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One of Jamaica’s most magical resorts is Ocho Rios. Settled on the beautiful north coast, this area combines luxury beachside hotels with jungle adventures and some of Jamaica’s most incredible natural wonders. Swim in crystal-clear water and go dolphin spotting, climb Dunn’s River Falls, and take a tour into the heart of the Blue Mountains, all on your Ocho Rios holiday.
Average temperatures are around 26°C in January and 29°C in July. If you love activities like hiking, December to April are the cooler months, but expect the occasional splash of rain and remember that September to November is hurricane season, although storms rarely make landfall in this sheltered spot.
The nearest airport is Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, 100km from the resort.
For immaculate white sands, pumping reggae bars and some of the most exciting natural attractions in the Caribbean, book a holiday to Ocho Rios with Thomas Cook.
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Ocho Rios is a popular cruise ship port, and it’s easy to see why. With lots of beaches and a lively community, it’s a great base from which to explore much of Jamaica. Close to sights like the waterfall at Dunn’s River Falls as well as the Blue Mountains and Dolphin Cove, you’ll be truly spoilt for choice.
Hire snorkel gear and explore the coral reefs surrounding the town or take a boat trip and see this coastline from the water. A day trek in the dense, tropical forests will show you sights you’ll never forget and in the evening you can enjoy delicious local foods.
Turtle Beach is a great stop on your holiday with its coconut palms, restaurants and clear water. This big, white sand beach always has space for a day’s relaxation and you can just relax under the sun. Fancy seeing Jamaica’s underwater world? Hire a mask and snorkel and glide over coral reefs at Mahogany Beach. If it’s luxury you’re after, the Bamboo Beach Club is a place to really indulge. With umbrellas and sun loungers, you can lie back and listen to the reggae music and local singers. Stay to the evening and treat yourself to the freshest seafood, delicious cocktails and outstanding entertainment.
Climbing the famous Dunn's River Falls is one of the most popular things to do in Ocho Rios. Weave your way up the middle of this 600ft waterfall and admire the amazing view of the island from the top.
Jamaica is rich in wildlife, from the dolphins at Dolphin Cove, to the parrots you’ll see flying overhead. Trekking in the rainforest is an ideal way to get up close with the heartland of Jamaica. See huge tropical leaves bigger than an adult, listen to the calls of exotic birds in the canopy and see flowers in every colour and size imaginable. Book on a canopy tour to get the best jungle experience possible. The Green Grotto Caves are another one of Jamaica’s greatest natural wonders. Come here to see dramatic limestone formations and an eerie underground lake. The caves were also used during the filming of the James Bond film Live and Let Die.
Jerk chicken is delicious wherever you find it, but in Jamaica it’s out of this world. You can also try jerk pork, which is widely eaten here and just as tasty. Crunchy fried dumplings are another local favourite and you can’t miss the Caribbean rice and beans with its many flavours. Try the traditional salted fish, the local fruits and of course a little Jamaican rum. The locals love their food, drinks and music, making evenings out here an unmissable part of your holiday.
Explorers: Take a canopy tour through the Jamaican rainforest and head underground to the eerie Green Grotto Caves. Venture deep into the Blue Mountains and discover amazing vistas and the coffee plantations of Jamaica’s world-class coffee.
Beach lovers: Kick back on Turtle Beach and swim over the coral reefs at Mahogany Beach. There are lots of beaches and coves to explore.
Foodies: With Jamaican favourites like spicy jerk chicken and fried dumplings, you’ll experience the best food Jamaica has to offer. Try a Caribbean hamburger and dip your fries into a little hot sauce.
Language: The language spoken is English.
Currency: The official currency is the Jamaican Dollar ($) but large hotels will accept US dollars.
Local time: Ocho Rios is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Sangster International Airport. It takes about 2 hours to transfer to Ocho Rios.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Ocho Rios is 9 hours.
Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at www.visitjamaica.com
Visa and health: Before your holiday, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/jamaica for recommendations and advice on visas and health.
Temperature: A fabulous 25-30 (°C) all year round.
Best time to visit: Between December and April when it’s slightly cooler with little rainfall, especially if you want to hike. Jamaica basks in year-round sunshine so the air and sea are always warm. Summer is a hot 29-32°C for sun worshippers.
By taxi: Taxis are the most popular way to get around the resort. Make sure you book a taxi with a red number plate, as these are the official taxis of Jamaica. Check the price before you start your journey as well as the currency you’ll be charged in.
By bus: With so many interesting places in the area, many hotels will provide their own bus services for day trips.
By tour van: Tours go everywhere from here. Into the jungle, up into the mountains, down to secret beaches and over to Dunn’s River Falls. When you book onto a tour, the van will come and pick you up right from your hotel. Don’t forget your camera!
Ocho Rios Jazz Festival: This eight-day music event is held every June. With some of the biggest names in jazz appearing, this is a real insight into this wonderful form of music.
The Bob Marley Experience: For anyone who loves the music of Bob Marley, or simply wants to know more about this iconic man, the Bob Marley tour is a must. Visit Nine Mile where Marley lived and see his world with your own eyes.
Bacchanal Jamaica: Easter is carnival season when revellers descend on Chukka Cove for some of the best parties in Jamaica. Celebrated all over the island, carnival is a great way of experiencing Jamaica’s personality.