This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Top 7 Things-To-Do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Headed to Ocho Rios, Jamaica anytime soon?  I was married in Ocho Rios and spent a lot of time touring the area and experiencing the exciting local flavors and excitement of this truly Jamaican city. Stop looking at all those other lists of things to do while your there.  Those lists will have you spending HOURS driving around the island seeing sights all over the country.  Don't get me wrong, if your only going to Jamaica once in your life, then those lists are for you!  But if you plan to come back to "the land we love" then you need to take in all that each city has to offer individually.  Stop driving all over the island and really experience what's around you.  Ocho Rios is one of the larger tourist destinations on the island and features spectacular beaches, beautiful shopping districts, and once in a lifetime recreational activities.  It also features the major selling point of the entire island: friendly and laid back people. Here are my Top 7 Things-To-Do when your there:

1. Dunn's River Falls
Check out TripAdvisor for the Best Deals on excursions to Dunns River Falls
If your going to do ONE THING in Ocho Rios, you have to climb Dunns River Falls.  There is no adventure quite like climbing up a waterfall!  I was seriously worried about it at first (worried, intimidated, and a little bit scared!) but once our very knowledgeable guide showed us how NOT to climb the rocks (seriously, he FELL off one of the rocks and slid down a section of waterfall) I felt a little more comfortable.  Thankfully, they give you great grippy water shoes and show you all the best hand-holds along the rocks.  At the top of each waterfall (yes, there are a series of waterfalls an you climb them all!) there is a series of pools where you can relax, take pictures, and enjoy the scenery.  Make sure to wear a comfortable suite and bring your since of adventure!
Me, climbing up the falls
A view of the falls from the bottom... YES, YOU CLIMB UP THAT!

2. Jamaican Bobsledding at Mystic Mountain Rain Forest Adventures
Check out TripAdvisor for the Best Deals on Excursions to Mystic Mountain
One of my favorite adventures in Jamaica is visiting Mystic Mountain.  The History of Rum, Tree-Top Sky Lifts, but best of all: BOBSLEDDING!! Yes, we've all see that famous movie Cool Runnings, but did you know that you can actually RIDE on a Jamaican bobsled through a track in the rainforest!? Seriously this was one of the funnest adventures I've ever taken.  There is no rollercoaster that can compare to this ride across the mountainside!
Riding through the Rainforest on our bobsled

3. Eat Traditional Jamaican Cuisine at Mom's
Check out TripAdvisor for the Best Deals on Trips to Mom's

Take an afternoon to get away from your resort and while your out, taste some REAL Jamaican cuisine at Mom's.  Don't expect fine dining in this little "hole-in-the-wall" restaurant, but do expect AMAZING flavors and truly authentic tastes.  This small restaurant is hidden down a typical Jamaican street packed with evening commuters, market goers, and plenty of local real life.  Mom's was recommended to us by a Jamaican-born friend who I went to Graduate School with.  It really opened our eyes to the bold flavors of the island's foods.

The sign on the front of the door at Mom's
Our Lobster Curry dinner

4. Learn the history of Rum and take a tasting
Check out TripAdvisor for the Best Deals on a trip to Rainforest Adventures

Are you headed to Mystic Mountain to bobsled?  Well, here is anothe reason to visit Mystic Mountain and the Rainforest Adventures: The History of Jamaican Rum!! At the top of the mountain you will have the chance to walk around a wonderful exhibit detailing the history of Appleton Rum and explore the creation process.  Examine the variety of colors of rum, check out the historical images of plantations, and touch the barrels that give Appleton Rum it's intoxicating taste. While your there, take a tasting!  I recommend trying a little bit of each rum to get a full spectrum of flavors.  A good rum tasting also makes a great precursor for the bobsledding adventure!

The display of Rum flavors and colors

5. Head up to the top of Mystic Mountain via the Tree-Top Sky Lift
Check out TripAdvisor for the Best Deals on a trip to Mystic Mountain
Another reason to visit Mystic Mountain: The Sky Tram that brings you from the base of the mountain to the top.  With stunning views this wonderful tree top ride gives visitors the chance to see the park before entering.  It also gives Ocho Rios visitors the chance to see the aerial view of the beautiful city and coastline.  We were excited to be able to watch a storm roll in over the ocean and could watch the rain fall on our bay-side resort while we sat on the tram listening to the sounds of the rainforest.  If your familiar with ski resort lifts, this is very similar but with a tropical twist!

The view from the Tree-Top Sky Lift

6.  Stroll through Turtle River Park
Check out TripAdvisor for the Best Deal on a trip to Turtle Park

Hidden right in the heart of the city, Turtle River Park is a hidden gem that can take you to a whole new level of relaxation in the hustle of the city life.  Opened in 2003, Turtle River Park used to be a bus park, this park was developed to offer tourists and locals a chance to stroll flower beds, rest in gazebos, admire fish and turtles swimming in the rivers, and snack on concessions.  I found this park accidentally while walking around the crowded market area in the city.  It really is a gem of a find!  Absolutely refreshing!

Turtle River Park

7.  Walk the City.  One of the most important things to do when you visit any city in any other country is walk and talk.  Really SEE the city as a local sees it.  Talk to the locals and hear what they have to say.   You really can't appreciate the beautiful tourist attractions within a city without seeing the real life of the country's people.  When you walk around Ocho Rios you will see an interesting approach to architecture that is popular in Caribbean countries which consists of what typical North American's would consider an "add on" way of building (read more about it in the Montego Bay post).  Ocho Rios (as well as many other Jamaican cities) are famous for your ability to go from City to Country very quickly.  You can be strolling through grided city streets to the edge of the Jamaican rainforest in a few steps and you can see where nature and the city collide.  While your wandering the edges of the city admiring the nature, make sure to stop and talk to the people!  I have found that most Jamaicans are eager and willing to talk with you about their country and their lives.  They are truly a very friendly people with a rich culture and society, so get to know the REAL people and place, not  just what you see at the resort.

Also, check out my Top 5 List for Montego Bay, Jamaica

Want to visit Ocho Rios?  Check out these last minute deals: Ocho Rios
Want to head to Montego Bay?  Check out these last minute deals: Montego Bay
My next trip to Jamaica will be to beautiful Negril.  Do you want to go to Negril? Check out some last minute deals here:  Negril
Also, check out the other great deals on Check out the best hotel reviews and hotel deals at TripAdvisor!!


  1. What amazing photos, it looks like so much fun! :)

    1. Thanks! Ocho Rios is a beautiful city and Jamaica is a wonderful country!!

  2. I went to Jamaica 10'years ago would love to return when my sons old enough to stand the heat and cheap out some of these places.

    1. It is definitely worth it to re-visit! Jamaica is such a different place than it was 10 years ago. They have really been working very hard at stabilizing the economic, political, and social issues that they faced so many years ago. They have really focused on making the tourism industry a huge economic boost, so there are sooooo many great things to do!

  3. I've never really considered visiting Jamaica before, but now I want to! Dunn's River Falls and bobsledding in the rainforest sound like epic adventures!

    1. Jamaica might be my favorite country to vacation in! Not just because of the fun activities, beautiful rainforests, and vibrant cities, but because of the genuinely accepting and friendly feel of the people! Jamaicans are some of the most welcoming and helpful people I have ever visited with.

  4. I've surprisingly never been to Jamaica even though I've ventured to the Bahamas numerous times. This looks like a blast! I've also heard zip-lining is an absolute must!

    1. Yes, Zip Lining is a great deal of fun too! If you visit Mystic Mountain you will have the opportunity to Zip Line through the rainforest! It was raining the day we went, so it wasn't something we were able to experience. Jamaica should definitely be on your list of places to travel to!


Summer Must Have: Ever-Ready PicNic Bag

I'm a stay-at-home-mom.  What this means is that come summer time I have to find ways to entertain not only my preschool-aged children (...