Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
The Ultimate in Tropical Beauty, Nature & Island Culture.

Nature surrounds stunning Dunn’s River Falls

Guided tubing down the White River

A lovely lunch at White River Valley
Bright and welcoming the Countryside Club at White River Valley
Dolphins put on a show at Dolphin Encounter
A statue of Bob Marley in a courtyard at Island Village

By Ken Panton
Photography by David Lewis Taylor

On the northern coast of Jamaica, you’ll find one of the Caribbean’s most popular ports-of-call, Ocho Rios, which entices visitors with its beautiful natural wonders, eco-attractions and lively Jamaican culture. At Ocho Rios, you can experience the authentic “flavor” of Jamaica-- both welcoming and warm and a true complement to the many activities and traditional experiences to be had there.

One of the best-known natural wonders of Ocho Rios is Dunn’s River Falls. More than a tourist attraction, the falls are regarded as the Niagara of the Caribbean. Exploring this natural treasure is a not only a perfect way to spend the day, but a delight for the senses with stunning 600 foot falls cascading towards the ocean below that creates a refreshing yet intoxicating mist. Countless tourists have climb up the falls and then enjoyed the day at the wide, natural beach below. Whether you’re adventurous or not, be sure to visit the nearby Fern Gully which is a botanist’s dream and lush wonderland with its five hundred plus varieties of ferns.

High in the hills, just seven miles from bustling Ocho Rios is White River Valley. Known as "Jamaica’s New Adventureland," this glorious retreat is located in an historical area that dates back to the 16th century. Now a tropical paradise, this retreat offers biking, hiking, rubber tubing and horseback riding. Take an the adventure-filled guided raft tour, in a personal inner-tube, and find thrills and ample time to lie back and gaze at the sky experiencing the ethereal qualities of the bamboo, lush tall trees and tropical flowers. Afterwards, enjoy lunch on the pond-side wooden deck of the refined Countryside Club and sample their signature "Janga" Soup -- a real taste of Jamaican cuisine. A perfect ending to your White River Valley sojourn is a visit to the Village of Flowers where you’ll experience the beauty of a tropical orchid house and lovely fruit grove.

Back at sea level, nestled in a cliff-side cove and surrounded by the tropical jungle, discover Dolphin Cove, where a variety of dolphin interactions are offered. These friendly creatures are amazing as they respond to the dynamic professional trainers and entertaining handlers with precision. Choose from a waterside dolphin touch encounter or actually go into the water with the dolphins where you can experience the thrill of having them swim around you while you gently touch them as they pass. You can also have a one-on-one experience and have your picture taken "getting kissed" by the dolphin, and bring the photo home to share with friends and family.

Also set on the stunning Ocho Rios waterfront is Island Village, which combines culture, dining and entertainment venues in addition to offering world-class duty free shopping at boutiques filled with Jamaican handcrafts, souvenirs, rum and tropical apparel. A highlight of the Island Village is an interactive tour through the Reggae Xplosion that traces the influential and wide-reaching history of Jamaican music. In addition, there is a charming art gallery displaying treasures and artwork on loan from the National Gallery of Jamaica. Visitors who like to gamble will also find a sophisticated gaming lounge and sea-lovers can arrange water activities at Beach World.

For more information about these and many more attractions and activities in Ocho Rios, and to plan your perfect vacation on the Island, visit the official web site for Jamaica. To schedule luxurious, yet affordable air travel, visit Air Jamaica.