The first thing you did right was to book a cruise! Congratulations! You know how to vacation like a boss!
The second thing you did right was choosing an itinerary that stops in Jamaica (yeah mon)! Jamaica is known for quite a few wonderful things: Bob Marley, jerk spice, Blue Mountain coffee, rum, Reggae, and their laid-back attitude. And if you can make all of that happen at the same time you, my friend, have found Utopia!
But you're only in town for a day and I'm sure you're wondering what there is to do while in port, so here's my list of top sights to see when your cruise ship stops in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Dunn's River Falls
Dunn's River Falls is a waterfall that cascades from the hills of Jamaica 180 ft. to the Caribbean Sea at the western end of a white-sand beach.
A little Geology Tidbit:
Dunn’s River, a short stream dropping only 55 meters (180 ft) from its source to the sea, is fed by spring water rich with calcium carbonate and deposits travertine forming a sequence of tufa terraces. Such waterfalls are described by geologists as “a living phenomenon” because they are continuously rebuilt by the sediments in spring water.
Dunn's River Falls is one of the very few travertine waterfalls in the world that empties directly into the sea.
Climbing the falls will take about 1-1.5 hours if you include short breaks for photos. You'll need water shoes for this excursion. Swimwear is not required but recommended. You WILL get wet!
You'll generally find this listed as one of the excursions available through your cruise ship. It's usually included with a sightseeing tour of the city or a lunch stop for authentic Jamaican cuisine.
The Irie Blue Hole is a waterfall and swimming attraction in the hills of St. Ann, Jamaica about 20 minutes from Ocho Rios. While very popular, Blue Hole has not been commercialized, so you'll be able to fully immerse yourself in the beauty that surrounds you.
Enjoy the swimming section which includes a Tarzan rope that you can swing on and jump into the Blue Hole, bask in the sunshine or sit under one of the mini waterfalls that feed into this Blue Hole.
In addition, you can walk 5-10 minutes upstream to the waterfalls. A tour guide will help you find the best (and safest) spots to jump or dive from.
You'll need a bathing suit, water shoes, and a towel.
Most cruise lines will have this activity. Some may combine it with river tubing at White River.
If you're looking for an exciting and unique day in the water, Blue Hole is for you.
Mystic Mountain is an adventurous way to see Jamaica. It's a tropical forest adventure tour located in the Jamaican rainforest where you soar down the 700-foot mountainside in a bobsled à la Cool Runnings. Additionally, you can do a canopy zip line or a Sky Explorer tram that will provide panoramic views of the rainforest and nearby Dunn's River Falls.
You may or may not find this excursion on your cruise ship. But, it's only 5 minutes from the cruise pier, so you can catch a taxi for a reasonable price.
If you plan to go to Mystic Mountain, you'll need light clothing and comfortable footwear.
Taste the Local Food (and drinks!)
Now, why would you go all the way to Jamaica and not get some authentic jerk?! Who does that?
Things you must try while in Jamaica:
- Jerk anything!
- Red Stripe Beer
- Beef Patties
- Appleton Rum
- Wray & Nephew Rum (only for the experienced rum connoisseur)
- Blue Mountain Coffee
I gotta tell ya, I never leave Jamaica without Wray & Nephew White Rum and Cream Rum. My mom uses the cream rum in her cheesecake recipe and the white rum for chocolate cake. Both desserts are lethal and delicious!
Already cruised to Ocho Rios? Tell me your top sights to see when your cruise ship stops in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.