Jamaica has so very much to see and experience. Unfortunately, travellers that spend their vacation solely on a resort are sadly missing out, and are unable to return home and truly say they’ve SEEN Jamaica. With more than 150 activities and attractions spread throughout the island, it makes good sense to do some research before your trip so you can plan on seeing a few of these intriguing places or partake in a tour that will yield lasting memories as well as a better understanding of this Caribbean hotspot.
To assist and get you started, we’ve assembled the Top 10 activities and attractions associated with Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.
Appleton Estate Rum – Visit the well-known rum distillery for a 60-minute tour, to learn about the rum’s ageing process inside oak barrels and see the copper pot stills that give Appleton its rich, signature flavour. Cap off the tour by sampling 10 different types of Appleton rum and take home a mini bottle as a gift.
Canopy Tour over Great River – Glide through the Jamaican rainforest on a series of zip lines during this memorable adventure. Climb into the forest canopy and zip between platforms built 45 feet (14 meters) high in the treetops. Several tour operators in the area offer this excursion and there are versions that include extras, such as a guided walk through the jungle.
Chukka Good Hope Estate – Once a working village and sugar plantation dating back to the 1700s, Good Hope Estate is now home to a variety of adventure and cultural experiences. Recreational park and soft adventure playground on a 2,000 estate with a historic Great House. Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:30am – 2:30pm.
Croydon in the Mountains – A 13-acre working plantation in the foothills of the Catadupa Mountains (45 minutes from Montego Bay) its main crops are coffee, pineapples, plantains, and citrus. Guided half-day tours are available. Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:30am – 2:30pm.
Fort Montego Craft Market – This old fort once guarded Montego Bay Harbour. Today, it contains the remains of an artillery store and a few well-preserved cannons as well as several souvenir and craft shops.
Greenwood Great House – Formerly owned by the family of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the famous English poet, this great house is over 200 years old. Greenwood is one of the best-preserved greats houses on the island. Open Daily from 9:00am – 6:00pm.
Harbour Street Craft Market – located on 3 blocks between Barnett and Market Street in downtown Montego Bay, you can find a good selection of handmade souvenirs of Jamaica, including straw hats and bags, wooden planters, straw baskets, musical instruments, beads, carved objects, and toys.
Rafting on the Martha Brae – This is where to find Jamaica’s premier river rafting with an exciting and scenic 90-minute river trip you’ll never forget. Open daily from 8:30am – 4:30pm except on public holidays.
Rocklands Bird Sanctuary – Explore the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary and see the Jamaican Oriole, the White Winged Dove and Jamaica’s national bird, the Doctor Bird, where they will perch on your finger and wait for you to feed them nectar from a bottle.
Rose Hall Great House – The White Witch awaits you in the great house of Rose Hall. Although she died more than a century ago, Annie Palmer still stirs memories of her reign as the mistress of the Rose Hall Great House. Open Daily from 9:00am – 6:00pm. Night tours are from 6:30pm to 9:15pm.
Bob Marley Museum – Take a short and interesting side trip to Kingston and discover the history and culture of reggae music at the Bob Marley Museum.
Dunn’s River Falls & Park – This beautiful and natural wonder is always a favourite among travellers to Ocho Rios. Visitors can make the 600 feet climb from the base of the falls, hand-in-hand like a human daisy chain.
Green Grotto Caves – This is an intriguing network of chambers and passageways, stalactites and stalagmites and small lakes. Green Grotto is said to have been a haven for runaway slaves in the 18th Century. Open Daily.
Irie Blue Hole – Hidden in the mountains above touristy Ocho Rios, Blue Hole is a breath of fresh air. It’s not an official Jamaican Tourist Board attraction, but this is key to what makes Blue Hole so special. With no vendors to bother you, no queues to go through, and all at a reasonable price, you’re left to enjoy the simple magic of the waterfall and the cool, crystal blue swimming pools.
James Bond Beach – James Bond Beach sits on a small peninsula at Oracabessa Bay, about 10 miles from Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s north coast. The beach has brightly painted changing rooms, a water sports center, and a bar and restaurant. Surrounded by crystal clear water on three sides, the beach has a backdrop of the mountains of St Mary. Some recognizable scenes from the James Bond movie Dr. No were filmed at the beach. Currently, its sweeping lawns are a regular venue for concerts.
Mystic Mountain – Soar above the treetops up to 700 feet to the top of Mystic Mountain and enjoy a ride through the rainforest on Bobsled Jamaica. This is the park’s signature attraction and it provides a thrilling ride through tropical landscapes on sleds as it honours the famous 1988 Olympic bobsled team from Jamaica.
Nine Miles – Visit the birthplace of Bob Marley and absorb the infamous Rastafarian religion, culture, and practices – a must for every reggae enthusiast!
Ocho Rios Craft Market – Vendors will weave a hat or basket while you wait, or you can buy a ready-made hamper, handbag, lampshade or placemats. Other stands stock hand-embroidered goods and will make small items for you while you wait. Woodcarvers work on bowls, ashtrays, and statues.
Seville Great House – The Seville Great House and Heritage Park are one of Jamaica’s most interesting and informative cultural attractions. The history of the house is one of legend as it was there that Christopher Columbus first came in contact with the Taino Indians.
Turtle River Falls and Gardens – This is a 15-acre tropical garden featuring 14 cascading waterfalls on the Turtle River which flow through the property. The park-like atmosphere hosts varieties of indigenous and endangered plants, exotic birds in a 382,329 cubic feet walk-in aviary, a beautiful Japanese Koi Pond, a tropical rainforest and a formal garden. Get your cameras ready because this place offers photo opportunities around every corner. Turtle River Falls and Gardens is open to the public Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.