Ocho Rios is the garden center of Jamaica and its lushest area is Dunn’s River Falls. This spectacular waterfall, the top attraction, is a series of falls that cascade from the mountains to the sea. Here, you don’t just view the falls, but actually climb up them. Led by a sure-footed Jamaican guide (who wears everyone’s cameras slung around his neck), groups work their way up the falls hand-in-hand like a human daisy chain.
West of Ocho Rios in the town of Oracabessa, 007 fans can visit the James Bond Beach. Located near Ian Fleming’s former home, Goldeneye, the beach has plenty of options for a day of activity: Wave Runners, helicopter tours and horseback rides, as well as a beach bar and grill.
The town of Ocho Rios, often known by the nickname Ochi, sits on the north coast. The main road, called the North Coast Highway or A3 along this stretch, slices through the city, following the coastline. (Dunn’s River Falls is on the western side of town.) This entire stretch of road is lined with stony bluffs. Between the hills and the sea there is just enough room for a road and a strip of beach.
As you approach the city from the western end, driving from Montego Bay, you’ll first see the cruise ship terminal. From here, you’ll be moving into the town itself. The North Coast Highway becomes DaCosta Drive; off that and parallel runs Main Street, where many of the shops and the crafts market are located. The main road continues east through town toward the large resorts, most of which lie east of the city.
South of Ocho Rios are the hills that make this region so beautiful. Shaw Park Gardens and Coyaba River Garden and Museum, as well as the beautiful Enchanted Garden Resort are situated high in these green hills off Milford Road, the southern exit from town. Milford Road also travels through one of the island’s most striking areas, Fern Gully, a tunnel of greenery.
Some of Jamaica’s most beautiful areas are found south of Ocho Rios along A3, passing miles of rolling hills and fertile farmland.
TIP: Ganja farmers maintain fields just off these Norman Rockwell roads. Don’t stray off the road for your own protection.
West of Ocho Rios is Runaway Bay, one of the smaller tourist destinations, a stop between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. The area is actually a collection of several resorts and guests of these resorts often take day trips into either city.