If you're reading this post, you’ve likely got Jamaica on your mind. You might even be close to, or already leaning in the direction of Ocho Rios (north coast of Jamaica) as the perfect place to stay. Whether you’ve already confirmed your trip to this island paradise or you’re in the process of doing so, we've listed some of the most amazing things you can do in and around Ocho Rios during your vacation. These activities are even better if this is a couples' vacation because Ocho Rios is best enjoyed with good company!
For your vacation pleasure, we’ve compiled the top 34 things to do in Ocho Rios. Our list includes things like river tubing, hiking through the forest, visiting waterfalls and beaches, ziplining, exploring old plantations, and so much more. It is our hope that this listing helps you make the most of your time on the beautiful island of Jamaica!
While there’s no short supply of fancy sit-down restaurants in Jamaica, roadside stops are comparable in popularity. For a roadside treat to be worth it, you need to know where to go. One of the top options is the Puddin’ Man, just outside of Ocho Rios. At this stop, you’ll find a local favorite - puddin’. This unique food item is made over a coal pot in keeping with local tradition. The puddin’ man has mastered the art of this delicacy to the point that you can try different flavors, including potato and caramel. Some who go here leave reviews that it's the best thing they’ve ever eaten, but you’ll have to decide for yourself!
There’s always something going on at Margaritaville! This spot was created by musician Jimmy Buffet, and it is great for dining, partying, shopping, playing, exploring, or just doing it all. At Margaritaville, you can set a goal of having the best time, and very likely, you will. The Margaritaville experience includes water trampolines, a range of beachside activities, and lots of delicious food including burgers and pizza. This is a cool spot for families or couples looking to get out of their resort for a laid-back and entertaining experience. It is possible to go on a catamaran cruise that includes a stop at Margaritaville.
Beautiful and lively, Mahogany Beach on the east end of Ocho Rios is ideal if you want to relax and enjoy some beautiful beachside views. Though small, there are still some interesting things to do on this public beach including water sports like parasailing, tubing, jet skiing, and snorkeling. Parasailing can be the most expensive activity on this beach, costing $90 USD and up. Banana boat rides are also a possibility and cost around $30 USD. A tube ride on this beach lasts around 15 minutes and costs about $30 USD.
Mahogany Beach is most lively on the weekends when you can expect to find barbecues and casual football matches underway. There’s a bar and a shop near the beach. Mahogany Beach is about a 10–12-minute walk from the town center. This beach has no entry charge.
Ocho Rios is one of the best places to golf in Jamaica. One of the most popular golf courses in this part of Jamaica is the Sandals Golf & Country Club. This is an 18-hole golf course that includes a clubhouse, practice range, chipping and putting greens, changing rooms, a restaurant, and other convenient amenities. The course plays to 6,404 yards and has a par 71. Green fees for the Sandals Golf & Country Club course are included for guests of Sandals Ochi in Jamaica which makes this all-inclusive resort in Jamaica a great choice for golf lovers. A Golf Country Club Experience will ensure that you get the best golf available in Ocho Rios and learn more about the island while you're at it!
Good to know: If you don’t have golf shoes or other equipment, you’ll be able to rent some at the Sandals Golf & Country Club in Jamaica.
Jamaica is a great place to vacation as a couple. The fact that there are quite a lot of things to do including dining at amazing restaurants like Evita’s confirms this. Evita’s is in St. Ann Parish, and it is perfect for a classic Italian dining experience. Reviews of Evita’s say this restaurant may very well be one of the best in Jamaica. In addition to the food and great service, the chill ambiance might help to convince you of this as well.
Evita’s is open-air and has fantastic views. Dishes you can try while dining here include the Jerk Spaghetti and Carbonara with Shrimp and Lobster. Before leaving this restaurant take a look at the famous faces that line the walls — all at one point or the other dined at this very location.
Expert tip: Bug spray comes in handy at this restaurant as it is an outdoor location. If you don’t have any, ask your waiter who may be able to provide some from the restaurant.
There's nothing quite like traveling to a new destination and taking in all the fun and interesting things it has to offer. In Ocho Rios Jamaica, one of the attractions you'll definitely want to experience is the Luminous Lagoon. You can go there by signing up for the Island Routes Luminous Lagoon Tour. This is one of the only tours that you can do at night in Jamaica. During this tour, you’ll have a chance to see the glowing Luminous Lagoon which is filled with microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates that glow when touched. Jamaica is one of the only places in the world where you can find this natural phenomenon and the glow effect given off by the harmless organisms here is said to be among the brightest in the world.
Have a breezy beach day at James Bond Beach if you’ll be staying in or around Ocho Rios. This beach is named after the notorious action film character and there is good reason for that — James Bond Beach is near the Golden Eye property where Ian Flemming is said to have written the famous novels that later hit the big screen. James Bond Beach is also featured in the James Bond film ‘Dr. No’.
In terms of its aesthetic, James Bond Beach is beautiful. At this Jamaican beach not only will you be in full James Bond appreciation mode, but you’ll also be able to chomp on freshly grilled seafood right by the ocean. Take lots of photos and definitely soak in as much sunshine as possible. Bring sunscreen!
If you're looking to spend some time appreciating the unique landscape of Jamaica, a drive through Fern Gully is a must. This is a winding three-mile-long road that is lined by over 500 different types of ferns. The road here was constructed on an old river bed and over the years has been labeled as one of the most scenic places to drive in Jamaica.
Couples can drive along Fern Gully on their own, but this experience can be more fun with a guide. On a guided tour, you’ll be able to get more insight into the things you'll see, and the various uses of the ferns. Plus, you’ll walk away with some interesting historical nuggets as well. With that said, even if you don't go with a guide, you might spot locals along the way who might be able to share bits of information about this area as well.
Good to know: There are places along the Fern Gully route where you can stop to purchase souvenirs. Also, keep in mind that the roads in this area are quite narrow. Be sure to look out for speedier drivers if you'll be driving here on your own.
Camel riding isn’t usually associated with Caribbean islands, but it is very possible in Jamaica. If this adventure sounds like something you'd like to get into, then head to the Yaaman Adventure Park. This is the only place in Jamaica where you'll be able to ride camels as part of a Camel Trekking Safari. This safari takes you into the Jamaican countryside and allows you to spend some time with friendly camels that also happen to be very affectionate! At the end of this tour, you'll receive your very own ‘Camel’s Driver's License’.
Truly a historic spot, Firefly in Jamaica was once the home of playwright Sir Noel Coward. Prior to the late playwright residing there, it is said that notorious pirate Henry Morgan once used this hilltop spot as a hideout. True or not, this would certainly say something about the amazing views of the coast you can enjoy from this location. Tours of Firefly are available during which you can learn more about the playwright's history. Inside Firefly, you can still find some of Sir Noel’s photos and paintings. His pianos are still set in place!
Jamaican food is a big reason to visit this island especially if you're a foodie. If you want some delicious, traditional Jamaican food, a good place to start is Miss T’s Kitchen in Ocho Rios. Miss T and her team serve up authentic Jamaica favorites in the most delightful way. Some of the dishes that you can try here include oxtail, brown stew chicken and pork, and curried goat with rice and peas. There are fish and vegetarian options on the menu as well. Miss T is quite hospitable and might even give you a cooking tip or two to take back home if you ask!
One of the first things you’ll do when you get to Green Grotto Caves in Jamaica is put on a hard hat. This might not sound very fun, but it is necessary for this experience that takes you underground into quite an extraordinary limestone cave. It costs around $25 USD to tour Green Grotto Caves in Jamaica and the tour lasts about 45 minutes.
During your Green Grotto tour, you'll get to explore the various cave systems including Runaway Cave. The caverns inside Runaway Cave are said to have been used as a hideout for escaped slaves during the colonial era and for Spanish settlers fleeing the British as well. During this tour, you’ll learn more about the geological features as well as other history associated with the caves. There are said to be nine species of bats living inside the caves and over 10 million bats in total that call Green Grotto home. Green Grotto Caves are about 30 minutes from Ocho Rios.
Good to know: Some scenes from ‘Live & Let Die’ (James Bond) were filmed inside the Green Grotto Caves in Jamaica.
There's a lot to love about Nine Mile Village in Saint Ann Parish. One of those things is its connection to Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley, who is said to have been born in this village, and it was also his final resting place. This historical fact has increased the popularity of Nine Mile Village to the point that music fans visit just to do guided tours of the Bob Marley Museum and the mausoleum where the popular musician was buried. This tour affords the opportunity to get to know more about the Rastafarian religion, the life of Bob Marley, and Jamaica in general.
Dunn's River Falls is one of those attractions that you simply must make time for when in Jamaica. This is the most popular waterfall on this island, and it is about 2.5 miles from Ocho Rios. There are lots of things to do at this waterfall and you can sign up for the Dunn’s River Falls Experience to make the most of your time here.
Dunn’s River Falls is about 180ft high and 600ft wide. This attraction includes multiple natural pools and the option to do wet or dry hiking to the summit. The wet hike is especially popular as it takes guests through the falls itself — it is quite the Dunn’s River Falls tradition to join a chain of people making their way up the falls hand-in-hand. If you want to have a quieter experience at Dunn’s River Falls and just enjoy the scenery, that's possible too. There's even a beach where you can just relax and unwind in a shady spot.
Expert tip: To avoid crowds, choose a day to go to Dunn’s River Falls when there aren't any cruise ships in port.
Swimming with dolphins is one of the most fun things to do in Jamaica. As dolphins are super friendly, you can fearlessly get into the pool with them along with the trainers associated with these tours and make new oceanic friends. During your Dolphin Swim Tour, you'll not only be able to swim with the dolphins but watch them play and dance around in the water as well. If the dolphins really like you, they might offer you kisses as well!
Island Routes’ Dolphin Swim Adventure includes a shark show, mini-boat rides, a 40ft water slide, and a chance to see exotic birds, iguanas, and even stingrays. This tour is quite popular, and it is a good idea to book it in advance.
Jamaica is the land of jerk cuisine so if you’re into spicy food, it is worth trying some while on this island. A cool place to get a good jerk meal is Scotchies. This casual eatery frequently receives great reviews, particularly for its jerk chicken and jerk pork. If you're in Ocho Rios or in the vicinity, you can stop by this spot for lunch or dinner. If you want to tone down the heat a bit, ask for your sauce to be placed on the side. The prices at Scotchies are quite affordable so you'll definitely be able to get your fill!
River tubing is one of the most exciting things to do in the Caribbean and there aren't many islands that offer the opportunity to do so. In Ocho Rios, Jamaica, however, you can sign up for a tour like the Jungle River Tubing On The White River which will put you right on the water for an exhilarating ride.
This tour starts off from a 17th-century Spanish Bridge from which point you'll meander down the river in a tube. Along the way, you’ll spot birds of all varieties and other wildlife. The guides are helpful, fun, and informative, and you’ll leave this tour knowing much more about Jamaica than you did when you started off.
Perhaps going into a swamp isn't your idea of vacation fun, but it can be if you're seated in a safari truck for a tour that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. One of the best options for a safari tour in Ocho Rios is the Island Routes Jamaica Swamp Safari Village Tour. This tour comes with the possibility of seeing live crocodiles as well as other wildlife including the gray fox, the Jamaican Boa Constrictor, monkeys, the Jamaican Coney, and more. If you're a James Bond fan (yes, more James Bond!), you’ll also love that the swamp safari tour includes the opportunity to visit the Kanaga House where the crocodile jumping scene in ‘Live and Let Die’ was filmed!
Let your Mystic Mountain adventure begin with a slow and steady ride up the mountainside on the Sky Explorer chairlift. Along the way, you can admire the gorgeous views of the rainforest, the cruise ship port, and the Jamaican coastline from an elevated perspective. Things heat up once you get to the top — you could very well be greeted with energetic and melodious drumming that might have you moving and grooving in no time! At Mystic Mountain, you can go for guided walks, spend some time in the infinity pool, go ziplining, bobsled, and more.
In Ocho Rios, one of the best places for a bicycling tour is the Blue Mountains. A great option for a bicycling tour in this area is the Island Routes Bicycle Adventure. This tour provides the opportunity to explore the scenic Blue Mountains, which are 3,901-ft high. Not only will you be able to exercise and have some fun, but you’ll also be able to learn about various herbs and plants as you make your way along the course. The cherries on top of this incredible adventure are the waterfall you can cool off in and the tasty brunch!
Shaw Park Gardens is high up in the hills of Ocho Rios and a visit here is ideal if you’re looking for a beautiful and tranquil spot to unwind. Truly a sanctuary, Shaw Park Gardens is filled with exotic flowers and plants, lily-topped ponds, and even waterfalls. Size-wise, the entire property where Shaw Park Gardens is located is about 25 acres. While exploring this area, you’re likely to see a wide variety of birds including Jamaica’s national bird, the doctor bird (swallow-tailed hummingbird). Shaw Park Gardens is best explored with a guide who will be able to share some insight into all the amazing things you’ll see.
Good to know: Shaw Park Gardens is a short distance from downtown Ocho Rios.
Next on the list of exotic and beautiful locations is Turtle River Falls and Gardens in Ocho Rios. This natural attraction spans 15 acres and it is filled with the most vibrant blooms. Within this property, you’ll find 14 waterfalls, multiple natural pools, hammocks, a koi pond, and an aviary. If you visit the aviary, you’ll be able to hand-feed the birds and some might even settle on your arms if you keep them outstretched. Guided tours are recommended at Turtle River Falls as there's just so much to do!
Expert tip: Bring swimwear for a visit to Turtle River Falls if you plan on taking a dip.
Not every Caribbean island offers Bamboo River Rafting tours, but Jamaica certainly does. This romantic, couple-friendly activity can be kept high on your list of authentic Jamaican excursions to try, and it involves drifting down a river on a 30-ft bamboo raft. Highlights of the Bamboo River Rafting adventure in Ocho Rios include fruity welcome drinks, and the chance to stroll through Rafter’s Village and explore Martha’s Herb Garden ahead of your voyage. Try to get a dose of all of these things before setting off on your raft. Once you take off down the river with your captain, you’ll be completely captivated by the jade-green waters of the Martha Brae River, the sight of the colorful birds overhead, and all the interesting things to see.
Good to know: At Martha’s Herb Garden, you can learn about some of the Jamaican herbs that are well known for their medicinal and healing properties.
Get familiar with the flavors of Jamaica by signing up for a cooking class while on the island. One of the best options for this tour is the Taste of Jamaica Cooking Class and Estate Tour which happens at one of the island’s oldest estates, Prospect Plantation. This tour includes the chance to learn to make various Jamaican favorites including jerk chicken, steamed callaloo, and festival. All of this happens inside the Great House where Chef Irie leads the way with his culinary expertise. Once the cooking is done, lunch is served beneath a large tree out on the lawn. Before or after lunch participants in this culinary experience can stroll through the gardens and explore the property.
If you want to explore Ocho Rios by car without actually taking out a rental, you can sign up for the Mini-Routes 'Drive Your Own' Adventure Half Day Ocho Rios adventure. For this tour, you'll drive your own Mini Cooper along with the rest of the fleet (your tour group) as you follow an experienced guide and stop at some of the best spots in and around Ocho Rios.
The first stop on the Drive Your Own Adventure tour is Dunn’s River Falls where you can climb the falls and relax in the natural pools. After that, it's off to explore some of the other hotspots in Ocho Rios including a famous local restaurant. As you’ll realize just as soon as this tour gets underway, there really is nothing “mini” about it!
Have you been thinking about what it would be like to try something that’s midway between scuba diving and snorkeling? If so, you might want to give SNUBA® diving a try while in Jamaica! This is one of the easiest ways to make the most of an underwater experience and you'll still be able to go deeper than you would with just snorkeling (up to around 20ft deep). Another plus is that you won’t need any training or pool classes, and definitely no heavy tanks! Your SNUBA® experience in Ocho Rios will be part of a guided tour which means you’ll be supervised by a trained instructor the entire time.
Jamaica is one of the Caribbean islands where endangered sea turtles visit annually at certain times of the year to lay their eggs. A turtle-watching adventure in Ocho Rios is a good idea if you’re interested in turtle hatching, conservation, and the preservation of wildlife, or if you just want to do something mellow and nature-oriented. Island Routes has a great Turtle Watching Tour in Ocho Rios. In fact, Island Routes, The Sandals Foundation and local turtle conservation groups in Jamaica work together to watch over the turtles to help them reach the water safely. Proceeds from the Turtle Watching Tour help the Oracabessa Foundation in its conservation efforts. All of this makes the tour more than worth it, and it’ll be fun too!
If you've ever wanted to try a zipline adventure, Jamaica’s a great place to do it. In the Ocho Rios area, you can sign up for the Zipline/Canopy from Ocho Rios. This excursion gets underway at the White River Valley. You’ll soar through the treetops on eight different ziplines that range from 150 to 820 ft long. As you zip along this exhilarating course, you’ll also get to take in the amazing views of the valley and the White River below. Once you’re back on solid ground, you can shop around in the gift shop for souvenirs or purchase a tasty Jamaican lunch.
Konoko Falls is another popular waterfall worth visiting in Jamaica. If you’re in the Ocho Rios area, you won't have a hard time making your way to this waterfall where relaxing and fun moments await. If you're looking for a tour of this waterfall, you might like to try the Konoko Falls Rainforest Trek. Not only does this tour come with the chance to visit Konoko Falls, but you'll also get to visit a botanical garden, a museum, and a bird aviary. This tour also includes a cooking demonstration that revolves around creating delicious jerk meals. You’ll get to enjoy an authentic Jamaican meal as well which will be the perfect way to round up an island adventure.
Jamaica has some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. As this island is quite popular, if you want an all-inclusive vacation, you might need to book months in advance. Couples who want a romantic all-inclusive vacation in Jamaica should be specific about their needs and wants as there are quite a few Caribbean resorts on this island.
There are some great options of couple’s oriented all-inclusive resorts in Ocho Rios. That list includes Sandals Ochi which has an extensive list of quality inclusions and even airport transfers for guests. Sandals Ochi has 16 restaurants, 11 bars including swim-up bars, loads of entertainment day and night, a wide choice of land and water sports, and so many other things couples can enjoy. Your all-inclusive vacation at this resort can be as action-packed or relaxing as you want it to be, which is absolutely more than enough reason to stay at an all-inclusive resort while in Ocho Rios.
Ever wondered about the rum-making process? If the answer is yes, you might want to schedule a tour of one of the estates where rum is made in Jamaica. A popular option is Hampden Estate which is a distillery that was established in the 1750s. This distillery is home to award-winning rums like Rum Fire and Hampden Estate Gold. During your tour, you'll be able to taste test these and other options, particularly with the Hampden Estate Rum Tour by Island Routes. Aside from rum tasting, you’ll also be able to explore some of the acreage here and the Great House as well. Pay special attention to the details about how rum-making has evolved over the years on this island!
Good to know: Hampden Estate is roughly 30 minutes from Jamaica’s cruise hub in Falmouth.
A romantic couple’s day out in Jamaica can begin with a beach horseback riding adventure. This will be an interesting variation to a regular horseback ride as this tour literally ends on a sunny, gorgeous beach. As part of this tour in Jamaica, you'll ride along the coast atop your horse with a tour group, or you can ask about a Private Horseback Beach Ride.
There are various tour operators that offer beach horse riding adventures, but Island Routes’ tour includes a visit to the Seville Great House Museum. You'll ride past a sugar factory's ruins and also to the former home of an ancient Taino Indian tribe. Along the way, you'll get to see archaeological excavations and when you finally get to the beach, you'll be more than ready for some refreshments and an ocean walk with your house. Bring sunblock, a hat, a swimsuit, and sunglasses.
If you’ve never been on an ATV dune buggy, Jamaica is an incredible place to try this for the first time. This tour is perfect for couples looking for some excitement who also want to see some of the most scenic parts of Jamaica. Island Routes offers ATV dune buggy tours including the North Coast Ultimate Adventure which includes driving through one of Jamaica’s oldest estates. You can choose between the Mud Buggies which can hold two people and the ATVs which are best for a single rider. Use these vehicles to explore the unique trails in this area.
As part of the North Coast Ultimate Adventure, after visiting the estate, you’ll ride an open-air jitney to a secluded river. You’ll have plenty of time along the way to take in the picturesque views of the countryside. This tour includes spending some time by the river and visiting a blue hole. A camel park adventure, a stop at a Georgian Great House, a Jamaican food tutorial, a buffet-style lunch, and a visit to a bird aviary bring this tour to a close.
The Blue Hole will likely be one of the first recommendations you get once you arrive in Jamaica. This attraction is just about 25 minutes from Ocho Rios, and a visit here affords the opportunity to rope swing into the clearest, bluest, natural pool. The natural pools in this area are fed by waterfalls that cascade down the mountains, so as you can imagine, this is quite the paradisiacal location. The Blue Hole is sometimes called the Irie Blue Hole. Exploring the Blue Hole with a guide is a great idea. You’ll also want to wear water shoes to protect your feet and keep from slipping on the rocks.
From The Blue Hole, the Luminous Lagoon, and Yaaman Park all the way to the Club Mobay Lounge, there's just so much to do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica! As with everything else, the activities you choose from this list will depend on personal preference. Time will also be a factor, so try to do the things you love most, first. Whatever you decide to do, you’re bound to have a memorable and romantic vacation with that special someone in Jamaica!
Expert tip: There are many benefits to staying at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica starting with the fact that all-inclusive vacations tend to be more stress-free. All the finer details are handled before you get there so once you arrive at your destination you can just relax and totally sink into vacay mode!