Discover Our Top 10 Things to Do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Welcome to our latest Caribbean Cruise Destination Guide: Top 10 Things to Do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica! On Jamaica’s wild and beautiful north coast, you can float downriver on a bamboo raft, climb up a waterfall, zip through a jungle canopy, ride horses into the sea, go caving, and see Bob Marley’s final resting place.
Some cruise passengers find the pushy, crowded downtown area around the cruise terminal offputting—but seriously, why would you hang out there when there’s so much to explore? Stick with a cruise-approved activity partner, and you’ll have wonderful adventures and see beautiful sights.
Dunn’s River Falls
At most waterfall landmarks, you just admire from a distance. At this iconic, terraced spring-fed falls, you actually climb up from the base to the top. It’s slippery and physically demanding, but worthwhile because of the scenery and the lagoon-swimming along the way. Group excursion
The Jamaican bobsled team is more than just a movie fantasy. It’s a real athletic team that competes internationally. And there’s a ride based on it at Mystic Mountain park. Aside from this adrenaline-spiking downhill experience, the park also contains a Zip line canopy tour, “Sky Explorer” sightseeing chairlift, and a pool/waterslide area.
Bob Marley Experience/Nine Mile
There are many versions of a Bob Marley experience, but the two main components are a visit to his birthplace and final resting place at Nine Mile. If you have an interest in Marley, book an excursion that includes a stop at Mt Zion. Ganja consumption is by no means mandatory, but you should have a real interest in Jamaican history, culture, and spiritualism.
Jump in the water and play with dolphins, friendly stingrays, and even sharks if you dare. Dolphins live in a natural cove, not an artificial enclosure. Encounters are generally small-group, although upgraded packages offer more one-on-one time with the fascinating creatures. Separate shark encounters are carefully supervised. The park also offers glass-bottom boat tours offshore, “jungle walks,” and a replica pirate lair.
A totally different transportation experience than the claustrophobic van or bus tour. Get out on a small boat, feel the wind in your hair, sway to the reggae, and glory in the clear blue of the Caribbean. This is a GREAT excursion if the weather’s nice. The most popular catamaran itinerary goes down to Dunn’s River Falls and back, cranking the party atmosphere
Not to be confused with tubing or whitewater, this is the quintessential Jamaican chillax experience of floating on a bamboo raft down a very mellow stretch of river. Think Red Stripe, reggae, jungle scenery, and river-swimming when you get overheated. Raft floats are offered on both Martha Brae and White River through Marvyn’s Paradise Tours and many others. Ocho Rios Tours services White River and has 2-person rafts that are more intimate than the group
Green Grotto Caves
This underground cave system is one of Jamaica’s most intriguing natural features, and quite different from the lush jungle foliage and water features that distinguish the rest of the ambience. The caves are largely uncharted, with only certain sections open to the public. Movie buffs recognize this as the film location for Live and Let Die—James Bond’s nemesis had his underground lair here.
If you want the waterfall climbing experience without the crowds, you’ll appreciate this park’s off-the-beaten-path charm. It’s beautiful and peaceful, surrounded by jungle foliage, but in a botanical garden setting that doesn’t feel too wild/overgrown. There are two natural pools on the way up, and a bar at the top. Because the falls are less crowded and the natural terraced “steps” shallower than Dunn’s River, it’s a less stressful climb.
Zip line through the jungle canopy and then over a valley, at exhilarating speed. This is a truly memorable way to sightsee, as you’re sometimes far above the scenery and sometimes whooshing through the middle of it, with absolutely no barrier between you and nature. Chukka Canopy Tour is popular with cruisers, especially packaged with Dunn’s River Falls.
A “Beach Break” is that downright do-nothing excursion that somehow never gets old. If you really want to see the island, don’t do the resort day-pass—head for this small but well-outfitted beach instead. Besides sunbathing and drinking rum punch, visitors can Jet Ski, snorkel, go on a banana boat ride, or go kayaking for a fee.
Looking for a different type of adventure? Check out our post on River Cruise: Porto Douro River Valley