Ocho RiosCopyright: Andrew Coelho/Unsplash
Ocho RiosA major city in what is nicknamed as "the Garden Parish," Ocho Rios is sitting on the northern shore of Jamaica and thus is surrounded by a multitude of natural landmarks that many consider the most stunning on the entire island. The landscape here is enriched by numerous waterfalls, azure waters, lush tropical forests, to be explored by air, on horse, underwater, you name it — and once in downtown, let the famous Jamaican hospitality pamper you during your stay.
Ocho RiosOriginally called Las Chorreras in reference to the many waterfalls in the area, Ocho Rios has amazed its visitors for many centuries. The name was given by the Spanish who arrived here after Christopher Columbus set foot on the island in 1494. Jamaica was then a Spanish colony until the Battle of Chorreras in 1657, which ended with British victory. Throughout history, Ocho Rios was of minor importance to its colonizers and served mostly as a base for pirates. The area started to gain appreciation in the 20th century with the arrival of artists such as Noël Coward and Ian Fleming, who did not only buy an estate here but wrote all of his James Bond novels on the island. Today, Jamaica is packed with locations that have connections to the writer or the franchise. Many of them (such as Fleming's Goldeneye house in Oracabessa) are easy to explore from Ocho Rios. In the 60s, major developments began in the area with a focus on tourism, establishing good connections with other hubs such as Kingston and Montego Bay. Ocho Rios was transformed into what it is today: a lively city catering to all sorts of touristic needs, but with respect for all that natural beauty that continues to stun locals and visitors alike.
Cafés & BarsFrom lively bars with a backdrop of reggae music to cozy cafés that serve the island's famous Blue Mountain coffee, Ocho Rios has a lot to offer to visitors who only need a drink to unwind.
Do & See
Ocho Rios may be a less obvious choice when traveling to Jamaica, but it does not mean it has any less to offer: the island's northern shoreline is so rich in stunning natural landmarks that it will surely become a preferred choice for nature lovers as well as adventure seekers. The best experiences await you in undisturbed nature, but you will find plenty of entertainment even if you don't set foot out of the city.
Jamaica’s cuisine is just as exciting as the country itself: jerk dishes, where a meat of your choice is sprinkled with a unique combination of spices (also called jerk), are headliners on every restaurant’s menu — and are only the beginning. Seafood and oxtail are also a staple here, and thanks to the presence of many different cultures, so are Indian, Chinese, and Italian culinary experiences.
In Jamaica, everyone can find the souvenir that best matches their taste. Fans of reggae can browse from endless collections of vinyl while in good company of local artists; aspiring chefs can expand their repertoire with jerk seasoning; fashion buffs should look for leather sandals. Then there is Blue Mountain coffee, root tonic, the iconic Appleton rum, or simply some Bob Marley memorabilia — and the list goes on.