The port of Ocho Rios is right outside of the main town area and is within easy walking distance to town.
The port has two piers for cruise ships. The Turtle Bay Pier is located next to the town's restaurants and shops, and the James Bond Pier is located farther west, a 15 minute walk. There are no facilities at the James Bond pier.
Also within walking distance from the Ocho Rios pier are Island Village, Taj Mahal Duty-Free Shopping Center, and the Ocean Village Shopping Center. There is also a small beach close to the cruise terminal.
The city is a little rough around the edges, be vigilant!
The multimillion-dollar renovation of the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal was completed recently.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
The port town of Ocho Rios used to survive on the strength of fishing and banana boats, but now it is the daily arrival of cruise ships full of tourists that keep the coffers full all along the northeast coast of Jamaica.
There is plenty to see and do in between bathing and sun-worshipping on the magnificent beaches, from climbing up waterfalls to horseback riding through sugar cane plantations, or taking afternoon tea at the former home of British playwright/songwriter, Noel Coward.
Don't be afraid to take Jamaican local buses. They are 10 times cheaper than tourist taxis. Don't let those (tourist) taxi drivers rip you off. Local taxis (called "route taxis") are an interesting way to get around and far cheaper than tourist taxis.
The surrounding countryside at Ocho Rios (sited in the ‘Garden Parish' of St. Ann) is lush and tropical, with fern-clad cliffs and breathtaking waterfalls, and a tour of the region to take in the scenery, like a drive through the famous three-mile vine-draped Fern Gully, is well worthwhile.
Taxis have set rates, but often try to charge more. Car rental not recommended.
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here.
Jamaica is known for its high crime rates, so be careful when carrying cash, purses or wallets, and leave any unnecessary valuables stowed in your in-cabin safe.
Just about two miles (3km) west from the center of Ocho Rios is the popular beach and waterfall attraction of Dunn's River. The waterfall cascades down 600ft (183m) forming cool pools among slippery rocks, and a favorite tourist pursuit is to climb to the top of the falls with a guide, enjoying being splashed by cold, clear mountain water en route. Closed toe water shoes with good grip are recommended when climbing the falls. There is a restaurant on the beach below. A taxi to Dunn's River is about $10.
Close to Dunn's River is Mystic Mountain Rainforest Adventure park.
Alongside the Dunn's river Falls in Ocho Rios is Dolphin Cove, where visitors can swim with a family of Bottle Nose dolphins. The natural cove is surrounded by four acres of lush tropical rain forest. The cove is also home to other marine species such as rays, eels and sharks as well as tropical birds, like the macaw. There is a gift shop selling souvenirs.
Jamaica's most prominent natural attraction are the caves on the island's north coast, between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, just a few kilometers from Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay. The huge labyrinthine limestone cave found here is 5,003ft (1,525m) long and characterised by stalactites, stalagmites, overhead ceiling pockets, numerous chambers, light holes, and in its depths a subterranean lake.
Blue Hole is an area of hidden gems such as crystal clear water, beautiful Blue Hole Lagoons, a stunning Waterfalls and breath taking cascade falls.
The downtown area of Ocho Rios seems to have been taken over by strip malls that houses any number of duty free stores, souvenir shops, restaurants and straw good vendors. The vendors can get annoying at times.
A fun mall that also serves as an entertainment center is Island Village, Jamaica's newest shopping and entertainment attraction. Located on the beach just minutes away from the Cruise Ship Pier in Ocho Rios, its picturesque open-air setting, boardwalk, natural spring lagoons and beautiful flowering trees provide a refreshing experience.
approx 70 Jamaican dollars (JMD) equals 1 US$
USD widely accepted, no need for exchange.
Many Jamaican ATMs accept international bank cards.
Most Jamaicans speak Jamaican Creole, also known locally as Patois. English is widely spoken.
You can find several internet and WiFi cafes in Ocho Rios; their rates are reasonable.
If in need of police, dial 119
Stores in Jamaica are typically open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday. Some stores closer to the cruise terminal may stay open later if a few ships are in town
New Year's Day - (1st January) or in case New Year falls on Sunday then the day after Year's Day.
National Labour Day - 23rd of May provided that if the 23rd day of May falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, Labour Day shall be kept on the Monday following.
Emancipation Day - August 1
Independence Day - August 6
National Heroes Day - third Monday in October
Christmas Day - December 25
Boxing Day - the day after Christmas Day or when Christmas Day falls on a Sunday then 26th and 27th of December
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