Ocho Rios attracts tourists from around the world with its mix of natural wonders and cultural exhibits.
Ocho Rios is located in St. Ann Parish. It is believed that Christopher Columbus made his first steps on land at Ocho Rios. This major tourist destination was once a fishing village, but now it is a port of call for Caribbean cruise ships and cargo ships. The name may stem from a corrupted version of its original Spanish name “Las Chorreras,” or “the waterfalls,” which may have been given in reference to the village because of its proximity to the spectacular Dunn’s River Falls. The area was the location for several Hollywood films
1) Dunn’s River Falls
A national treasure, Dunn’s River Falls was the site of a battle between English and Spanish troops from Cuba in 1657. Due to the English victory in this battle, Charles Pryce, an Englishman, was the first owner of these lands. The beach and the falls were featured locations in the first James Bond film, “Dr. No.” The falls feature the unique dome-shaped cataracts associated with thermal springs in limestone caves.
The most popular way to enjoy the falls is to climb them and then swim in any of the many pools created by the falling waters.
2) Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica
A major attraction in Ocho Rios is the bobsled ride at Mystic Mountain. Visitors can ride customized bobsleds that travel on stainless steel rails on a gravity-driven trip through the rain forest. Situated high above the forest, tourists can enjoy viewing the tropical plants and animals below. The attraction offers a restaurant, and lookout tower, several shops, and a swimming venue complete with a waterslide.
3) White River
Perfect for those who enjoy tubing through pools and rapids on a scenic journey down river. The action at this attraction in the White River Valley features a 45-minute ride in an inner tube with a bottom and is suitable for visitors of all ages. There are many locations along the route that are perfect for swimming. There is also the chance to swing from a rope and land in deep water or having a favorite beverage at the bar. A visit to a shop filled with souvenirs and craft items is the perfect way to complete a visit to the White River.
4) Shaw Park Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls.
The botanical gardens are located on a hill comprising 25 tropical acres that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. A waterfall pours over rocks and through luxurious tropical plant life on its way down, showcasing tropical flowers every month of the year.
5) Green Grotto Caves
This large limestone formation is known by several other names – Runaway Bay Caves, Discovery Bay Caves, Harbor Caves, to name a few – but its main attraction is a the Green Grotto, which offers many rock formations and many stalactites, stalagmites, and ceiling pockets. It is over 3,000 feet long and 36 feet deep with many chambers and light holes. There is even an underground lake. The caves Ancient pottery shards have been found in the caves and indicate they were shelter for the Arawak (Tainos) people, the first Jamaicans. In World War II, the Jamaican government stored barrels of rum here. Between the two World Wars, smugglers running guns to Cuba made use of the caves.
6) Bob Marley Mausoleum
A destination popular with reggae fans, the Bob Marley Mausoleum is located in Nine Mile, the birthplace and burial location of the legendary musician. Nine Mile is a small village comprising small farms. Tourists can visit the two-room abode where Marley lived between the ages of six and 13. The exhibit includes various family memorabilia and photos. Marley’s gravesite is located here as well. Every year, on Marley’s birthday, concerts are held in Nine Mile, and reggae fans from around the world come to listen to the music and pay their respects.
7) Chukka Ocean Safari
This tour of Jamaica’s coastline covers a private beach and nature haven where visitors may catch a glimpse of the white Egret, which is indigenous to Jamaica. Other natural attractions include the place where rivers flow into the Caribbean Sea, natural reefs, and mangroves. The tour takes in the ruins of an old colonial plantation, a view of local fishermen on the job, and even the chance to do some snorkeling to view underwater marine plant and animal life.
8) Seville Heritage Park
At Seville Heritage Park, visitors can make a trip back in time to the beginnings of Jamaica’s history and culture. The park is located in St. Ann’s Bay and has artifacts on display representing the island’s Taino, Spanish, British and African heritage and the town of Maima, which was established by the first Jamaicans. When Christopher Columbus traveled here in 1494 to become the first European to see the island, it is said he called the spot “the most beautiful place I have ever set eyes on.”
9) Heritage Beach Horse Ride
Horseback riding enthusiasts can experience the history of Jamaica as they ride through the island’s countryside. Horses take visitors through shallow sea waters to Seville Great House and Heritage Park. The offered tours are suitable for all ages and for riders of all levels of expertise. Guides are available to inform riders about the history and culture of the Taino people, the first Jamaicans.
10) Ocho Rios Dolphin Encounter
At the Dolphin Encounter, visitors spend 30 minutes with a single dolphin after being briefed on dolphin “etiquette” by expert trainers. The visit begins with an introductory presentation about dolphins, and then visitors have the chance to swim and play with these beautiful and intelligent creatures. The site also includes exhibits of other animals, including birds and reptiles. Marine life such as stingrays, turtles, and eels may also be viewed from the trail while hiking near the seaside lagoon.