Ocho Rios Vacations

Ocho Rios is a former fishing village on a wide bay that was developed for tourism in the mid-1980s. The frequent docking of cruise ships (sometimes three in a day) at the central pier that commands the town’s focus gives Ocho Rios a slightly ‘packaged’ feel. The town has a relaxed vibe when there's no ship in dock.  Tourism has endowed the town with a great eating scene, lively nightlife, and a plethora of guiding companies offering everything from scuba diving to zip-line tours. Throw in some of Jamaica's best waterfalls on its doorstep, and Ocho Rios makes an excellent base for exploring the north coast.  Ocho Rios Vacations is a great way to enjoy a great beach destination with so much more to offer.  And for other great Jamaica beach destinations, visit our Jamaica Travel Guide.

Ocho Rios Weather (When to Visit)

July is the hottest month in Ocho Rios with an average temperature of 83°F and the coldest is January at 76°F with the most daily sunshine hours at 11 in July. The wettest month is October with an average of 130 mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in July when the average sea temperature is 84°F.  The best time to visit Ocho Rios is November to mid-December. That's when Ocho Rios' already beautiful weather (ranging from mid-70s to the high 80s all year-round) is the most pleasant and the hotel and flight deals are the easiest to find. Rates are also cheap during the summer, but you'll risk the wrath of hurricane season. January to March is the peak travel season to the island — room rates can spike to more than $700 per night at some hotels.  

Best Ocho Rios Beaches

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Check out the hot spot for local fisherman. You can taste fresh seafood and meet the locals! Fisherman’s Beach is a quiet spot with beautiful turquoise waters, silver-white sand beaches, and incredible views. There are plenty of local spots to taste Jamaican food and rum.

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The Bamboo Beach Club is a private, secure beach, a few miles outside of Ocho Rios.  It's an overall beautiful beach but the sand isn't as white and silky smooth as I've come to expect from Jamaican beaches. It has a somewhat gritty feel but still soft and feels good on your feet.

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Puerto Seco Beach is a fan favorite! There are plenty of cabanas for rent where you can order plenty of local food and drinks. If you’re in the mood for adventure, there are plenty of water sports and obstacle courses for people of all ages to enjoy!

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Just minutes away from Reggae Beach. Sugar Pot Beach is sheltered between cliffs for a quieter atmosphere. You can also walk to a historic Ocho Rios battle site for a unique opportunity to understand some local Jamaican history.

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A scenic shore with a gorgeous view of the Saint Mary Mountains. You’ll also catch a view of the former winter home of Ian Fleming. James Bond Beach was also a film location for Dr. No. This gorgeous beach is just 10 minutes away from your luxury stay at Villa Serenity.

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The biggest beach in Ocho Rios. Turtle Beach offers a range of water sports, restaurants, and bars. Located near the Ocean Village Shopping Center. Come for the day to enjoy the coastline, and then grab a bite at one of the many local restaurants in the area.

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Best Ocho Rios Tours & Activities by Viator

Viator.com – Tours, sightseeing tours, activities & things to do

Combine stops at two of Jamaica's top natural attractions—Dunn's River Falls and the Blue Hole—in a single tour from Ocho Rios. With all transportation provided, this multi-stop tour is easy; all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery. With a guide supervising and ensuring your safety, you'll participate in activities such as a Tarzan rope swing, cliff jumping, and hiking up the terraced falls for great views of the surrounding area. Learn more about the Dunn's River Falls & Blue Hole Combo Tour.

Heritage Beach Horse Ride

Explore Jamaica's coast on horseback during this 2.5-hour adventure from Ocho Rios. Follow your expert guide through the Jamaican countryside on the back of a friendly horse, then arrive at the beach to relax and head into the shallows. No experience necessary; this tour is suitable for riders of all levels. Round-trip transportation from Ocho Rios and Runaway Bay hotels is included. Learn more about the Heritage Beach Horse Ride.

Chukka's Ocho Rios ATV Safari

Immerse yourself in Jamaican culture and the beauty of Ocho Rios aboard your own 4WD all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Escort your guide over forested hillsides and along jungly off-road trails en route to Richmond and Llandovery, two former 17th century sugar plantations. Take some time to explore their grounds and learn their history before continuing onto a private natural pool for a refreshing swim. Feeling adventurous? Take a free-flying leap 30 feet down into cool Caribbean waters. Learn more about Chukka's Ocho Rios ATV Safari.

Jamaica River Tubing Adventure on the Rio Bueno

Go river tubing down Jamaica's Rio Bueno on this 3.5-hour, adrenaline-filled excursion. Follow your expert adventure guide down the rapids on an inner tube, then relax on the beach or take a dip at Bengal Bay. Admire Jamaica's jungle landscape and keep an eye out for local wildlife. A life jacket, helmet, and round-trip transportation to your hotel is included. Learn more about the Jamaica River Tubing Adventure.

Dunn's River Catamaran Cruise From Ocho Rios

Board a catamaran and cruise the Dunn’s River on a lively voyage to one of Jamaica’s most popular and colossal waterfalls. Once there, join hands to ascend the 600-foot falls, snap photos, or hang back and take in the scene. Back on the boat, enjoy a live deejay, snacks, and open bar as you sail Jamaica’s north coast. Learn more about the Dunn's River Catamaran Cruise.

Best Ocho Rios Restaurants

Sharkies Seafood Restaurant  $11 – 30

Sharkies is an exquisite seafood restaurant that is located on the beach of Salem, Runaway Bay. We offer tantalizing entrees and platters such as fish, conch, shrimp, lobster among others done in a variety of ways.  Telephone:  876-973-5472  Web:   Sharkies Seafood Restaurant

Almond Tree  $11 – 30

The Almond Tree gets consistently positive reviews from diners. Not only for its great food, but also its fun atmosphere – its bar has swinging rope chairs and tree growing through the roof. You can eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner here while enjoying fantastic views, especially if you sit on the upper desk. It serves a mixture of Continental and Jamaican cuisine with great seafood on offer.  Telephone:  44 7788 134355  Web:   Almond Tree

Evita’s Italian Restaurant  $11 – 30

Evita’s is a wonderful mixed menu of northern Italian cuisine and special dishes that fuse Italian and Jamaican flavors. The atmosphere is casual with the restaurant set in an 1860’s Jamaican gingerbread house. Diners can eat indoors or al fresco. Reviews of this eatery speak for themselves. Diners are given a friendly welcome, good service, high quality food, and breathtaking views.  Telephone:  876-974-2333  Web:  Evita's Italian Restaurant.

Mystic Dining Restaurant & Bar  $11 – 30

Sitting high above Ocho Rios the views from this restaurant are spectacular. And if that isn’t enough head to the top of the restaurant’s Lookout Tower for panoramic views of the town and bay. In the evenings the atmosphere is fine dining on a fusion of Caribbean and Jamaican cuisine. Lunchtime dining is a more casual affair if you want a more relaxed experience.  Telephone:  876 285-9786  Web:  Mystic Dining Restaurant & Bar.

Ocean's 11 Watering Hole $11 – 30

Ocean’s 11 is a laid-back restaurant and bar close to the cruise ship pier in Ocho Rios. Their menu is a mixture of authentic, traditional Jamaican cuisine, and seafood dishes. Every meal is cooked to order and prepared with the best local herbs and spices, staying true to the rich flavor that Jamaican food is known to have. On Tuesday nights, Ocean’s 11 comes alive with its karaoke night.  Telephone:  876-974-6896  Web:  Ocean's 11

Best Nightlife in Ocho Rios

Little Pub

Little Pub is a favorite with tourists, and offers hotel accommodation as well as night-time entertainment. A live band plays six nights a week; regular karaoke sessions and cabaret nights are also offered. There is a dress code for entry to Little Pub; sports events are shown on the club's TV screens.  Telephone:  876-795-1831  Web:  Little Pub.

Amnesia

A classic Jamaican dancehall, this remains the happening scene. Theme nights include an oldies jam on Sunday, ladies’ night on Thursday (free entrance for women) and an after-work party on Friday. This is all leading up to Saturday’s dress-to-impress all-night dance marathon.  Telephone:  876-974-2633  Web:  Amnesia.

John Crow's Tavern

The big TV above the bar screens the latest football games and the outdoor terrace is perfect for a beer, a burger and a spot of people-watching on the main street. The beer is cold and there's a wide selection of rum.  Telephone:  876-974-5895  Web:  John Crow's Tavern.

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritavilla

This corporate franchise has turned getting drunk into big business. The music is loud and the signature margaritas don’t come cheap, but many tourists find the orchestrated good-time vibe to be irresistible, and it's popular with middle-class Jamaica visitors too. Admission is charged for special events, such as their Wet’n’Wild Pool Party.  Telephone:  876-675-8800  Web:  Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

Live Music Venues

Many of the hotel bars in Ocho Rios offer regular live music — cabaret shows and limbo dancing are popular events. Nightclubs specializing in live music include Glenn's Jazz Club (+1 876-975-4360), which features live jazz. White River Reggae Park (+1 876-929-4089) books outdoor reggae sound systems, and the Village Green (+1 876-974-8353) books live music on weeknights.

Best Ocho Rios Hotels

30 Comments

  1. Philip

    Hi LeahRae,

    WOW! What a brilliant and heavily research article. Saving me a ton of time looking elsewhere when I don’t really have the time. Ocho Rios Vacation sounds like the ticket for me after the new year. Need to head off somewhere warm and chilled.

    Will show this to my partner and see if that appeals to her as well.

    Great site and thank you kindly LeaRae for your amazing website and all your work.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks so much Philip and glad you enjoyed! Please come back when you are ready to start planning 🙂

      Reply
  2. Jenny Hennig

    Ocho Rios looks stunning, all the pictures really make me want to visit, especially now because where I live it is cold and snowy.  The Dunn’s River Falls would be a must for me, so beautiful, as well as the Blue Hole.  The Dolphin Cove sounds really fun too.  Taking the bus I imagine would be the cheapest mode of transport?  I like how you go into great detail and list restaurants and their price points.  The Almond Tree sounds like a fun place, with swinging rope chairs.  Thanks for sharing your information, I might be planning a vacation soon.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Jenny and thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  3. Sondra M

    Hi, I was just over at your page about Negril, Jamaica a few minutes ago.   The picture of the people riding horses on the beach caught my attention here.   Are there a possibility to ride horses at Negril?     I really do like your website.   You have provide the information I need to plan my trip.  Thank you! 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you can ride horses in Negril as well.  And out of all the locations in Jamaica, I think Negril is my favorite.  Riding horses on the beach is so fun!  Thanks for stopping by Ocho Rios Vacations.

      Reply
  4. Paul

    Hi there, I love to travel to beach destinations and as soon as I saw the photo I fell in love. The place has so many things to do and see, both during the day and the nightlife sounds great. I am also a great lover of seafood and i can see that it abounds. You’ve really covered all I need to know here. 

    Excellent job

    Paul

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Paul and thank you!

      Reply
  5. Clement

    Thank you very much for this wonderful post, I find this really helpful.i have heard more than a couple times than ocho rios is such an amazing place and I hope to travel there someday.i am so displeased that the best time to swim is July, is no where near my vacation.but your reviews about the available hotels are amazing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Clement, actually the best time to go though is December 🙂  Maybe that fits better with your vacation time?  Let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
  6. Liz

    Oh! This just looks so inviting! I would love to go in July sometime, but I must say the threat of hurricanes would worry me-especially theses days where hurricanes seem to be picking up in intensity and ferocity. But, July is the middle of winter for us here in Melbourne Australia and the perfect time to go somewhere warm. I must admit I never thought Jamaica would cross my mind to go for a holiday, but your post as made me realise I should consider it! Thanks for the info. Very useful.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is a great place Liz, and I live in a Hurricane area.  I just know if we have one headed our way, then I head to a different area until it blows over.  You can always check with weather forecasts ahead of time.  They are pretty accurate on hurricane paths and if one is headed the direction you will be staying.  I hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
  7. Nuttanee

    Ocho Rios’s weather sounds just like Thailands weather. We call 76F winter lol Can you really do horse back riding in the water? I have seen on the shore but bot the water!  Dunn’s river falls and park and blue hole are breathtaking I definitely want to visit. Do they get crowded? When is the best to visit without having to deal with many people?I definitely want to stay at Hermosa Cove, so beautiful. Thank you for this amazing list!

    Happy holidays

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome and 60 is cold for me LOL..  Yes, you can ride horses in the water, it is a lot of fun!  The falls can get crowded, depending on when you go.  They have great weather year round, so any time is great, except hurricane season.  I think you are going to find mid April to mid November to be the least crowded but you can also have the possibility of storms or a hurricane then.  Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  8. Jasmine

    This was a very informative article! I haven’t heard of Ochos Rios before and I’m amazed at how much tourist activities they have to offer. It sounds like an endless amount of fun.  I will definitely put this on my list of vacation destinations. I love how the best months to go are close to the end of the year. That makes it much more affordable versus going in the summer.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, and you can escape the cold as well 🙂  I love going somewhere warm when it is cold back home.  And yes, Ocho Rios is beautiful and you won’t get bored.  Thanks for visiting Ocho Rios Vacations.

      Reply
  9. Holly

    Wow, I just can’t believe how much of this world I haven’t seen and how beautiful it is. It’s overwhelming and inspiring all at once. I have not been to Jamaica, but I would love to go. My kids are small right now…I feel like this kind of trip would be easier in a few years when they’re either a) older and easier to take places, or b) can stay with family while we go as a couple. Your suggestions look wonderful, and I hope I can work out a trip there in the near future.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Holly you are right.  It probably will be easier if they are older or stay with family.  Ocho Rios Jamaica is a great place to go to as a couple.  What a great to get some R&R with your partner 🙂

      Reply
  10. rmjia

    Hi, Leahrae. Thank you for your informative site. Ocho Rios looks like a very beautiful place for honeymoon vacation. I will definitely bookmark this place for my next vacation plans. I am wondering if English is the common language there or if I need to be prepared with any other language dictionary? Love your site!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The official language in Jamaica is English, so you are good to go there.  And yes, great honeymoon spot, but also great for anyone that loves the sunshine, a good beach, the ocean and of course all there is to do in Ocho Rios.

      Reply
  11. Susan

    This makes me want to visit Jamaica more now than what I did prior to reading all the places there are to go here!  I had no idea that you could experience this many great adventures in that country with all the places to see and explore.  Green Grotto Caves would be the one thing that would be at the top of my list to visit first caves fascinate me and this one looks splendid.  Next would be Shark Park Gardens wandering through all the glorious vegetation seeing and smelling the aromas.  And no I would not want to stop there but I will because your space is not large enough for me to keep going.

    Thank you so much for the peek preview,

    Susan

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Susan, and I am glad you enjoyed my Ocho Rios Vacations post.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  12. Babsie Wagner

    When I saw you wrote about 84 degree water, I was sold.  I can’t say how long I’ve been wanting to go to Jamaica, but it’s been most of my adult life, and I’ve just never done it.  My husband and I planned a trip many, many years ago, and then I found out I was pregnant for twins, and we decided our money would be needed elsewhere, lol, since I decided to be a stay-at-home mom.  Fast forward, my children are grown, and I have yet to get to Jamaica. 

    That’s funny that they actually want to see your evidence of departure, ha ha.  We should try that here in the good ol’ USA, eh?  They want to make sure you aren’t planning to overstay your welcome.  I think I would definitely want to avoid the hurricane season, seeing all the devastation that has befallen islands as of late from these horrific storms.  That would be too scary.  I guess I would pay more, but I’m not much for an adventure like that.

    You’ve once again ignited my appetite for this gem of a destination.  Thanks for the great information.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I live in an area where we get hurricanes, and it is scary.  Knock on wood, so far my house has weathered two (one each year since I have been here).  So yes, I think I would skip a visit during this time as well.  I would pay more for the continual beautiful weather.  I think its your time Babsie to enjoy a nice relaxing vacation!

      Reply
  13. Nigel Robinson

    Jamaica has been on my to do list because I’m a huge cricket fan. Can’t believe you didn’t mention the cricket! Although this would be played in Kingston. At least I’ll know to visit Ocho Rios when I finally get to booking my trip to the Caribbean. Looks amazing and seems family friendly with enough to keep us all occupied.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, plenty for the whole family for sure!  For me, I would stay in Ocho Rios and travel to Kingston for the cricket 🙂  But then one of the main reasons to go for me is the sunshine, beautiful beaches and the ocean.  Add in all the other things to do, and it makes a perfect vacation.

      Reply
  14. Raymond

    Hello, I love how your article is detailed! I have been planning a vacation to Ocho Rios, so am glad I found your website! It really provided me everything I need. I just have to decide on which of your hotel recommendations I want. Thanks! I can recommend your site to anyone.

    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Raymond and I am glad I could provide everything you need for your upcoming vacation to Ocho Rios. If you need anything else, please let me know.

      Reply
  15. Boby

    Your articles are such a joy for the eyes…
    It’s my pleasure to come back here any time I need something to make me feel better.
    Like exploring the options for a dream vacation would do.
    Honestly, I think I’m in love with the “Blue Hole”, it looks like a little piece of heaven on earth.
    I have a question:
    Considering that I may find time only in January, do you think that I can find something more affordable than $700/night?
    Thanks for sharing this post!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Boby and thanks for reading! Yes, I think if you plan ahead (like now if you want to go this January) then you could find something less expensive for sure. If you click on my recommended hotels and plug in your dates, that will give you an idea of the prices. If you were to start planning for next January, you would most definitely get a much better rate.

      Reply

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