Author: Christine Wagner

Ocho Rios coast of Jamaica

Ocho RĂ­os is a town that is situated on the northern coast of Jamaica in the Saint Ann Parish. Saint Anne Parish is often referred to as the “Garden Parish” because of its inherent natural beauty. Ocho Rios translates into English from Spanish as “Eight Rivers”. Ocho Rios can trace it history back to the original inhabitants of the area, an Arawak tribe known as the Taino Indians. The Taino Indians came to Jamaica around one thousand B.C. and they called it Xamayca (meaning lands of water and wood). In 1494, Christopher Columbus made landfall on the island and claimed it in the name of the Spanish Crown. A colony was then promptly established and named Chorreros. Foreigners would soon come to Jamaica in a steady influx and introduced various diseases such as influenza and small pox to the island. The Taino had no natural immunity to these diseases, and contributed to their demise, along with slavery and warfare. During the sixteenth century, the Spanish brough African slaves to the area and started a rofitable sugar business. In 1655, the British Empire took the island from the Spanish and renamed the town of Chorreros Ocho Rios. Over the next two years, the Spanish would launch several attacks against the island in an effort to retake it, but failed miserable. In 1834, slavery was abolished in Jamaica and the town of Ocho Rios fell into a period of decline. Over the course of the nineteenth and wentieth centuries, the town would experience periods of alternating decline and growth. Over the last two decades, Ocho Rios has reinvented itself as a resort town and today has a thriving tourism industry.

Ocho Rios has a number of popular attractions available to visitors. One of the major attractions is Dolphin Cove. At Dolphin Cove visitors can not only get a close up view of dolphis through the various animal shows, but can also touch, swim and play with the dolphins. Dolphin Cove also offers an nature trail that takes visitors through the beautiful natural scenery of the area. On this hike visitors can experience turtles, reptiles, snakes and parrots. There is also a shark pool available to visitors. Dunn’s River Falls is another prominent attraction in the city of Ocho Rios. Crystal clear waters fall over tiers of smooth rocks and form a beautiful natural display. Visitors can also choose to climb the six hundred foot climb to the top of the waterfall. This is a challenging, but gratifying way to experience the natural awe of this wonder. Prospect Plantation is also another fantastic attraction in the town. This plantation, one of the oldest established plantations on Jamaica, is still in working condition and grows a variety of crops which include banana, sugar cane, pimento and cassava fruit. The plantation has a large population of peacocks which roam freely. Visitors can take a horseback tour of the plantation, instead of the usual walking tours.

Other attractions in the town of Ocho Rios include Know Jamaica Tours, Yardie Tours, Wilderness ATV Tours, Phil Lafayette Tours, Chukka Canopy Zip Line, Sunshine Watersport, Spa at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach and Villa Resort, Harmony Hall Jamaica, Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Mountain, Island Village, Sandals Dunn’s River Villagio Golf Resort and Spa, Chukka Cove, Coyaba River Garden and Museum, Jamaica Grande Beach, Calypso Rafting, Chukka Zion Bus, Sun Valley Plantation Tour, Wassi Art Pottery Works, Ocho Rios Beach, Reggae Xplosion, Heave-Ho Charters, Red Stripe Cruise, Shaw Park Gardens & Waterfalls, Taj Mahal Mall, Brimmer Hall Estate, Bamboo Beach Club, Fern Gully, Laughing Waters Waterfall, Dunn’s River Beach, Top of the Mountain, Ocho Rios Fort, Turtle River Park, Garfield Diving Station, Stingray City, White River, Reggae Beach and Chukka Jamaica Dogsled Encounter. Restaurants in the town include Almond Tree Restaurant, Coconuts, Le Papillon Restaurant and the Caviar Bar at the Royal Plantation, Margaritaville at Ocho Rios, Tradewinds Bar & Restaurant, Ocho Rios Village Jerk Centre, Evita’s Italian Restaurant and Passage to India. The town also has a number of prominent hotels which are available to visitors. Some of the more prominent ones include Rooms On The Beach, Columbus Heights Hotel, Fisherman’s Point, Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, Hotel Sans Souci Resort & Spa, Crane Ridge Resort, Hibiscus Lodge Hotel, Sandals Dunns River Villaggio Golf Hotel, Hotel Couples Tower Isle, Hotel Jamaica Inn, Riu Ocho Rios-All Inclusive, Boscobel Beach Hotel and the Renaissance Jamaica Grand.