Ocho Rios

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Ocho Rios was once the traditional, "sleepy" fishing village, known for its banana and bauxite exports. Today, this high-density town has been specifically developed as a resort area. Filled with hotels, resorts, condominium complexes, office buildings, and shopping centers, this vacation spot on the north shore of Jamaica has the island's largest hotel (720 rooms in the Jamaica Grande), and food offerings ranging from gourmet to Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, and Shakey's Pizza.

The locals call it Ochi, and despite the incredible growth of recent years, the town is, nevertheless, set in the spectacular Jamaican landscape. Ocho Rios literally means "eight rivers" in Spanish, but the name might also have derived from "las chorreras," which means "the spouts," or "waterfalls." Since there are many waterfalls in the area, this is an explanation that makes some sense.

Ocho Rios and Tourism

The town itself is a sizable bowl with a backdrop of lush, green hills. The harbor is sheltered by a reef, and has room for three cruise ships to dock simultaneously. Every year, at least 400,000 passengers visit Ocho Rios from these ships, so resident guests might want to check with locals about working their itinerary around the arrival of these groups.

Located near some of Jamaica's most famous natural attractions, this town provides a great base for exploring the beauty of the island. Jamaica resorts and hotels offer all inclusive Jamaica vacations, which include meals and recreation in one total. One of the most enjoyable ways to experience this region is by renting Jamaica villas, which offer seclusion yet proximity to the activities of the town.

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