Caribbean Cruise Ship Port of Call Profile
The islands of the Caribbean are located in a region southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and Northern America, east of Central America, and to the north of South America.
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Jamaica is situated in an area of the Caribbean prone to hurricanes. Rainy season is from May to November, and periodic hurricanes between June and November.
In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane alert, Shipdetective will post NWS updates and information for travelers on our Tropical Storm Update page
Some street vendors, beggars, and taxi drivers in tourist areas aggressively confront and harass tourists to buy their wares or employ their services. If a firm "No, thank you" does not solve the problem, visitors may wish to seek the assistance of a tourist police officer.
While the vast majority of crimes occur in impoverished areas, the violence is not confined.
The primary criminal concern for tourists is becoming a victim of theft. In several cases, armed robberies of Americans have turned violent when the victims resisted handing over valuables.
Crime is exacerbated by the fact that police are understaffed and ineffective. Additionally, there have been frequent allegations of police corruption. Tourists should take their own precautions and always pay extra attention to their surroundings when traveling, exercise care when walking outside after dark, and should always avoid areas known for high crime rates.
To enhance security in the principal resort areas, the Government of Jamaica has taken a number of steps, including assignment of special police foot and bicycle patrols.
Jamaica is a major transit point for cocaine en route to the United States and is also a key source of marijuana and marijuana derivative products for the Americas. Jamaica is the Caribbean's largest producer and exporter of marijuana.
• Travelers who use taxicabs should take only licensed taxicabs having red-and-white PP license plates. Always make sure to negotiate your fare with the taxi driver before you leave. Not all taxis are metered. Look for red PPV license plates; these indicate legitimate taxis.
• Public buses are often overcrowded and they are frequently a venue of crime.
• Driving is on the left
• Drivers and passengers in the front seat are required to wear seat belts.
• Breakdown assistance is quite limited in urban areas and virtually unavailable in rural areas.
• Drivers should make every effort to avoid areas of high crime and civil strife. Roadblocks are sometimes employed by residents as protests intended to draw attention to particular issues and require extreme caution by drivers.
• Always keep windows up and doors locked when driving and to leave enough distance between yourself and the preceding car at intersections to allow a roll forward in case of harassment by pedestrian panhandlers. As a rule, drivers should always avoid contact with large groups of pedestrians.
• Most roads are paved, but suffer from ill repair, inadequate signage,
large pot holes, and poor traffic control markings.
• City roads are often subject to poorly marked construction zones, pedestrians, bicyclists, and, occasionally, livestock.
• Street corners are frequented by peddlers, window washers, and beggars walking among stopped cars.
• Smaller roads are often narrow and they are frequently traveled at high speeds.
ports > destinations > Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ocho Rios is a town on the northern coast of Jamaica about 65 miles east of Montego Bay. Located in the parish of Saint Ann - known as the "garden parish" because of its great beauty. Its parish capital is the market town of St. Ann's Bay.
Translated in Spanish the name Ocho Rios, means "eight rivers". However there are not eight rivers in town. The confusion began in 1657, the English fought off a Spanish expeditionary force on a raid from nearby Cuba. The battle took place near Dunn's River Falls. The Spanish called the site las chorreros, meaning river rapids. The English misunderstood the Spanish reference. Therefore, the English interpretation became Ocho Rios, which sounded close enough.
Historically, Ocho Rios had never acquired any prominent role to either the English or the Spanish. It was, however, utilized by pirates who along with Port Royal, regarded it as a perfect base of operations. In the 1940's, Ocho Rios took on an industrial character when Reynolds Jamaica Mines, built a deep water-pier west of town.
Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, Ocho Rios, along with other resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.
Ocho Rios was once a fishing village until it was discovered and is now a popular tourist destination in the Caribbean. In the last 20 years, Ocho Rios has developed from a small town to a thriving tourist resort. New beach land, hundreds of acres, was dredged to the south and hotels, apartment blocks, shopping centers and a marina were added to the already well-established old hotels like Jamaica Inn and Shaw Park.
The Rastafari movement was founded in Jamaica. This Back to Africa movement believes that Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was God incarnate, the returned black messiah, come to take the lost Twelve Tribes of Israel back to live with him in Holy Mount Zion in a world of perfect peace, love and harmony. Bob Marley, a convert to the faith, spread the message of Rastafari to the world. There are now estimated to be more than a million Rastafarians throughout the world.
Though a small nation, Jamaica is rich in culture, and has a strong global presence. The musical genres reggae, ska, mento, rocksteady, dub, and, more recently, dancehall and ragga all originated in the island's vibrant, popular urban recording industry.
Good to Know
Ocho Rios extends four miles between Dunn's River Falls, two miles to the west of the town center and the White River, two miles to the east.
Port of Entry
Ocho Rios has an expanded pier and modern cruise terminal with a deep water pier with berthing space for three cruise ships at a time. It is a rare day when the streets of Ocho Rios do not throng with cruise ship visitors.
EST (UTC/GMT - 5)
Water: 83º Summer - 79º Winter
Air: 85º Summer - 80º Winter
Medical care is more limited than in the U.S. Comprehensive emergency medical services are located only in Kingston and Montego Bay, and smaller public hospitals are located in each parish.
Emergency medical and ambulance services, and the availability of prescription drugs, are limited in outlying parishes. Ambulance service is limited both in the quality of emergency care and in the availability of vehicles in remote parts of the country.
Many US insurance companies do not provide protection outside the country.
Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
Things to do and see
Well known for scuba diving and other water sports. Ocho Ríos is also known as the home of Dunn's River Falls. This is a popular attraction that is visited by thousands of visitors each year. Dunn's River Falls cascades down approximately 695 feet into the sea. Visitors take pleasure in 'climbing' the falls, which are fed by springs located in the hills above, as the water rushes around them. There are six shopping plazas to cope with this influx, offering everything from Jamaican handicrafts and souvenirs to duty-free bargains from the in-bond stores. The Crafts Market is situated in the downtown area. Stock up on the Jamaican specialty and pricey Blue Mountain Coffee.
Prospect Plantation Tour
One of the oldest-established plantation tours the island has to offer. It is a still a working plantation which grows a little of everything so you will see such tropical produce as sugar cane, banana, cassava, avocado, and pimento (allspice) in their own habitat. A herb garden is a new addition. Peacocks roam the property and a horseback tour instead of a jitney tour is an option for the more energetic. Trail bikes tours, miniature golf.
Dunn's River Falls
600 ft. waterfall that falls into the Caribbean Sea. From the beach you can climb the rock staircase to get to the top of the falls.
Shaw Park Gardens offers a bird's eye view over Ocho Rios. There is also a bar if you want to enjoy a cocktail with the view. Website
A rocky gorge of tremendous depth which zig-zags for about four miles from the Ocho Rios coast up to the central mountain area of the island. Although it has become rather commercialized in recent years by souvenir vendors, it is still well worth a visit to see the profusion of tropical ferns (over 500 species) and the kind of foliage only to be 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.
Tube or kayak down the White River or ride a 30 ft. raft down Martha Brae River.
Unlike many beach communities in the US and Europe, it's not typical to wear bathing suits off the beach, not even at nearby restaurants or shops. So when you leave, be sure to throw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt or a sundress.
Sunset Beach Resort
All inclusive day pass for a fee. Amenities: Three swimming pools; Hot tubs; Snack bar and Restaurant; Beaches decked with lounge chairs and umbrellas; clean facilities.
Bamboo Beach Club
All inclusive day pass.
Sea Grape beach near Discovery Bay
Offers water sports and activities. Negotiate the fee for equipment before you ride.
Secluded beach popular with locals. Restroom facilities and food available. Entrance fee.
James Bond Beach
Located about a 20 minute drive east of Ocho Rios. The 15-acre Goldeneye is an exclusive villa resort, that was formerly the Ian Fleming Estate. The estate is set in a rural St. Mary parish on a seaside bluff overlooking the Caribbean.
This beach area off main street and accessible from the car park of the Ocean Village Shopping Center is preferred by locals. As you exit the pier stay to your left and follow the paved path past all of the yachts/sailboats in the marina. Entrance fee is $1. Secure, fenced off beach area. Good for snorkeling.
Secluded beach near the hotels & resorts in town.
Ocho Rios Jazz Festival
Annual June event. The Ocho Rio Jazz Festival in the Jamaican village of eight rivers, features internationally renowned performers from the island and around the world. Website
July or August event. Website