Ocho Rios Shore Excursion Reviews

Popular Ocho Rios Shore Excursions

Ocho Rios, a port town with less than 10,000 residents located on Jamaica's northern coast, is one of the island's hot spots for cruise tourism. Here, cruisers can choose any number of island-centric excursions. There are, of course, lots of gorgeous soft-sand beaches, though if you want a spot of your own to enjoy, you might want to book a beach shore excursion though the cruise line. Cruise visitors will also want to check out some of Ocho Rios' stunning waterfalls like Dunn's River Falls. Shopping is a popular sport in Ocho Rios, where duty-free deals are aplenty and interesting souvenirs can be found at the craft market (haggling is expected). Don't forget to pick up some of Jamaica's famous coffee.

Ocho Rios is hot and steamy most of the year and it rains frequently year-round, but especially during the late summer and fall months -- the latter end of hurricane season. English is the official language in Jamaica, but it is usually spoken with a very thick accent and lots of colloquialisms that can be a bit difficult to follow. Jamaica uses its own dollar, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted as well.

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Dunn's River Falls: The top attraction in Ocho Rios is the mighty Dunn's River Falls, where you can climb from the beach up the flowing, 600-foot waterfalls. Locals say that this is where "heaven spills into the sea," and on a first visit to Ocho Rios, giving the falls a climb is something that shouldn't be missed. If you're going to climb the falls, it's a good idea to bring water shoes or rent shoes onsite to keep from slipping on the tricky limestone rocks. 

Mystic Mountain: This is a rainforest adventure park that's great for kids and adults alike and is home to some unique outdoor activities. The adventure begins with a ride on the Sky Explorer, a chairlift that soars 700 feet over the lush landscape below. Once at the top, travelers can opt to try the park's signature bobsled ride, the zipline canopy tour or a twisty slide that ends up in the mountaintop swimming pool. Have lunch and take in the view from lookout tower before making your way back down the mountain on the chairlift. 

Nine Mile: Reggae roots run deep in Jamaica, its birthplace. Music-lovers shouldn't pass up the opportunity to tour the town of Nine Mile, the birthplace of Bob Marley. Situated in the mountains of St. Ann Parish, Nine Mile takes about 75 minutes to reach from Ocho Rios; tours can be purchased that include transportation. You'll visit Marley's family home and mausoleum. 

Fern Gully: Take a drive through the lush rainforest of Fern Gully. This dense and often dark jungle of tropical foliage is set inland, where the winding road used to be a flowing river. It is said there are more than 200 different species of ferns in the area. The drive is about 3 miles long and a tour of Fern Gully is often included in excursions that highlight the best of Ocho Rios. 

Shaw Park Gardens: For nature-lovers, a self-guided botanical garden tour is ideal. Shaw Park Gardens features 25 acres of tropical plants, flowers and trees, situated on a hill overlooking the Caribbean. Coyaba River Garden features a water garden with streams and waterfalls running throughout the grounds, as well as cultural attractions. And, Turtle River Park, a free public park close to port, is a good option for those trying to keep time spent ashore to a minimum. 

Harmony Hall: Located about 10 miles outside Ocho Rios, it is a restored great house where arts, crafts and collectibles are now sold. You might also stumble onto a gallery showing of a local artist. 

Prospect Plantation is one of the island's oldest 18th-century estates. Tour the lush grounds in an open-air jitney while experiencing gorgeous views over the White River; explore the property's agricultural crops, including cassava, bananas, sugarcane and coffee; feed the ostriches; view native Jamaican butterflies in the aviary; or saddle up for a leisurely horseback ride. 

Golf: Nonguests are welcome to play golf at Breezes' golf club in Runaway Bay and Sandals Golf & Country Club. Both are PGA-quality championship courses and are some of the most interesting in the Caribbean, with fairways and greens laid out amid the rolling hills and picturesque backdrop.

Beaches

Best Beach for a Half-Day Visit: Mahogany Beach, 10 minutes east of port, is a great place for a beach day. Parasailing, kayaking, water skiing and diving are just a few of the water sports offerings available, and with nearby shopping, beachside massages and a bar and grill, you're all set until your ship is ready to sail again.

Best Beach for the Dedicated Beach Bum: James Bond Beach, 20 to 30 minutes to the east in Oracabessa, occasionally features live reggae performances and has a couple of quiet coves in which to hide.

Best Beach for Active Types: Turtle Beach and the beach at Island Village are closest to port and will undoubtedly have the most people. But, action abounds there, with a host of water sports activities and places to eat and drink just a stone's throw away.