In & Around Ocho Rios Port
Until cruise ships arrived, Ocho Rios was a sleepy little fishing village. Now, with two major piers for cruise ships, its become one of the hottest destinations in the Caribbean.
Located on the northern coast of Jamaica, the port of Ocho Rios is just a short walk from the main town. Your ship will dock at either Turtle Bay Pier or James Bond Pier a little further west.
The cruise ship terminal recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. Its the perfect entry point to the nearby Ocean Village and Taj Mahal Duty-Free Shopping Centers. Theres also a small beach nearby that you can access for a modest fee.
Bonus tip: You might hear the locals refer to their town as Ochi, the unofficial nickname of Ocho Rios.
Turtle Bay Cruise Pier
Most ships dock at the Turtle Bay cruise dock. This pier was specifically build to welcome cruise ships at Ocho Rios. The dock is located in front of the town. At the end of the dock you will find a small tourist information, taxi stand, Margaritaville and a shopping road leading to town. The cruise dock is approximately a 5 minute walk or 900 meter/yard walk to the city centre.
Shopping Near The Ocho Rios Cruise Port
If youre hoping to do some retail therapy while in port on a cruise to Ocho Rios, youre in luck. The cruise port offers a number of different places to shop, some of which are within walking distance. Head to the Taj Mahal Duty-Free Shopping Center for some great deals. Island Village and Ocean Village Shopping Center are also great spots to find souvenirs and local fashions. Popular souvenirs include rum, coffee, Cuban cigars, and artwork and handicrafts by local artists.
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Transportation In Ocho Rios
A great way to get around while stopped on a cruise to Ocho Rios is to hop on a local bus. They are much more affordable than taxis and make for an interesting way to travel. In Ocho Rios, there are two types of taxis: local taxis and tourist taxis. Local taxis are cheaper and follow a specific route. Theyll pick up anyone along the way going that route, so be aware that youll share the taxi with others. Tourist taxis operate as typical taxis do, with a specified location provided by the passenger. Regardless of which option you choose, be sure its an official taxi with a red license plate and fixed tariffs.
Horseback Ride Into The Sea
The only thing that might top a horseback ride through the thick tropical forest or along a white sandy beach would be riding your house into the sea itself. The actual time spent on the horse in the water wont be very long, but a ride through crystal clear blue waters is one of those quintessential Caribbean images that stay with you. There will be plenty of entertaining ride time on land before or after the dip into the sea. Both beginners and more advanced riders can take part in one of these tours and there are several vendors offering this type of ride. Jamaica Cruise Excursions and Chukka are two.
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Ocho Rios Cruise Port Map
Ocho Rios is a moderate-sized resort city with a moderate amount of things to do and other points of interest within the cruise port area.
The cruise port and terminal are just to the east of the city. Even so, cruise passengers will find a decent amount of shopping and restaurants near the docks.
The most popular attraction within walking distance is Ocho Rios Bay Beach. The beach is a 10-minute walk to the east of the port. Just look to the left on arriving at the docks.
Ocho Rios Craft Market on Main Street is a half mile or about a 10-minute walk to the east of both the beach and the cruise docks. The market has the usual goods for sale at a Caribbean market: crafts, carvings, folk jewelry, recordings, t-shirts and souvenirs.
Note that Main Street also has many other shopping and dining places.
Turtle River Falls and Gardens on Eden Bower Road is a 15-acre tropical garden with 14 cascading waterfalls. The gardens are about a half mile or a 10-minute walk south of the docks. Tickets are $20 per person and $10 for children ages 11 and under.
Ocho Rios Jamaica Faqs
Now that you know so many amazing things to do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, you probably cant wait to start choosing your shore excursions. Before you make your final selections, though, lets answer a few common FAQs about Ocho Rios travel.
How Close Is the Cruise Port to Ocho Rios?
Youll be happy to know that both piers in Ocho Rios are within easy walking distance from the town. The port area has been designed with the traveler in mind and features plenty of shopping centers, restaurants, and duty-free stores.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Ocho Rios?
Jamaica is beautiful year-round, but youre likely to encounter the best weather between December and March. Of course, this is also the high season when Jamaica receives the most visitors. If you book a cruise during hurricane season , be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast!
Whats the Weather Like in Ocho Rios?
Jamaica is a tropical nation thats warm, sunny, and humid year-round. Temperatures remain in the 80s during the day and the 70s at night throughout the year. The winter months tend to be drier, while afternoon thunderstorms are common throughout the summer and autumn months.
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Turtle Bay Pier And Cruise Terminal
The primary pier, known as Turtle Bay Pier, has enough space for two mid-sized cruise ships to moor. However, this pier is used by only one mega-ship. The Turtle Bay Pier is used exclusively by cruise ships and is the nearest to downtown.
If docking at the Turtle Bay Pier, which has a T shape, the cruise traveler will walk less than 300 feet from the gangway to a terminal-secured area.
Walking the Turtle Bay Pier – Ocho Rios
The exit gates open into a wide street lined on the left side by a couple of condominiums/hotels and on the right by a few shops and bars. This road is around 300 feet long and ends on the Main Street of Ocho Rios.
Blue Mountain Cafe by the Terminal
Inside the secured area of the Turtle Bay Terminal, there are a few services and amenities, including an Information Kiosk, a shaded waiting area and a small but excellent coffee house with outside seating serving Blue Mountain Coffee and offering free Wi-Fi. On the right side, there is a tour dispatch area and once outside the gates a taxi stand with officially rated fares.
Tourist Information at the Terminal
Cruises To Jamaica And Other Beach Destinations
Enjoy the island spirit on a cruise to Jamaica and other Caribbean destinations.
The island of Jamaica is one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. After all, Jamaica gave us reggae, Bob Marley, jerk chicken, and Blue Mountain coffee. A number of cruise lines stop in Jamaica, and the island is unique in that there are three main cruise ports: Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Falmouth. In addition, there’s Port Antonio on the northeastern coast although it’s not suitable for most large ships, boutique cruise lines and private yachts stop there.
There’s something for everyone in Jamaica, whether their interest is discovering the island’s pirate history or British colonial past, rum tasting, or exploring rivers, waterfalls, and rainforests. From hiking to relaxing on a white-sand beach, cruisers can find their happy place in Jamaica. James Bond fans might be interested to know that wrote his novels in Jamaica, and that scenes in the first 007 film, “Dr. No,” were filmed in Kingston.
Whatever piques your interest in Jamaica, a day on the island can be the highlight of a Caribbean cruise. We have checked out some cruises to Jamaica, and here are just a few of many options that vary in length, price, ship, departure point, and date.
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Additional Tips For Ocho Rios
- Private Tour Guides
Gas is incredibly expensive in Jamaica so getting around isnt cheap. Arranging for a private guide or driver for the day is usually the most economical way to get around during your visit if you plan on doing independent excursions. The larger your party, the better the rates will be as most drivers use vans or minibusses.
- Start your day early
Jamaica has three cruise ports, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Falmouth. The most popular excursions get extremely busy, especially on days when there are a lot of ships visiting. It will be a better experience when you schedule your visits to these spots as early in the day and arrive before the rest of the cruisers do.
This guest post was written by Melissa Lagerquist.
Learn the cruise secrets most people don’t know and cruise like a boss. Check out Intelligent Cruiser here for a better cruise vacation.
Catamaran Sail And Snorkel
Everyone knows that catamaran sailboats are cool. They have wide decks, making them an ideal venue for large groups, parties, and snorkel excursions. You can have all three at once on a shared or private catamaran trip around Montego Bay.
If you prefer scuba diving, feel free to indulge yourself off the coast of MoBay in the Montego Bay Marine Park.
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Ocho Rios Cruise Port: Tips Excursions And Weather
|Ocho Rios harbor. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license|
Ocho Rios cruise port visitors will find it is one of the best destinations for attractions and things to do on the island of Jamaica.
The town is a popular cruise port as well as a popular all-inclusive resort destination. It is one of three major resort areas along with Montego Bay on the northwest coast and Negril on the far western tip of Jamaica.
Ocho Rios is a common port of call on western Caribbean cruises. Five- and six-day cruises often embark from Miami or other Florida cruise ports and visit Ocho Rios in addition to Grand Cayman and possibly Cozumel. Longer cruises embark from Florida and Gulf Coast ports such as Galveston and New Orleans.
Cruise ships go to Ocho Rios because of its pristine beaches, mountainous shoreline and garden-like scenery. It also has a famous natural attraction.
Unwind At The Bamboo Beach Club
Speaking of relaxing, theres only one place to go when youre done with your Ocho Rios excursions. The Bamboo Beach Club boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Jamaica.
Enjoy complimentary beach chairs and unlimited food and drinks beneath the swaying palm trees. Theres always live entertainment in the form of reggae, steel drums, or other Caribbean favorites.
Splurge on a VIP package to enjoy your own private cabana away from the crowd. Watch as your chef grills up jerk chicken, fresh-caught seafood, and other tantalizing Jamaican cuisines. After this rockstar treatment, you may never want to return to the ship!
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Local Currency & Tipping Customs
Jamaicas official currency is the Jamaican Dollar, and youll see prices listed with J$ before the number to designate that this is the currency being used. Smaller currency amounts are handed out via coins instead of bills. U.S. dollars are also often accepted at businesses around Ocho Rios and the rest of Jamaica. If you need cash, look for the ABM sign instead of ATM. Youll find several ABM machines throughout Ocho Rios. Tipping is expected here, and you can follow the custom youre likely used to at home of about 15% to 20% of the total bill.
Opening Hours And Holidays:
Shopping hours Stores in Jamaica are typically open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday. Some stores closer to the cruise terminal may stay open later if a few ships are in town
New Year’s Day – or in case New Year falls on Sunday then the day after Year’s Day.
National Labour Day – 23rd of May provided that if the 23rd day of May falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, Labour Day shall be kept on the Monday following.
Emancipation Day – August 1
National Heroes Day – third Monday in October
Christmas Day – December 25
Boxing Day – the day after Christmas Day or when Christmas Day falls on a Sunday then 26th and 27th of December
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Ocho Rios Telephone Information
Travelers with American or Canadian cell phone plans should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming and other charges when their phones or other digital devices are used in Jamaica. Check with your carrier for the precise details.
Using your US or Canadian cell phone while you’re lounging on the beach in Jamaica is easy–it’s just like using your phone back home.
Country Code: 1
Area Code for Ocho Rios : 876
Jamaica belongs to the North American Numbering System calling another phone is just like a call youd make from one area code to another in the US or Canada.
Local Phone Numbers have seven digits: XXX-XXXX
To call Ocho Rios from the US or Canada: dial 1-876-XXX-XXXX
Ocho Rios Cruise Port
Ocho Rios cruise terminal consists of two piers where large cruise ships dock: Turtle Bay pier and James Bond pier .
Turtle Bay cruise pier is the main pier located in front of the downtown. It can accommodate either one large cruise vessel or two mid-sized cruise ships.
The cruise terminal features a small tourist information booth, a taxi stand, a shaded tour dispatch area and a small coffee shop where you can try the famous Blue Mountain Coffee. Upon exiting the terminal, youll see numerous eateries and bars including the renowned Margaritaville, and in less than 5 minutes walk you will reach Main Street where youll find shops, bars, supermarkets as well as several city landmarks, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the beautiful Methodist Church.
Parallel to Main Street and left from the terminal, youll come across the beautiful Ocho Rios Bay Beach boasting soft white sand, crystal clear turquoise water and watersport activities.
James Bond cruise pier, also known as Reynolds Pier, is located further, around 800 meters from Ocho Rios downtown. It is a commercial industrial pier used by both cruise and cargo ships.
James Bond pier doesnt have facilities, except for the small parking area for tour buses and taxis. To reach Ocho Rios downtown, turn left from the exit of the terminal and walk approximately 15 minutes along the waterfront sidewalk.
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Unforgettable Ocho Rios Excursions
Join one of our Ocho Rios excursions to explore this Caribbean port town located on Jamaica’s beautiful north coast. Ocho Rios, which is Spanish for “Eight Rivers,” was the first place where Christopher Columbus visited when traveling to the New World. Up until recently, Ocho Rios was primarily known as a fishing destination. However, thanks to its natural beauty and Caribbean island atmosphere, Ocho Rios has become one of the top sightseeing destinations to visit in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Ocho Rios is also a short scenic drive to Nine Mile , St. Ann’s Bay, Fern Gully, Falmouth, and the resort hub Montego Bay.
We offer a wide variety of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, shore excursions to suit any traveler’s activity level. Experience one of Jamaica’s most popular attractions, the famous Dunn’s River Falls, by way of catamaran cruise. On your way there, you can enjoy some snorkeling to get you in the adventurous spirit. Once you arrive at the beautiful cascading waterfalls, you’ll experience whitewater river rafting, kayaking, river tubing, and even horseback riding. For the more daring traveler, you can add to the excitement by climbing Dunn’s River Falls and zip-lining over them.
If you are looking for an Ocho Rios shore excursion beyond typical Jamaican sightseeing, we recommend the Bob Marley Reggae tour, which explores the life and times of Bob Marley, as well as reggae music”s roots around Jamaica. This is a truly unique Jamaican cultural experience that you’ll never forget.
Go Tubing Down The White River
The White River is a bit of a misnomer, as the limestone bedrock filters impurities and turns the water a spectacular blue color. The best way to experience the river is to climb into a tube and enjoy a leisurely float through the forest.
All youll need to bring is your water shoes and a waterproof camera the tour operator will provide the tube and safety equipment. After a long, winding road into the mountains, youll enjoy a relaxing float trip from the comfort of your personal tube.
The river is mostly calm, although there are a few stretches of small rapids. Some operators offer bamboo rafting on the White River, so its worth comparing the options to see which is more appealing to you. There are some tours that offer more than just White River tubing, with more adventures in the forest.
After floating for a few miles, youll return to shore and finish your excursion with some delicious Jamaican jerk.
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Take The Bob Marley Nine Mile Tour
Not far from Ocho Rios is a little village called Nine Mile, located in Saint Ann Parish. Music fans will recognize these names and associate them with the legendary reggae musician Bob Marley.
Hop aboard the Zion Bus and ride through the countryside while you listen to famous reggae tunes. Youll learn fascinating facts about Bob Marleys life and music, as well as insight into the Rastafarian religion and reggae culture. You check the details of the Nine Mile Tour here.
When you arrive at Nine Mile, youll tour the museum and mausoleum where Bob Marley was laid to rest. Youll also get a guided tour around the iconic village where he grew up.