palms and cascading waterfalls create the perfect backdrop for any adventure. Get ready for a week of sun soaking and forest trekking in this rejuvenated resort town.


Quick Tips

See

From rare flawless gems, to gorgeous beaches, to azure waters, palm trees, magnificent waterfalls, impressive beach clubs and high art & culture - Ocho Rios has it all!

 

Do

Visit the Dunn’s River Falls, swim by the Blue Hole, have a scenic drive by Fern Gully, go on day trips to tropical rainforests or even go on a beach horse ride!


Eat

You’ll get to enjoy delicious Jamaican cuisine, international cuisines, and incredible seafood at Ocho Rios. 


Stay

There is a wide range of accommodation options at Ocho Rios - from luxury hotels to boutique hostels to waterfront Airbnbs. 

Plan

Flights & Transport

A few months before your trip is the best time to secure your flights, tours and accommodations. Take a look at our hotel and activity recommendations for each location and book now to ensure your trip is exactly what you want it to be! This way, you’ll save a lot of time and stress. Plus, you’ll avoid the disappointment of your favorite places and activities being sold out.

For this itinerary, allow 6 nights, 7 days.

 • ARRIVE: SANGSTER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BAY (MBJ) in the morning of DAY 1

 • DEPART: SANGSTER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (MBJ) in the morning of DAY 7 

Some tickets and reservations can be made 1-2 months in advance.

 • Transfer from Sangster International airport to Ocho Rios Hotel | Arrival - DAY 1

 • Transfer from Ocho Rios Hotel to airport - DAY 7

Accommodations

There are plenty lodging options available—hotels, B&Bs, hostels—just be sure to secure your accommodation in advance. Airbnb is great option if you are traveling as a group.

Insurance & Passport

A few months before your trip is the best time to secure your flights, tours and accommodations. Take a look at our hotel and activity recommendations for each location and book now to ensure your trip is exactly what you want it to be! This way, you’ll save a lot of time and stress. Plus, you’ll avoid the disappointment of your favorite places and activities being sold out.

Checklist

• Traveling light is always ideal. Roll your clothes to save space and avoid creases. If you want to take it to the next level, use vacuum compression bags to maximize space.

 • Choose your footwear wisely. Bring a pair of walking boots for hiking and trips out into the beautiful scenery. Pack sandals for the beach, and a pair of comfy sneakers or canvas shoes for walking around town. 

• Try to blend in as much as possible. Flashy outfits might make you stand out as a tourist and attract unwanted attention from vendors

. • Pack your shampoo, toothpaste and any other liquids in ziplock bags in case they spill in transit. However, these are items you can always acquire once you’re in Croatia.

 • Don’t forget your sunscreen, aftersun and sunglasses. The sun is quite intense in certain parts of the country, so take care of your skin.

 • You’re going to encounter some beautiful beaches, so make sure you pack your swimming gear

. • Remember your camera, charger, memory card and power adapter. Be well equipped to capture all of the beautiful sites when wandering the city

Tips

Adapters

It’s important to know the difference between a power adapter and power converter. An adapter is a basic tool that retrofits your US plug to ‘adapt’ to the outlet in the wall. This is what you’ll use to charge your phone and camera. A power converter actually transforms the current to match the voltage coming from the wall. Jamaica uses the same plug prongs as the US and the voltage is almost the same too. Bring a converter just in case. If you’re traveling from Europe, don’t forget your adapter!

Currency

Jamaican dollar. 

Landmarks

  • There are plenty of watersports to indulge in in Ocho Rios - from sailing to kayaking to diving. 

  • You have to attend at least one live performance at any of the clubs to fully experience Jamaican music. 

  • The Dunn’s River Fall is the most popular tourist attraction. 

Packing

  1. If you’re visiting Jamaica during the summer, then opt for very light clothes. The city tends to get very hot, and wearing anything but light clothes will be very uncomfortable. Take a light-weight dress or a beach cover-up along with swimsuits for those essential beach visits. 

  2. Get one backpack in case you’re going for a 

  3. Pack light, using packing cubes and always roll your clothes!

  4. A few dressy outfits if you intend on going clubbing. Clubs tends to have a very strict dress code. 

  5. Your insurance, passport, copies of tickets and copies of your insurance. 

  6. Be sure to have cash on hand—it’s not uncommon to find cash-only restaurants and shops, even in major cities.

Apps

• Splitwise | eliminates the headache of bill splitting & a must for group travel

 • Tripadvisor | a favorite resource for finding off-the-beaten-path restaurants and things to do. However, all reviews are subjective, so don’t obsess over scores

 • Whatsapp | free text messaging to other Whatsapp users

 • NobelApp | make cheap calls locally and back home


Transit Booking Sites

• skyscanner.com | easy to use website for finding low air fares • google.com/flights | helpful fare prediction technology 

http://www.jamaica-tour.com/ground-transportation.htm?

Tipping

Tipping is not obligatory, but it’s always highly appreciated to tip hotel workers and waiters for good service. 


Itinerary

Day 1 

Arrival

Welcome to Ocho Rios!

The sheltered neighborhood of Ocho Rios is home to swaying green palm trees, flora and fauna abound. Once you’ve exhausted the beaches and beachside activities, it’s time to head further afield on an adventure through the forest in search of cascading waterfalls and coffee plantations. After a long day out, head back into town and prepare yourself for an evening dining on freshly caught seafood and local creole cuisine. What are you waiting for?



Morning

GET SETTLED

Sangster International Airport is located just under 1 hour 30-minute drive west of Ocho Rios in the Montego Bay area. Airport shuttle buses depart regularly, and you can choose between a pre-booked private car or share a shuttle. Taxis are also available and can be found outside the airport arrivals lounge. Once in Ocho Rios, check into lodging to being your experience!


Afternoon

TO THE BEACH

After settling into your accommodations, your first stop is Islands Coffee, a quaint shop where you can get delicious sticky treats to take away. After refueling, it’s off to the beach. There are plenty of beaches within walking distance of Ocho Rios town, but to fight your jet lag you should head to James Bond Beach, which is just a 20-minute drive east of the town. The beach is located on a small peninsula at Oracabessa Bay and is famous for being the filming location for Dr. No. Today the area seems to honor James Bond with a themed restaurant and bar set just back off the


Evening

ABSORB THE ATMOSPHERE

After a great day at the beach catch a taxi back to Ocho Rios and head to your lodging to freshen up. This evening head down to Ocho Rios Jerk Centre to dine on authentic Jamaican jerk chicken, bbq ribs or homemade curry goat. The restaurant is a favorite with locals and sits just a short walk from Och


Day 2 

Morning and Afternoon

SEE THE SIGHTS 

This morning the adventures begin as you kick-start your day with a trip to Dunn’s River Falls, a popular local attraction with a fascinating history. Here you’ll find a famous waterfall considered to be a national treasure of Jamaica and the location for the legendary battle of Las Chorreras in 1657. If you look carefully, you’ll find a plaque at the bottom of the falls commemorating the event.


 As for the waterfall, it stands at around 180 feet high and features terraced ledges that look (and act) like giant steps. As such, many visit the waterfall to climb it which takes approximately one hour, plus a whole lot of energy. Wet shoes can be acquired to help you get a grip on the rocks, but going barefoot would work too! Those not interested in climbing the natural wonder can enjoy swimming in the pools or walking amidst


Evening

TASTE OF JAMAICA

After a busy day climbing waterfalls, you’re bound to be both tired and hungry. Head down to Mongoose Restaurant and order one of the delicious stews. You’ll find the option for either outdoor dining or indoor air-conditioned dining, while some evenings live bands take to the stage for a spot of light entertainment. Hello, reggae music! 

Day 3 

Morning

This morning it’s up and off to visit the Irie Blue Hole, a fantastic natural waterfall that cascades from a jagged rock face into a turquoises pool of inviting water. The earlier you set off here, the fewer tourists you’ll encounter, and you’ll also avoid the midday heat! The Blue Hole sits just a 25-minute drive south of Ocho Rios and is less crowded than the Dunn’s River Falls. Pack your swimsuit and spend the morning swinging from the ropes into the fresh pools


Afternoon

 This afternoon it’s all about culture and history with a trip to Noel Coward’s Firefly House. Coward, a profound English playwright, moved to Jamaica in the 1950’s and bought property atop a hill that boasted expansive views over the ocean. For a little more privacy Coward built ‘Firefly House’ just above his original property, and it became his hideout when he needed to write. Today the house has been preserved and turned into a museum so visitors can explore Coward’s beloved home and the birthplace of some of Coward’s wonderful plays. The property boasts excellent views of the Jamaican 


Evening

After your day of adventure, relax and enjoy a good meal in central Ocho Rios at Toscanini Restaurant, just a short walk from Reggae Beach. This Italian restaurant sits in a beautiful property surrounded by lush green gardens. You’ll notice seafood makes up a lot of the menu including linguine with fresh lobster, spaghetti with spicy garlic shrimp and seafood lasagne with a lobster bisque sauce. There’s also plenty of lamb, chicken and vegetable-based dishes for those after a little something else. 


Day 4 

Today is a great day to rise early and jump on a tour of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. The mountains are the largest range in Jamaica and cover most of the eastern third of the country. Here you’ll find winding hiking trails, locally run coffee plantations and Jamaica’s

Morning

ARRIVAL IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS 

To make the most of the Blue Mountains you’ve got to rise early and depart Ocho Rios around 6 am. The journey takes just over three hours by car, so it’s worth bringing breakfast to go. You’ll arrive around 9:30 am, and this gives you a good seven hours to explore before departing again around 4 pm and arriving back in Ocho Rios around 7:30 pm.

Afternoon

BLUE  MOUNTAIN COFFEE ESTATE

Having arrived in the Blue Mountains around 9:30 am this morning the first thing you’ll want to do is stretch those legs. There are multiple guided hiking routes through the surrounding forest each varying in elevation and difficulty. A fun and easy trail is the Gordon Town Trail which follows the Hope River downhill past swimming-holes and waterfalls. Make sure you bring your swimsuit! The trek can take three hours and is a great way to spend your morning.


 Come afternoon, it’s time for a spot of coffee tasting over at Alex Twyman’s Old Tavern Blue Mountain Coffee Estate. The mountains have been home to coffee plantations for many years, and the well known Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is actually cultivated here. Alex Twyman’s is one of the mountains smaller estates, but a visit is a must. You’ll be welcomed with a fresh mug of steaming coffee followed by a tour of the plantation and a sneak peek at the coffee making process. Don’t forget to purchase some of the beans to take home!


Evening

RETURN TO OCHO RIOS 

After an exhilarating day hiking amidst the beautiful flora and fauna of the Blue Mountains, it’s time for the long ride back to Ocho Rios. Your legs will be thankful for a rest so sit back, take a nap and head back to town. This evening you’ll be heading out to Scotchie’s, an authentic Caribbean and Jamaican restaurant where BBQ meats and Jerk Chicken make up the menu. 


Day 5 

Morning

REST & RELAXATION 

You had a busy day yesterday so enjoy this morning at a more relaxed pace. Head down to the beach and sunbathe on the sand or wander over to Caffe Da Vinci for a coffee. This little Italian cafe-come-restaurant- has outdoor seating set amidst the trees and sheltered from the sun by a gazebo. This afternoon you’ll be heading on another adventure to a neighboring village so make sure to pack a day bag before you leave 


Afternoon

NINE MILE 

This afternoon, jump in a taxi and take the hour long ride west to Nine Mile, a neighboring village that happens to be the birth and rest place of reggae legend Bob Marley. The village has become a mecca for music lovers around the world and many travels from far and wide to pay their respects. Make sure you take a guided tour around the Marley Museum to learn about his upbringing, career, and life in the village. Afterwards, head to Marley’s mausoleum to see the spot in which he was buried. The village is embedded with a Rastafarian religion and speaking to the locals, and listening to the street music, is a great way to connect with Bob

Evening

After exploring Nine Mile, and unearthing the inspiration behind Bob Marley’s music, it’s time to head back to Ocho Rios. This evening head to Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records restaurant for authentic Jamaican cuisine and a spot of live music. On most Friday nights, at 8:30 pm, the restaurant has a live band performing soul soaring reggae covers. The atmosphere here is super laid back and informal, so stay for the familial vibes and authentic dishes. Don’t forget, you’re here for the eclectic atmosphere and a taste of Jamaica! 


Day 6 

Morning

This morning head down to Mahogany Beach, a lively area and a popular hot spot with the locals. Come the weekend you’ll find many residents relaxing on the sands, enjoying family time with their soft reggae beats playing out of a speaker. After a chilled morning head over to the Turtle River Falls and Gardens, just a five-minute drive away, for a wander around this 15-acre tropical garden. Here you’ll find cascading waterfalls, endangers plants, exotic birds and, of course, turtles


Afternoon

This afternoon it’s time to jump out of your comfort zone and get your adrenaline on with a Chukka ATV Safari tour around the towns surrounding forests! On this tour, you’ll discover authentic Jamaica as you drive across scenic mountain terrain on a two-hour excursion. Enjoy exploring the untouched hills and plains of the island bonding with your tour group as you go. If you’ve never ridden an ATV before, fear not as the knowledgeable instructors will spend time showing you the ropes and ensuring you have both an exhilarating and safe trip. Head to the Chukka headquarters.


Evening

 This evening you’re heading out on a sunset cruise on the Caribbean Sea. You will be picked up from your lodgings at a set time and transferred down to the beach to board the catamaran. The evening will be spent dining on fresh Jamaican fare as the sun sets over the horizon. Make sure you bring an extra layer to pop on when the sun goes down, and the wind picks up! After an evening at sea, you’ll be returned to land and transferred back to your lodgings.

Day 7 

Morning

MAKE THE MOST OF THOSE PRECIOUS LAST MOMENTS

Choose to fly out of Ocho Rios in the evening so that you can savor your last day. Was there something you read about that didn’t have time to do or see? Get out there and do it! You may have just enough time to make one last memory or see one last attraction. But beware of traveling too far out of the city. Missing your flight home is not how you want to end your magical trip! Head down to Dolphin Cove, Jamaica’s most popular marina park, and check out the sharks and stingrays before you leave town.