For a great value Caribbean getaway, you can’t go wrong with Jamaica. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be on island time in this laid-back country. Visit Ocho Rios, a former fishing village on a wide bay that has been drawing tourists since the 1980s. Regular cruise ships make ‘Ochi’ a hive of activity but when there’s no ship in dock, the relaxed vibe returns.
You’ll find a lively food scene, buzzing nightlife, and a bunch of companies offering everything from scuba diving to zip-line tours. Add in some beautiful scenery, a handful of waterfalls and Ocho Rios becomes the perfect destination for exploring the north coast of Jamaica. For the best cheap Caribbean Vacations, visit http://lostwaldo.com/the-best-cheap-caribbean-vacations/
Dunn’s River Falls are a must-see attraction. These world-famous falls are just 3km west of town and are Jamaica’s top tourist attraction. It can get busy but this doesn’t make the climb up the falls any less exhilarating. You get to climb up vast tiers of limestone that step down 180m in a series of beautiful cascades and pools. The water is a refreshing and cool, with everything shaded by tall rainforest which offers a great reward after the climb.
The Shaw Park Gardens in Ocho Rios offer a tropical paradise of ferns and bromeliads, palms and exotic shrubs covering 11 hectares around an old great house. Trails and wooden steps lead you to waterfalls that tumble in terraces down the hillside. A viewing platform offers a bird’s-eye vantage over Ocho Rios and this is one view you’ll want to snap!
Ocho Rios Beach is the main tourist beach of the town. It is also known as Turtle Bay or Ocho Rios Bay. It’s a very popular spot but there are plenty of changing rooms and palms for shade. It can get a little crowded if there is a ship in port but there are quieter alternatives available if you want a more laid back vibe.
Mahogany Beach is smaller and you know something is good when it’s popular with locals. At weekends, it comes to life with loud music, smells of jerk cooking and casual football matches. During the week, you should find the beach much more relaxed. The beach is about 1km east of the town center so it’s easy to jump in a taxi to get there.
No trip to Ocho Rios would be complete without taking in the Bob Marley statue. In 1981, the Jamaican government commissioned expressionist sculptor Christopher Gonzáles to create a memorial to Bob Marley for Kingston’s Celebrity Park. The result was a stunning 2.7m half-man, half-tree sculpture. Marley is depicted growing out of the ground but unimpressed Marley fans pelted the statue with rocks and fruit when it was revealed! Today, the statue sits in Ocho Rios’ Island Village.
Whilst Dunn’s River Falls is the top attraction in Jamaica, for a superb natural attraction with a few less people, take a visit to the incredible Irie Blue Hole. This is a sight not to be missed and features a series of magical falls and blue pools surrounded by lush forest. Cool off with a swim or dive and swing off ropes into the water. There are guides to accompany you through the cascades on a well-marked trail and you’ll be glad you made the effort!
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