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
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.
Bamboo Beach Club
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.
Puerto Seco Beach
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!
Sugar Pot Beach
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.
James Bond Beach
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.
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.
Best Ocho Rios Tours & Activities by Viator
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 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.
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.