Don't Miss in Ocho Rios
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.