Spend three wonderful days touring the country around Ocho Rios and exploring the unique towns and spectacular natural wonders of the area. Enjoy a mix of urban pleasures (horse-drawn carriage rides and museum visits) and dramatic displays of the island’s natural environment (waterfalls, exotic plant life, and unparalleled lagoons). A leisurely excursion that offers ample time to take in the pleasures of this island locale.
Day 1 – Ocho Rios, Dunn’s Falls
A good way to start your Ocho Rios adventure is to explore the city in a horse-drawn carriage. Afterwards, a visit to the Island Village Reggae Explosion is a must. This is the location of the Reggae Xplosion Museum (admission US$7). Known as the “ultimate reggae hall of fame,” you can learn about the history of all types of Jamaica music, not just reggae, through music videos and recorded interviews. There is a mural illustrating a timeline of Jamaican history and an outstanding display of photographs showing music artistes and typical views of Jamaican life. You may want to pick up a few souvenirs in the shop here too!
Just a 15-minute drive from Ocho Rios – perfect for an after-lunch tour – is Dunn’s Falls, a unique geographic phenomenon, in that the falls continually grow as sediment builds up on each of the terraced steps as water washes over them. The waters cascade down the series of terraces until they reach the sea, where there is a beach perfect for relaxing. If you’re looking for a more athletic experience, take the challenging climb up the Falls, walking in the water all the way. Be sure to wear appropriate foot gear if you want to try this! Admission to Dunn’s Falls is US$20 for adults and US$12 for children aged 4 to 10. The attraction is open from 8:30AM to 4:00PM and from 7:00AM on “cruise ship days.” There are souvenir stalls, restaurants, and other amenities to make your visit one you’ll always remember.
Day 2 – Fern Gully, Kingston, Faith’s Pen
The second day of your Ocho Rios exploration begins as you take the A3, which passes through Fern Gully. Here you will drive through some 4 kilometers of fern-line roadway teeming with exotic plant life. The drive will take you through Ewarton and the picturesquely named Bog Walk before turning toward Kingston. In Kingston, a major attraction is the Bob Marley Museum where you can learn about the life and music of the legendary reggae musician. Kingston also offers several lovely parks, including St. William Grant Park, named for the 1938 labor leader William Grant and Emancipation Park, which opened in July of 2002 to symbolize Jamaica’s freedom to “Hope, Excel and to Be.” Other fascinating Kingston area attractions include the Coronation Market, where you can sample local foods and exotic fruits brought in from all over Jamaica by island farmers. To get an idea of what Kingston was like in the 19th century, a visit to Devon House Mansion is in order. The 127-year-old Devon House was the home of George Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire and features 11 acres of lush lawns and the feeling of going back in time, right in the heart of downtown Kingston! Here you can enjoy an excellent dining experience and do some shopping as well.
On the way back to Ocho Rios, pay a visit to the food stands in Faith Pen, an area famous for its homemade traditional Jamaican fare, including jerk chicken, curried goat, and callaloo.
Day 3 – Prospect Plantation, Port Antonio, Blue Lagoon
On Day Three, travel west of Ocho Rios on the coastal road to Prospect Plantation, a working farm located on one of the old island plantations. You can view farm animals, take tractor or horseback rides, and see bananas, sugarcane, coffee, and spices growing on the land.
Continuing down the coast road, you will pass Port Maria, Annotto Bay, and Buff Bay before you reach your next destination at San Antonio. No visit to San Antonio is complete with going to its Main Square and seeing the Port Antonio Court House, which was built in 1895. Located here is a cenotaph commemorating the people of Portland who died during World War I and World War II. Visit the Musgrave Market before moving along the coast road to the Blue Lagoon. On the way, you will pass the Folly Point Lighthouse, now a working, solar-powered lighthouse, which was constructed in 1888. The Blue Lagoon is over 54 meters (162 feet) deep and within its natural formation, its blue color varies throughout the day as the light changes, a truly mystical sight.
On the way back to Ocho Rios, there is time for dining at the Village of St. George, a unique shopping mall in Port Antonio that incorporates several different styles of European architecture in its design.