The town of Ocho Rios is often considered to be an Eden in Jamaica, a beautiful destination for beachside lounging and the relaxing lifestyle. Ocho Rios is located on the northeastern coastline of Jamaica and has evolved from a sleepy fishing village to a main tourist attraction. It’s become a popular place for boating, swimming, beach activities and sailing. It’s also home to a magnificent garden and a handful of historic sites.
During the 1940s, the area served as a major banana and sugar trading center, and then turned into a mining destination. The Reynolds Jamaica Mining Company originated here, and served as a major industry for the area until the 1980s. After a deepwater pier was built in Ocho Rios, the area grew rapidly and quickly put the small town of Ocho Rios on the map. Political upheaval in the 1980s led to the shutting down of the mining company, but shortly after that, tourism boomed. The port town offered much for nature enthusiasts, shoppers and those who were coming to Jamaica on cruise ships. Soon enough, Ocho Rios became a main port of call for cruisers and continues to be an attractive destination for tourists.
Ocho Rios means “eight rivers”, and was named so after some confusion when naming the area Las Chorreros which means “rapid rivers” or “river spouts”. The official name change for this region took place when the Spanish took on a battle with the British near the Dunn’s River Falls in the 17th century. Ocho Rios was once visited and occupied by many pilots, and has a very rich history and heritage.
Today, Ocho Rios is most famous for its magnificent landscapes, waterfalls, botanical gardens and amazing sites. It’s home to a few miles of beaches, and does cater to nature lovers and those who are interested in enjoying some natural sites and attractions around Jamaica. You can take a day trip through Dunn’s River Falls to see amazing sites, cascading rocks and beautiful waterfalls. Explore any of the botanical gardens to see some native plants and flowers firsthand. Walk through Fern Gully to see a forest of hardwood trees, the famous fern valley and enjoy a peaceful, tranquil escape.
Ocho Rios is an unpretentious but tourist-friendly destination for cruise ship passengers and anyone who wants to enjoy the best of Jamaica’s natural wonders and sites. Whether you’re staying in the area for a few days or just for a long weekend, you’ll find plenty of things to do and breathtaking sites to enjoy around this corner of the island.
Ocho Rios Weather and Best Time to Visit
Most of the days in Ocho Rios and Jamaica are warm and sunny, but the tropical climate does mean that rain may be in the forecast on any given day. Summertime can mean very hot and humid weather, especially at sea level. The average annual temperature in Ocho Rios ranges from the lower to mid-80s year round, with the coolest temperatures in January through March. July and August are typically the hottest months of the year, but temperatures don’t usually change more than about 10 degrees. If you do travel during the rainy season, you can expect very short rainshowers but these may interfere with your plans. Hurricane season in Jamaica runs from August through September.
Peak season in Ocho Rios and Jamaica runs from the months of December through early April, when people from colder climates flock to Jamaica to get away from the cool weather. If you are planning to travel to Ocho Rios during the high season, you’ll need to book your trip several months in advance. Christmas and Easter are also among the busiest weeks of the year.
Experience Ocho Rios
From the lush tropical rainforests to the old plantations, Ocho Rios is home to several unique destinations and sites and will truly take your breath away. Most visitors to Ocho Rios come here on a cruise ship or by bus from a neighboring destination on the island. This part of Jamaica is within easy reach of several other popular tourist destinations around the island, so you’ll be within a short car or bus ride from other attractions and natural wonders during your trip.
Ocho Rios is home to numerous natural attractions, with Dunns River and the Coyaba River Garden being among the most popular destinations. The garden and museum are the perfect place to enjoy a tranquil escape in paradise. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and relax in the Spanish courtyard on a sunny day. Another popular destination for nature lovers is the Cranbrook Flower Forest. Here you’ll find manicured lawns, murmuring streams, an assortment of beautiful orchids, and spice plants. If you’re traveling with the kids, don’t miss the chance to visit Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios. This is the place to play with and interact with dolphins and marine animals, and learn more about marine life around the Jamaican coast.
Working plantations in Ocho Rios still exist to this day. Make your way to the Prospect Estates or Brimmer Hall to see model agricultural areas that still produce the island’s exports of coconuts, citrus fruits and bananas. If you take a tour of these estates, you can learn how coconuts and banana plants are cultivated, and even get a lesson on how to carry a bunch of coconuts in a basket on your head.
Whether you’re spending just a few days in Ocho Rios or heading here for a weeklong vacation, you’ll find plenty of unique sites to explore and interesting things to do during your visit. Take your time to explore some of the most beautiful venues around this corner of the island, enjoy some local fare, and relax on the sands of Ocho Rios to make the most of your experience.
A popular Jamaica resort destination for all-inclusive vacations for two and family vacations, Ocho Rios welcomes you with white and gold sands, clear blue waters and sunny skies year round. Make your way to the waterfalls and lush rainforests for an incredible hiking adventure, or just settle in on the sands to soak up some sun.