The Best of Ocho Rios and Jamaica's North
Collected by Lebawit Lily Girma, AFAR Local Expert
Ocho Rios and Jamaica's north coast offer lagoons, bays, rivers, and waterfalls—and even a drive through a lush fern gorge. Thanks to its resorts and nearby water parks, the Ocho Rios region is popular with families; this part of Jamaica has plenty of outdoor adventures, too. Honeymooners also find their bliss here among luxurious boutique escapes such as GoldenEye and Jamaica Inn.
Discovery Bay, Jamaica
Directly off the northern highway is Columbus Park, overlooking the scenic harbor at Discovery Bay, where Columbus was thought to have first anchored—although recent indications are that he sailed there from St. Ann’s Bay. The park is the only...
Adventurous souls should plan on a moonlit dip in the bioluminescent Glistening Waters, also known as Luminous Lagoon. Boats leave from a marina, located an hour north of Montego Bay, on scheduled night tours. As your tour boat...
A3, Tower Isle, Jamaica
I’m not usually an all-inclusive-hotel fan. I like the intimacy of an inn or a boutique hotel. I can really appreciate when some of the larger hotels pay attention to details and style that makes for intimacy in a more mass market setting. Couples...
Goldeneye, to be clear, is not an easy place to leave. The land—the former home of Ian Fleming, where he wrote each of the 14 James Bond thrillers that would cement his place in literary and cinematic history—sits next to the tiny...
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
A stone's throw from the gated all-inclusive resorts in the Runaway Bay area is a public beach known as "Flavours," named after the on site restaurant and bar. This beach has a lovely laid back vibe and is perfectly safe. Neighboring residents,...
Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Opened in 1950, the Jamaica Inn is one of the oldest and most gracefully aged of the classic Jamaica luxury resorts. It sits on its own private beach, which is rare in Jamaica, and each of the 52 suites and cottages has a Caribbean view. It is a...
Thatch Hill Rd, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
With a 20-foot waterfall, a deep turquoise pool, and underwater caves, the Irie Blue Hole is a special find. You’ll need to hire a guide in nearby Ocho Rios to bring you up the mountain to explore this off-the-beaten-track place, but...
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Go tubing on the White River with Ocho Rios Jamaica Tours and cool off in one of Jamaica’s most picturesque bodies of water. The jade colors of White River, dotted with fishing boats along its banks, rocks, and leafy banks, make it an...
Port Maria, Jamaica
Port Maria offers a glimpse of Jamaica’s colonial past, and is one of the most scenic towns on the north coast. The area is believed to have been one of the first Taino settlements, before it was established by Spanish settlers who gave it much of...
The newly reopened and family-run Irie River Park is a stunning 103 acres of rainforest, flowers, and gardens with pimento and ackee trees, through which a jade river and small waterfall flow. It's a dreamy spot for a daytime swim and picnic...
Mammee Bay Rd, Jamaica
Located in the town of Ocho Rios, Mammee Bay Beach is a sight for sore eyes—wide and spacious with powdery white sand and electric blue water. Even though half of this beach is private for guests of the gigantic RIU Resort, the other half is...
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