Ocho Rios is the perfect destination for adventure seekers, what with its waterfalls, cliffs, and rainforests just waiting to be explored. There’s an abundance of things to do and places to go in and around the town. Tours that are more chill or that focus more on culture are also available if that’s more your style. From exhilarating, to entertaining, to educational, here’s a list of the 10 best Ocho Rios excursions.
Dunn’s River Catamaran Cruise
A cruise ship ride is a classic thing to do during any island vacation. The Dunn’s River Catamaran Cruise brings you up close and personal with the Caribbean Sea in and around Dunn’s River Falls. The cruise is luxurious without feeling stuffy at all — the crew members make great hosts and there’s a DJ aboard, too.
The cruise departs from Ocho Rios and makes a short stop along the way for snorkeling before reaching Dunn’s River Falls. You get the opportunity to climb the Falls and zipline back down the base. Drinks and cocktails are offered onboard during the return trip!
An alternative, family-friendly version of the cruise — Dunn’s River Catamaran Cruise for the Family — is also offered.
Horseback Ride and Swim
This excursion gives you the chance to be hands-on in your adventure. Led by a guide, make your way on horseback over the grassy countryside of northern Jamaica. The route includes two former sugar plantations, Llandovery and Richmond. As you pass through, you’ll learn a bit about Jamaica’s history. Afterward, you and your horse will make your way into the refreshingly cool Caribbean Sea and you can stop to take a dip for yourself.
Horseback Ride and Swim is a half-day trip and it allows you ample time to get the hang of horse riding if you’ve never done it before.
Off-Road ATV Safari Guided Tour
This 2-hour tour lets you experience the natural charms of Ocho Rios in a unique way: atop an all-terrain vehicle. If you’ve never driven one before, don’t fret — you’ll be given safety equipment and instructions, and the tour features a guide.
Making your way over dirt roads through the thick, emerald green foliage of rural Jamaica truly feels like being on an adventure. Like the Horseback Ride and Swim tour, this one also takes you through two historical estates, Llandovery and Richmond, giving you a glimpse into Jamaica’s colonial past. Stops along the way allow for you to take a swim and try cliff-jumping before making your way back to your hotel.
Bamboo River Rafting Experience
White River, just outside Ocho Rios, is a natural lazy river that is perfect for sailing on a clear morning. In the Bamboo River Rafting Experience, a guide will take you down the river on a rustic yet sturdy bamboo raft that can hold up to 13 passengers.
The river is flanked on both sides by rainforest plant life, with birdsong being the soundtrack of the morning. The excursion is relatively short, just over an hour and a half, making it a great start for a day full of sightseeing. It’s also a great excursion for couples and small groups of people who would love to chill and take in the scenery.
Holiday Services — Dunn’s Falls, Bob Marley’s Nine Mile, and Optional Mystic Lagoon
For those trying to get the most out of a short vacation, a 3-in-1 excursion like this is a godsend. The trip begins by taking you from Ocho Rios through the mountains to Bob Marley’s hometown, Nine Mile. Here you’ll get a guided tour of his former home. The second stop is Dunn’s River Falls, where you can climb to the top and zipline down to the base! Lunch at a combination restaurant and lounge will help you catch your breath afterward.
The optional Mystic Lagoon add-on is popular, as you get the opportunity to see a rare natural phenomenon: a lagoon that glows blue thanks to microorganisms in the water. If you choose to get the add-on, the trip wraps up with dinner at a seaside restaurant.
Taste of Jamaica Food Tour
The Taste of Jamaica Food Tour is a short excursion perfect for foodies, people interested in Jamaican culture, or just those who want a chill day out. It takes you to three locations where you can experience authentic Jamaican food. First, you go through the mountains to the rainforest of Fern Gully, where you can sample tropical fruits at a local fruit stand.
After taking a bit of time to commune with locals at the nearby community of Breadnut Hill and stopping at a bar to get refreshments and drinks, you’ll make your way back to Ocho Rios. This is where you’ll end the day with a classic Jamaican lunch — jerk chicken or jerk pork served with rice and peas!
Dolphin Encounter Ocho Rios
What’s an island paradise without dolphins? Bottlenose dolphins are natural inhabitants of Jamaican waters and this excursion gives you the chance to swim and play with them, as well as hug and pet them!
The experience is perfect for both adults and kids, and the experience can be tailored to match a range of temperaments. All of these activities are available in the regular pool, as well as a waist-deep one if you’re unable to or uncomfortable fully immersing yourself. After the approximately 30-minute experience is over, you can have lunch at the venue’s buffet.
Lover’s Rock Catamaran Cruise
This approximately 2.5-hour excursion offers a much more romantic and lowkey alternative to the usual catamaran cruises in the area. Departing in time for you to see the gorgeous Jamaican sunset over the water, the Lover’s Rock Catamaran Cruise is bathed in golden, pink, and orange glows. Hors d’oeuvres and unlimited cocktails are offered and the DJ onboard spins smooth Caribbean melodies for the whole duration. When experienced with a special someone, the cruise will be sure to create a lifelong memory for you both.
The Big 4: Sky, Bobsled, Raggamuffin, and Dunn’s River Falls
Mystic Mountain is a rainforest adventure park located right outside of Ocho Rios. By taking this excursion, you get to avoid the crowds as you experience three popular rides at the park and then move to Dunn’s River Falls for a climb! As you can expect, this tour is a great choice for thrill-seekers.
The SkyExplorer glides up the mountain, taking you 700 feet above sea level. The Bobsled takes you back down through twists and turns. You control your ride so it’s up to you whether it’ll be a relaxing trip through the rainforest or an adrenaline-pumping race! Raggamuffin takes you back up once more, swinging you over cliffs. The last course of the day is to visit Dunn’s River Falls and climb the rushing waterfalls.
Luminous Lagoon Tour
One of the many natural phenomena in Jamaica is the Luminous Lagoon in Falmouth. It’s so-named for the glowing patches seen in the water at night. Take a tour bus from your Ocho Rios lodging to the lagoon, at which point you’ll board a small boat and sail out into the waters. During the boat ride, you get the chance to take a dip into the lagoon for yourself and be surrounded by the surreal, blue-green luminescence.
The curious occurrence is caused by harmless microorganisms that glow as they move through the water. Seeing this with your own eyes is an experience you won’t want to miss out on — Luminous Lagoon is one of only four places in the world where this phenomenon occurs!