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Ocho Rios
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Located on the island of Jamaica is the Ocho Rios Destination. The entirety of the island is included in the region and offers an array of indoor and outdoor activities for tourists. Jamaica is generally hot and humid, with its best times of the year to visit ranging from November to April or June through July, based on weather conditions.[8] There are mountains, lagoons, waterfalls, and beaches that can be visited by tourists across the island nation. Jamaica is home to four mountain ranges, the John Crow Mountains, the Don Figuero Mountains, the Blue Mountains, and the Cockpit County Mountains. The highest point of the region is Blue Mountain Peak, located in the mountain range it gets its name from, the Blue Mountains.[1] Due to the tropical climate, there is an array of plant and animal life on the island. Some of the animals that visitors may see include the Indian mongoose, tropical house geckos, Jamaican giant anole, and laughing gulls. [9]

What Ocho Rios is known for

The Ocho Rios Destination is located on the island of Jamaica.[1] The destination is in the Caribbean and as such has a tropical climate characterized by two seasons; wet and dry.[2] Cities of note in Jamaica are Kingston, Portmore, and Montego Bay. The namesake of the region is Ocho Rios, another city on the island that is known for tourism and resorts.[3]

The name Jamaica came from the indigenous people who inhabited the island before Christopher Columbus came to the Caribbean. When Christopher Columbus arrived on the island, he named it Santiago, however, the traditional name of Jamaica or Xaymaca persisted.[4] The city of Ocho Rios is more commonly referred to by locals as Ochi.[5] Ocho Rios is Spanish for "Eight Rivers;" however, there are not eight rivers in the area. Some say that the name is a corruption of the original name of the city which potentially was Las Chorreras, meaning "The Waterfalls," after the nearby Dunn’s River Falls.[3]

A popular attraction near the city of Ocho Rios is Rainforest Adventures Mystic Mountain. The attraction allows visitors to take a chair lift to the top of the mountain where they can see the tropical landscapes characteristic of the region. From the top, tourists can choose to either zipline back down the mountain through the trees or ride a one-person bobsled-themed rollercoaster. There are also rainforest tours that can be taken at the business, as well as participate in a ropes course and an infinity pool.[5]

Near Blue Mountain Peak is the city of Port Antonio, which has multiple attractions for tourists. Set on the beach and backed by a mountain, the town offers outdoor activities as well as more urban places to visit. Visitors can raft down the Rio Grande River, snorkel, or swim in the Bluewater Lagoon which is fed by freshwater springs. “Jerk-style” cooking originated in the area around Port Antonio and on the east end of the city by Boston Beach those looking to try authentic “jerk-style” cooking can experience the cuisine.[5]

Rose Hall is another popular attraction for tourists on the island. The building was a plantation house built in 1770. Annie Palmer, known locally as the “White Witch,” lived in the home and supposedly was cruel to the workers of the plantation until she died violently. Today, tours can be taken through the home during the day or at night. The night tours feature guides dressed up in period clothing that tell ghost stories of those who used to live and work at the plantation.[6]

The most common languages spoken in Jamaica are English and Jamaican Creole, which is similar to English in its vocabulary and grammar, however, it differs in the dialects it draws from in phraseology and has roots in West African languages, Spanish, and French. The main religion in the destination is Seventh-Day Adventist and Pentecostal denominations of Christianity.[4] Rastafarianism is a religion that originated in Jamaica in the 1930s. It is both a religious and political movement in the country which contains elements from Protestant Christianity, mysticism, and pan-African political thought. They believe that the African people were made slaves as a test by God and that someday they will return to Ethiopia, which is the ultimate home of believers in the tradition.[7]

The reported best time to visit the Ocho Rios Destination is either from November to April or June through July, due to the weather. The highest concentration months of tourism are generally January, May, and December. Due to the higher chance of rain, the least popular month for tourist visits to the country is in October. Many of the activities in the region revolve around the outdoors and rainforests on the island. Hiking, rafting, ziplining, swimming, and snorkeling are all possible in the area and are available in various locations across the destination.[6]

The capital of Jamaica is Kingston, and approximately a third of all the country’s residents live in the city. Sites within the city include the Bob Marley Museum, which is inside the singer's former home, and the Hope Botanical Gardens and Zoo. A popular tourist attraction in Kingston is also Port Royal, which was a hub for pirates in the Caribbean during the 17th and 18th centuries. Port Royal was nicknamed the “Wickedest City in the World,” due to its history with pirates. [1]


The Ocho Rios Destination includes the entire country of Jamaica. The island nation is in the Caribbean and is the third largest of the Caribbean Islands after Cuba and Hispaniola, which is the island home to the Dominican Republic and Hati.[1] The Caribbean Islands are located off the coast of Florida, near Central America. Most of the land on the island is mountainous, with four mountain ranges being found on the island nation. The four ranges are the Blue Mountains, the John Crow Mountains, the Don Figuero Mountains, and the Cockpit County Mountains; the highest peak of the destination is Blue Mountain Peak which is part of the Blue Mountains range and reaches 7,402 feet above sea level. The area has a tropical climate with wet and dry seasons respectively that coincide with hurricane season during the wetter parts of the year. Due to the mountainous terrain on the island, different cities in Jamaica have varying levels of precipitation. Kingston, for example, sits in the rain shadow of the Blue Mountains and as such has less rainfall than other parts of the country, such as Ocho Rios.[2]

The best reported times to visit Ocho Rios due to weather are from November 12th to April 15th or from June 18th to July 29th. These months see little variation in temperature, generally staying around 85 degrees Fahrenheit for the majority of the seasons, and have the least chance of rain as predicted from past years. The warmest months generally in Jamaica are July, August, and June respectively. Due to the warmer temperatures in the summer months, tourism is reportedly lower. The height of the tourist season on the island is reported to be January, followed by May and December.[8] 

One unique geographical feature in the area is the Dunn’s River Falls. Located near Ocho Rios, there are 180 meters of terraces waterfall that can be photographed by tourists. There are guides that can help visitors up the limestone falls and slide down smooth sections of rock into the lagoons at the bottom. The falls are one of Jamaica’s reported highest-trafficked waterfalls, with many who come to the island being on cruise ships that are coming at one time to the base.[6]

Another outdoor activity that can be enjoyed near Ocho Rios is the Blue Hole, also known as the Irie Blue Hole. The body of water found in the forest approximately 25 minutes from the city of Ocho Rios is a series of pools that are fed by nearby waterfalls. In the past, the pools were mostly secluded with little tourist activity, but it has reportedly grown in popularity in recent years. Visitors to the Blue Hole can climb through the various pools and swing from ropes attached to trees into the water. Guides are recommended to those looking to swim in the pools, as they can help tourists navigate the river for the safest routes to the multiple pools.[5]

Jamaica is home to 250 species of birds.[1] Due to the tropical forests as well as the ocean and beach areas a variety of birds, plants, and other animals can be found on the island. Jamaican woodpeckers, Smooth-billed Anis, and orangequit are all species of birds that can be found across the destination. During scuba diving activities, types of fish that can be seen include slippery dick, Caribbean bluehead wrasse, and long-spined porcupine fish. Due to the humid, tropical climate that is present in Jamaica, the plants in the destination tend to do better in warm and wet conditions. This includes the Jamaican poinsettia, peacock flowers, and the butterfly pea plant. While near the beach areas as well as playing in the various pools and lagoons that Jamaica offers, tourists can look out for different crustaceans and lizards including the blackback land crab, croaking lizards, and Atlantic ghost crabs. Indian mongooses can also be found in the region. [9]


The island of Jamaica was originally inhabited by the Arawak people, also known as the Taino people. They originated in South America and migrated to the island approximately 2,500 years ago. The island was named by them and was called Xaymaca which means "the land of wood and water." The Arawak people grew cassava, tobacco, sweet potatoes, and corn. In 1494, Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica, who had heard of the island from the Cuban people who called the region “the land of blessed gold.” Columbus wanted to annex the island for the king of Spain, and both he and the Spaniards who came to the land after were violent to the native people until they were able to take control of the nation.[10]

In 1655 the English led an attack on Jamaica and took control of the island and its resources. It was during this time period of English control that Port Royal and the pirates who would come to the port began gaining notoriety in the area. The city became known as the “wealthiest and wickedest city in the world,” due to the control of the buccaneers. On June 7, 1692, an earthquake hit Jamaica which caused the city of Port Royal to be destroyed.[10]

The main industry for Jamaica is tourism. Specifically, the city of Ocho Rios is focused on tourism as an industry. Other industries include agriculture, forestry, and fishing as their main exports. There are multiple minerals and resources that are naturally found across the island such as limestone, iron, marble, and copper. One-quarter of Jamaica's total GDP (gross domestic product) comes from trade with its principal exports being aluminum and bauxite. [4]

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