Ocho Rios was once a sleepy fishing village, but today it’s a vacation destination of beaches and resorts. If you’re thinking of aquamarine waters, palm trees, and white sandy beaches, this is the part of Jamaica you would love to visit.
Beaches Ocho Rios Resort is one of the best places to stay, whether you’re traveling as a couple or with your family. It’s an all-inclusive vacation destination, which means that almost everything is included with your room, like food and drinks. Everything you need is in one place: a private beach, an amazing complex of five pools, a golf course, and a 22-acre tropical garden.
The Beaches Ocho Rios Resort is also one of the places where you can spot the cast of Sesame Street. Kids can take a nature walk with Big Bird, catch a story with Elmo, and hunt for treasure with Oscar the Grouch.
You can also get a character to tuck your child into bed, show up at breakfast, or pose for a special photo shoot. The VIP packages are not included in the resort price, but most of them are around $50-$80.
Kids will also enjoy the Xbox Play Lounge, or playing the arcade games at Trench Town. Club Liquid is a hangout spot for older teens, and younger kids can get some supervised play time at the kids camp (if their parents need a break).
The Beaches Ocho Rios resort offers lots of water sports, such as kayaking, windsurfing, and snorkeling. If you want to go a little deeper, certified divers can check out some of the best reefs and shipwrecks in the Caribbean (after all, the most famous pirates came to Jamaica to bury their treasure and drink rum).
The teen lounge, Club Liquid, becomes a full on club for adults at night. There are also fitness classes and a full service Red Lane Spa, along with lots of boutique shopping in the hotel. Beaches also knows how to throw a party for people of all ages, with swim-up bars, beach bonfires, live music, and themed nights.
You won’t have to leave the resort to find something good to eat. The Venetian is an Italian-themed eatery with some old world decor, nice enough for a quick dinner date and casual enough to bring the family. If you’re looking to take a break from the kids and catch a romantic seafood dinner by the water, Neptune’s has an amazing menu of ocean treasures bedecked with Mediterranean flavor. Alternatively, if a taste of French cuisine is your dating preference, pull up a chair and raise a glass at La Parisienne.
Bayside offers a great poolside buffet for lunch and dinner, and Bar.B.Q. Park is the place to go for savory, mouth-watering comfort food. For even more casual, a la carte dining options, grab some pizza at Bella Napoli or a crepe at Josephine’s Creperie. Probably the best part about all these dining options is that they’re included in the price of your room—and so is a selection of libations including Robert Mondavi Wines, Appleton Estate Rums, and Blue Mountain Coffee.
Once you’ve checked out all the hotel has to offer in terms of activities and food, you may want to venture outside the hotel. Here are a few fun and safe things to do nearby:
Despite the meaning of its Spanish name, there aren’t really eight rivers in Ochos Rios. It may have come from the Spanish word for waterfalls—Las Chorreras—a fitting name for its proximity to Dunn’s River Falls. Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica’s national treasures! This waterfall is longer than it is tall, creating an incredible one hour, splash-filled trek that you can do with the help of guides.
If you don’t feel like wading through the terraced lagoons and waterfalls, there are stairs by the side of the waterfall. Keep in mind that you’ll need to wear clothing that can get wet, and bring some water shoes; if you’re not walking up the stairs, this is a splash-filled activity over sometimes rocky terrain.
If you’ve ever wanted to bobsled through the jungle, Mystic Mountain is your chance. You’ll get to the top of the 700-foot crag on a chairlift, which can then take you back down through the jungle canopy. If you feel like you can handle a more exhilarating descent, zip down the half-mile bobsled pipeline and relive the movie Cool Runnings (sort of).
There’s also a cool zip line that will take your through the jungle foliage. Keep in mind that Mystic Mountain Rainforest Adventures is closer to the Cruise Ship Terminal, which is around 30 minutes away from the Beaches resort.
Caribbean Adventure Tours
Outside of the resorts, Jamaica can be a bit of a difficult place to navigate, even for experienced travelers. Let the concierge at the Beaches resort do the planning for you with their selection of Caribbean Adventure Tours. Whether you like deep-sea fishing or zipping through the Blue Mountains in a coupe convertible (or on a bike), or swimming with dolphins, the concierge can help you get off the beaten path.