By: Katy DeHaven
For our next port of call we are going to look at Jamaica and the ports of Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay, you can actually do a lot of the same excursions from these ports of call. Ocho Rios is only about an hour and half drive from Montego Bay with Falmouth in between the two.
Jamaica is known for being the birthplace of Bob Marley and reggae. It is also known for Blue Mountain coffee, Red Stripe beer, Jamaican rum, beautiful beaches, majestic water falls and luxurious all-inclusive resorts.
Dunn’s River Falls, located near Ocho Rios is a popular tourist spot. It is believed to be the site of “Las Chorreas”, a battle fought in 1657 between the Spanish and the English for control of the island. Las Chorreas means the waterfalls or springs. Today visitors climb the falls with a guide. The climb takes about 1-1.5 hours to complete with breaks for pictures. There are also stairs alongside the falls for those who don’t want to get wet or manage the rocky uneven terrain of the climb. Check out this video of the falls:
Located near Dunn’s River Falls is Mystic Mountain, a mountain-top adventure park offering zip lining, climbing and a bobsledding attraction. The bobsled ride is the signature attraction, featuring a gravity driven plunge through 3,280 feet of twists and turns. It evokes the glory of the 1988 and 1992 Jamaican Olympic bobsled teams, who also inspired the 1993 film “Cool Runnings”. Check out this virtual tour of the park:
Blue Hole is a natural limestone sink hole near Ocho Rios. A deep cavern within the mountains, the Blue Hole gets its name from the deep azure hue of the water. Visitors can jump in from a height of roughly six feet, jump from a rope swing, or climb down the rocks. Island Gully Falls is about a 10 unite hike from Blue Hole, once there visitors can jump into the water below off a 15-foot cliff, or use the rope swings.
Built in 1770 is Rose Hall, one of Jamaica’s most historic plantation homes. Legend claims the home was haunted by the ghost of Annie Palmer, known as the “White Witch of Rose Hall”. Tours operate both day and night, with the night tours offering a closer look at Annie Palmer. To learn more about Rose Hall:
Located 20 miles from Montego Bay and 40 miles from Ocho Rios is rafting on the Martha Brae river. The 3 mile raft ride on 30 foot bamboo rafts with an experienced guide lasts about an hour. Guests learn about the history of the area and can even try their hand at “poling” the raft. For a virtual rafting experience:
The Appleton Rum Factory is located about 2.5 hours from Montego Bay. The estate sits on 11,000 scenic acres and offers guided tours and tastings. Check out this virtual tour.
In addition to these attractions some other great excursions to do in Jamaica include snorkeling, scuba diving, bike tours, food tours, ATV tours, horseback riding, zip lining, Dolphin Cove and catamaran tours.
If you are visiting Jamaica for more than a day via a cruise ship, other attractions to check out include Blue Mountain Coffee Tour and Bob Marley’s Museum.
Below are a few beach suggestions near the ports.
Montego Bay Beaches
The bay’s location provides shelter from rough seas and currents. The water here is said to have healing powers. The beach is open to the public for a small fee, and chair, umbrellas and snorkeling gear are available for rent. There is also a restaurant and bar.
Less crowded than Doctor’s Cave with the same tranquil water and white sand. The beach also offers clean restrooms, lockers, and umbrella and chair rentals.
About 10 minutes from the pier in Falmouth, offers facilities and a lifeguard. Admission is just $5 per person.
Ocho Rios Beaches
Located close to the cruise port, the water here is clear, blue and has shallow areas which make it a good place to bring the family. There are shops and restaurants nearby and lots of excursions available such as kayaking and snorkeling.
Located 10 miles north of Ocho Rios on a small peninsula at Oracabessa Bay. The beach has brightly colored changing rooms, a water sports centre, Moonrakers Bar and a restaurant. Ian Fleming’s former home, Goldeneye, is perched high above on a cliff. Fans may also recognize the beach from the film “Dr. No.”
Located next to Couple San Souci, this beautiful beach has no entry charge. The water is fairly shallow and calm. There are a few lounge chairs and some trees that provide shade. The nearby restaurant and bar has free WiFi.
We hope you enjoyed checking out Jamaica!
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