Ocho Rios Off The Beaten Path

  • Entrance to Marley house at Nine Mile
    Entrance to Marley house at Nine Mile
    by toonsarah
  • Capt Crazy and cousin of Bob Marley
    Capt Crazy and cousin of Bob Marley
    by toonsarah
  • Noel Coward's Living Room at
    Noel Coward's Living Room at "Firefly."
    by INTPHOTO

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Ocho Rios

  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    Check out the Lime Mill

    by tpangelinan Written Jul 4, 2004

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    On the way from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios, the cab driver pulled over the side of the road, kinda had us wondering what he was up to. Driver got out openned Terry's door and start to explain to us about this old Lime Mill, plus it gave us a strech with a beautiful view. Also near the bottom of the path there is a grave stone site of a poet Elizabeth Barret Browning. She rests in peace with a beautiful view. Jamaicans love to tell stories, these can be great pices of info to learn about their culture, so we are always happy to listen.

    Old Lime Mill
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    The Blue Mountains of Jamaica

    by tpangelinan Written Jul 4, 2004

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    No matter if you horseback through the blue mountains or driving around them, they are beautiful and full of life. This photo does them no justice, the trees are full and lush. You can see the coffee fields up on the mountain, coconut and banana fields at the bottom along the way. It can be scary taking your eyes off the road as your drive goes 70MPH plus on a tiny back road, but if you can release your death grip from what ever your holding on to, grab your camera and snap one off your lucky.

    The Blue Mountains
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    Jungle trail tour

    by tpangelinan Written Jul 4, 2004

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    Go on the Jungle Trail Tour at Dolphins Cove, the guides are very knowledgeable, good and friendly. The kids really enjoy this tour and it's interactive too, you can touch the critters and birds, even be apart of the show. The guides take you from the ocean and talking about many sea creature then up through the tropical forest to see snakes, lizards, birds and other fun stuff. The tour is free when you pay for a swim at Dolphins Cove.

    Jungle trail tour
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    Boats on the beach

    by tpangelinan Written Jul 4, 2004

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    This is so cool to see, the colorful boats lined up along the beach. That's the real Jamaica, small shack made of plywood painted many diferent colors, right on the water, grill going, ahh you can smell the jerk cookin'. That seems like heaven, doesn't it

    Boats on the beach
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    Nine Mile

    by toonsarah Updated Nov 27, 2009

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    Elsewhere I’ve recommended the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, which is certainly well worth a visit, but if you only have time for one Bob Marley tour I think I would opt for this one. Nine Mile is the small village in the hills of St Ann’s Parish where Marley was born and is now buried (following Jamaican tradition on burial in a plot on your own ground rather than a cemetery). As with the Kingston museum, the tour here is a well-packaged operation but no less enjoyable for that.

    On arrival you’re directed to park in a small walled compound – look out for locals trying to sell ganja smokes through any crack in the wall! Up a short flight of steps is the house that belonged to Marley’s maternal grandmother, which is where he was born. Here you buy your tickets for the tour (US$15 per person) and wait for the obligatory guide in a room filled with memorabilia (posters, gold and platinum discs etc.) I think we were lucky in the guide allocated to our small party, the amazing Captain Crazy – if you want to meet a real character you might like to ask if he’s available. He has the most extraordinary laugh – at first irritating, later infectious – and kept us entertained throughout the tour. You can see him in photo 2 singing a Marley song to Javier on the steps outside the mausoleum.

    Marley’s music infused this tour in a way that was perhaps missing on the Kingston one; Capt. Crazy sang various lines from time to time, and we were told that a guy playing some of the tunes on a banjo was one of Marley’s cousins (I imagine most people in the village might legitimately make that claim) and had given him his first guitar – see photo 3.

    From the main house we climbed a steep path past his grandparents’ graves to the small house higher up the hill where he grew up, living there until moving to Kingston with his mother and siblings at the age of 13. Inside are a couple of rooms, including one with the “single bed” immortalised in the lyrics of “Is this love?” where we were encouraged to pose for photos (photo 4). Near the house is a cooking area and the rock where Marley used to meditate, both painted in Rasta colours. Beyond these you enter the mausoleum; the larger tomb in the centre is surrounded by the various offerings left by visitors and lit through a stained glass window (again in Rasta colours).

    No photos are allowed in the mausoleum, and both here and in the small house we were required to remove our shoes.

    Entrance to Marley house at Nine Mile Capt Crazy & Javier Capt Crazy and cousin of Bob Marley Ganja seller, Nine Mile
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    Fern Gully

    by toonsarah Written Mar 27, 2008

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    If you enter Ocho Rios from the south, e.g. coming from Kingston as we did, you’ll probably drive through Fern Gully, a rocky gorge of tremendous depth which zigzags for about four miles from the coast up to the central mountain area of the island. The road here is lined with tropical ferns (over 500 species) and the kind of foliage usually only found in a tropical rain forest. In the deepest parts of the gorge, only faint dapples of sunshine penetrate through the thick foliage and the temperature is about ten degrees cooler than outside. We were told by Dave that when he was a child the foliage met overhead in an unbroken tunnel and no light at all got through. In recent years however the fumes from the constant traffic have started to inhibit growth and even kill some of the plants. In an attempt to halt the damage trucks and lorries have been banned from driving on this road, but the alternative route is longer so many disobey as we saw ourselves. There is even talk of banning all traffic and restricting access to cyclists and walkers, but locals seem to be opposed to this as they would lose one of the main routes to and from town.

    While the future of Fern Gully remains to be resolved, it is certainly a sight worth seeing, though to do so other than from your car will probably necessitate a stop at one of the several souvenir vendors along the road as there is otherwise nowhere else to pull over. Alternatively you might like to stop at the top of the gorge as we did, where this colourful drink shack made a great photo opportunity.

    Drinks shack near Fern Gully Road sign near Fern Gully Drinks shack near Fern Gully

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  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    Old Church

    by tpangelinan Written Jul 4, 2004

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    This photo is of what we were told was one of the oldest church in Jamaica. Told to be build in the 1700's By the time he explained what it was, it was to late for a good sahot at 70 MPH. ( Sorry ) It's located on the road from Montego Bay to Ocho about 3/4 the way there to Ocho. In a small town with many small block houses and broken down cars, the area seemed rather poverish.

    Old church
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    Day trip to Kingston

    by toonsarah Written Mar 27, 2008

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    As I said in my intro, Ocho Rios makes a good base for excursions; in particular, we chose the resort for its reasonable proximity to Kingston, which was somewhere we knew we would want to visit. We’d already arranged for a day trip to Kingston when we made our reservation at the Blue House, and when we found we were getting on well with fellow guests Michael, Monika and Javier we invited them to join us, which reduced our costs and gave all of us a fun day out. My Kingston page will tell you more about the various places we visited that day, so this is just an overview.

    It’s a good two hour drive to Kingston, so we left early and stopped off for breakfast at fast food chain Juici Patti, in Bog Walk in the centre of the island. We made a brief halt in Bog Walk Gorge to admire the scenery, before heading to our first sightseeing stop, Spanish Town, about twelve miles north west of Kingston. This was, as the name suggests, the capital during Spanish rule and there are some wonderful buildings here. Few of them have been restored, however, and some are simply facades, giving them more atmosphere than substance.

    From here we drove to Port Royal, the former British capital situated on the same peninsula as Kingston’s airport. Here too the buildings are mainly pretty faded, with the exception of Fort Charles. It seems the Jamaicans value the tourist value of natural scenic wonders above that of their history.

    Our next stop was possibly the highlight of the trip, the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston itself. I’ve seen this described elsewhere as a bit of a tourist trap, and it is certainly a very carefully packaged and slick operation, but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit so I would recommend that you go and judge for yourself.

    After lunch at a good Mexican restaurant, well recommended by Dave, we headed for the Blue Mountains and the beautiful Strawberry Hill Hotel for excellent coffee and dramatic views of the city below, before the long drive home through the Kingston rush hour and back across the island for one of Darryl’s great dinners to round off an excellent day.

    At the Bob Marley Museum At Strawberry Hill in the Blue Mountains

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  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    Beautiful coast

    by tpangelinan Written Jul 4, 2004

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    This shot is on the way to Ocho Rios from Montego Bay, on the main little road that runs along the coast of Jamaica. The water here is so clear and perfect you just want to get out and swim in it so bad. I could not stop taking photos of the water.

    Coastal view
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    Go inside the island

    by Alicja1 Written Mar 17, 2004

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    Most of the people are staying on the coast where the hotel resorts are. Thats a nice place if you want to spend a holidays relaxing, swimming and having everything ready. But to meet real Jamaican life it is better to rent the car and go insiede we island. I heard its not very safe but I did it. I was traveling by myself and nothing happen. People were nice, sometimes little bit too open. Many of them invite me to their homes and I regret I didnt couldnt go there. It would be too dangerous for a lonely girl. My taxi driver was very helpful keeping all drugs sellers away from me. He was singing all Bob Marley songs during the trip what was very funny.

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    Murphy Hill

    by Jamaica4eva Written Sep 23, 2008

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    Murphy Hill is the highest view point overlooking Ocho Rios and the Blue Mountains.
    It is said to be 2,000 feet above sea level. You can even see over into Cuba from there.
    It's a nice drive up to Murphy Hill, lots of big beautiful tropical trees. There's a hotel and small bar there. A nice lil swimming pool.

    Murphy Hill over looks Ochee. A lot of pretty trees all around the property. The view is amazing! There's a small hotel on the property.
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    Runaway Bay

    by Joan58 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Go to Runaway Bay. Here there is a nice beach with a beautiful sea. The beach is free and there are some stalls that sell food and drink. Here you can sunbathe hearing the music of Bob Marley and meeting local people... who surely will offer you the ganja.

    Runaway Bay
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    Well, because of time frames,...

    by lar-n-me Updated Apr 18, 2004

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    Well, because of time frames, we didn't get to go, but received inside information from locals.
    We were told that the Coyaba River Garden is beautiful, but better yet, 'the best botanical garden is Cronbrook Flower Forest', written and spoken from a true Jamaican local. *this picture was taken as our informative, lifeguard local was reading his book....* HELP I'm drowning! LARRY SAVE ME!!! Actually, his persona made me want to know him, and I found out he was a very friendly man with a couple good life saving stories. hmmmmmmm

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    Great Side Trip from Ocho Rios

    by scotchbonnet Written Aug 16, 2008

    This is a good side trip away from Ocho Rios that can be done as a day trip Hire a car and have him/her take you to the town of Oracabessa, west of Ocho rios in St Mary. The drive over will give you a chance to see some of the less touristy areas of Jamaica.

    Your first stop should be Sun Valley Plantation where you will experience a walking plantation tour given by owner Lorna Binns. She is very informative as she points out various plants, trees and fruits. While on tour your thirst will be quenched by various fruit juices as well as the freshly opened coconut for you to enjoy the juice and jelly. At the conclusion of the tour you are given a snack of Ackee and Saltfish (Jamaica's national dish). Having been on one of the larger plantation tours in Jamaica, I found this one to be more personal, informative and enjoyable. Call Lorna at (876) 995-3075 to set up a tour.

    The next stop is Firefly, the home of the late playwright Noel Coward. Here you will be able to tour the grounds and home of Coward; there are many pictures showing the various movie stars and royalty that visited him here. The view is one of the best in Jamaica and the grounds contain a statue of Coward as well as his simple marble grave. You are able to get a tour from one of the guides without an appointment.

    James Bond Beach is about 10 minutes from Firefly and is less crowded than most beaches in Ocho Rios. There are less facilities than in most Ocho rios beaches so you will have to decide if an off the beaten track beach appeals to you.

    A visit to Sun Valley and Firefly will give you a chance to see the real Jamaica that is often missed by most visitors.

    View from Firefly Sun Valley Plantation Palm Tree at Sun Valley Plantation Enjoying a coconut Noel Coward Statue
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    The Dunn's River falls

    by canaglic Written Dec 31, 2009

    The Dunn's River falls is a must for anyone young and old!

    Just about two (2) miles west of the town of Ocho Rios, the 600-foot Dunn's River falls is in fact so famous that the parking lot is a vast sea of tour buses-any day!
    Ascending the falls is usually a group activity: every group gets a guide. The guides tend to tell encourage their groups to hold hands and up everyone go up, linked together. Of course, we as seasoned locals don't usually use guides. You may not be allowed to go up by yourself though. K
    ids are also allowed to climb up the waterfalls too. Seven is perhaps a good minimum age, depending how sure-footed your child is. I would encourage you to bring aqua socks, if you have them; buy rentals are available. The cost of renting may be a little expensive though.

    The climb may take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. The cost at that time for visitors was $15US for adults and $12 for children under 12 years of age.

    Dunn's river falls Sanja, me big tree at the river falls

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Ocho Rios Off The Beaten Path

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