Goes Ashore in the Caribbean
to see & things to do
cruise ships dock on the lush northern coast of Jamaica at Ocho
Rios, although some go to Montego Bay. In
Ocho Rios, don’t be put off by the bauxite loading terminal next
to the cruise ship pier. Instead,
cross over to the other side of the ship for a view of the palm
fringed beaches in front of resort hotels across the bay.
is a former British crown colony and a favorite vacation spot of Ian
Fleming, the creator of James Bond. If
a sight looks familiar, it might be because you spotted it in one of
the James Bond movies. While
Jamaicans are some of the warmest and friendliest residents in the
Caribbean, they can also be the most aggressive when it comes to
pushing merchandise and the “hair braiders” are some of the
displaying the legend J.U.T.A. are approved by the government and
their drivers double as professional tour operators. Do
not take any other taxi—they are gypsy cabs and should be avoided.
worry-free touring, ship’s excursions are recommended. The
most popular is to Dunn’s River Falls where you can climb the 600
foot waterfall with a guide. Be
sure to wear a swim suit under your clothes and shoes that you can
wear in the water. Climbing
the falls is slippery. Other
stops might include Shaw Park Botanical Gardens, Fern Gully, and a
swim at the beach.
interesting tour is to Brimmer Hall Plantation where you ride in a
tractor drawn jitney to see the Great House and the workings of a
banana plantation. Guides
point out tropical fruit trees and coffee plants.
tour offerings might include a half-day catamaran sail and snorkel,
rafting on the Martha Brae River, horseback riding, or a beach
can be an exercise in frustration in Jamaica. Someone
almost certainly will try to sell you ganja—that’s home
grown marijuana and it’s illegal. Do
NOT buy it. The market place
in Ochos Rios isn’t fun unless you don’t mind being literally
assaulted by vendors trying to peddle their wares.
tours include some shopping time. Downtown
Ocho Rios and the surrounding shopping centers (Taj Mahal Plaza and
Soni's Plaza) contain stores where buying is more subdued. Best
buys are Blue Mountain Coffee and world-famous Jamaican rums from
Appleton Estates and Edwin Charlie. Local spices and seasonings are
a wonderful way to bring home a taste of Jamaica.
you look around you’ll notice that resort beaches are surrounded
by ominous looking fences. There’s
a good reason for that and it’s the same reason that you
shouldn’t head to a “secluded” beach. Cruise ship passengers
are welcome to buy “day” passes at Jamaica Grande resort,
entitling them use of the pool, beach, and facilities for the day.
Within sight of the cruise ship pier, it's a highly recommended
beach respite. Mallards Beach
and Turtle Beach are fairly safe, but again, it’s recommended that
you stick with a group or a ship’s excursion.
Fodor's Caribbean Ports of Call 2013 is all you need
to plan your days ashore, PLUS a cruise primer section and cruise
line profiles by Cruise Diva, Linda Coffman
Back to Caribbean
Ports of Call