Located in the middle of Jamaica’s lush north coast, halfway between the famed beaches of Negril on the western end and the adventure hub, Port Antonio, to the east, Ocho Rios has long been a tourist magnet. In the 1950s what is now the all-inclusive Couples Tower Isle was a hip hang-out for movie stars; today, Ocho Rios boasts a string of all-inclusive hotels, and a harbor that can support three cruise ships at a time, making it one of Jamaica’s top destinations for visitors.
Visitors have a choice of several unique adventure activities during their trip to ocho rios jamaica, including ziplining, hiking Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaican-style “bobsledding,” and sailing on a Catamaran.
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1. Dunn’s River Falls
Jamaica’ s number 1 tourist attraction is Dunn’s River Falls, a series of waterfalls that plummet 700 feet down from the tropical hills that rise from the Caribbean. The park is located just a few minutes outside of town. Figure about two hours for the outing, which includes scrambling up the rocky “trails” around the falls.
Bring a bathing suit and good shoes (flip flops are a mistake), and tread carefully: The wet rocks can be slick, and accidents are not uncommon.
Note: There is no ziplining at Dunn’s River Falls; the Ocho Rios zipline is nearby, at Mystic Mountain. Travelers who want to zipline over a Jamaican waterfall have to travel several hours to Y.S. Falls on the South Coast.
2. Jamaican Bobsledding and Ziplining at Mystic Mountain, Ocho Rios
The Mystic Mountain Sky Explorer serenely makes its way 700 feet above the rainforest floor. This quad ski lift is as out of place in the rainforest as the first Jamaican bobsled team was sliding down a curving chute of icy snow in the 1988 Olympics. From the top, visitors can try the rainforest version of the event and ride a nearly mile-long metal track down the mountain. Riders control the speed via a hand brake, for a thrilling ride of more than 3o miles per hour.
In addition to the ski lift and the bobsled, Mystic Mountain also boasts a 10-element zip-line course, where visitors can swing over the jungle within sight of the Caribbean. Also on site is small museum of exhibits about Jamaica (including history, rum-making, the environment, and sports, to name just a few disparate topics). Admission prices vary, depending on whether the visitor wants a pass to the entire park, just the zip line, or just the bobsled.
3. Swimming With Dolphins
Located right next door to Dunn’s River Falls is Dolphin Cove, which offers glass bottom kayaking, snorkeling, roulette methodes, swimming with stingrays, a shark show, jungle trails, and (the top attraction) the chance to swim with dolphins.
None of the programs are particularly affordable: Prices range up to $200 U.S. for a dolphin encounter with a small group, in which visitors swim with, touch, and can even be towed by a dolphin. Encounters last up to about 45 minutes. But for those who can afford it, swimming with dolphins is a lifetime highlight.
4. Catamaran Sailing
Catamaran rides are available both through individual hotels and cruise ship shore excursion bookings. Don’t expect a small, gentle peaceful ride here: These are 50-foot long party boats with names like “Cool Runnings” stocked with coolers full of Red Stripe and rum punch. The rides are especially thrilling on a day with white caps, as the boat climbs swells of 10 feet or more, and then plummets down the other side. Sit in the front to get thrills (and soaking wet).
The boats usually stop for some snorkeling or swimming. Expect dance music and a mandate to come back to the dock with everyone on board up and dancing.
In addition, other Ocho Rios activities include all kinds of water sports: SCUBA, snorkeling, sea kayaking, fun boats of all descriptions. Also available are tours to Bob Marley’s birthplace, and hiking excursions farther afield into the mountains. And of course, at the end of the day, there’s always beach-sitting and sunset viewing.
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5. Must-See Water Attractions in Ocho Rios
The town offers some unique and natural occurring water attractions that are a must see for any traveler. Among some of the most popular attractions is The Dunn’s Rivers Waterfalls, river tubing and swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Cove.
6. Swim with Dolphins (at Dolphin Cove)
Dolphin Cove is another must see attraction for visitors to Ocho Rios. It offers three exciting dolphin, shark and stingray encounter programs. Patrons get a chance to swim with, feed, and generally interact with the gentle and friendly dolphins, under the supervision of a trained professional of course. The property itself is a wonderfully fabulous replica of the infamous Port Royal, from a period when pirates would roam the Caribbean Sea.
When patrons are done playing with the dolphins, they can interact with exotic birds, snakes and other animals on the Jungle Trail or just relax on one of Ocho Rios’ finest beaches.
Those who have been dreaming of working with dolphins, sharks and stingrays can consider signing up for the 4hour or 8hour “Sea Keeper for a Day” program. The program gives vacationers an opportunity to go behind the scenes and get some hands on dolphin training sessions. They will also get to see how the animals are fed and cared for by their trainers. The less adventurous can opt to watch the spectacular “SHARK SHOW” from dry land.
7. Dunn’s Rivers Waterfalls
Dunn’s River Waterfalls is Jamaica’s signature water attraction. It is location about a mile outside the Ocho Rios town center and offers visitors a rare chance to climb gushing waterfalls; it is a must see attraction for visitors to Ocho Rios. The climb starts on a beach and ascends on a gentle slope; there are guides on hand who will help individuals and groups to climb the falls, if they so desire, but having a guide is not a requirement.
Guides are there to help visitors to climb the falls. In most cases, they will instruct groups of climbers to hold hand and climb the falls in a chain. The falls is not treacherous at all, so a first time visitor can easily climb the falls without assistance. Actually, the experience is much better when you can climb at your own pace, and have both hands free to assist you in the climb.
8. River tubing
The river tubing and kayak rides take vacationers along the White River starting at The Old Spanish Bridge that was built by Jamaica’s original European inhabitants in the seventeenth century. From there tubers paddle their way through the gentle rapids and crystal clear pools under a canopy of lush tropical vegetation.
On the way down the river, tubers will pass people wandering the grounds, on the riverbank, or just enjoying one of the rivers large natural pools. But not far from the tranquility of these pools tubers will hear peels of joy as river explorers make their way down the next series of rapids.
The adventure comes to an end under the shade of the Bamboo Cathedral arches. From there tubers enter the beautifully landscaped gardens of the Village of Flowers where they can browse the gift shop or listen to Caribbean music while refreshing themselves at the Bar.
9. Other Things to do
Jamaica has a plethora of things to do and places to see, no doubt. But by-and-large the island is marketed as a sun and sea paradise with many water attractions for tourists to see. However, those who would like a dry adventure can try other vacationing hot spots such as bobsledding at Mystic Mountain or dog sledding at Chukka Cove.
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