What To Do
in Ocho Rios Town
on a cruise in 2023

Ultimate guide to the town of Ocho Rios for cruise vistors: best walks to town, the beaches, the Main Street, Margaritaville, shopping, dinning, Island Village and historical landmarks.

Updated: May 30, 2023

Regardless of where your cruise ship docks, be it at the Turtle Bay Pier or the Reynold's Pier, aka James Bond Pier, there are a few excellent attractions close by, just a few minutes walk away, in Ocho Rios Town.

The walk from the Turtle Bay Pier is self-evident as the exit gates of the terminal open into a wide 300 feet long (100 meters) long street that leads directly to the town.

If docked at the James Bond Pier, the exit gates open right on the main road just 10-minute walk away from the start of the Main Street in Ocho Rios. If your cruise ship moors at Reynold's Pier, you must turn left once outside the exit gates and walk around 1/2 mile (800 meters) until you reach the Main Street of Ocho Rios Town.

Within Walking Distance of the Cruise Terminal

Ocho Rios Cruise Port has lots of attractions, such as the super famous Dunn's River Falls, which is a Top Highlight in the Caribbean but NOT within walking distance. Naturally, most cruise travelers do not want to miss at least one of the many attractions close to Ocho Rios.

However, for those who have already explored the top highlights of Ocho Rios or are not interested in active pursuits, the town has a few sites to enjoy. It is also good to know that unless planning a full-day excursion, the cruise traveler may have enough time to explore the town on your own before or after a half-day tour.

Photo of Ocho  Rios Bay Beach in Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Photo © IQCruising.com

Close to both Cruise Port Piers, there are some very nice attractions that can be easily explored on foot, in particular, the Bay Beach. However, prepare yourself to deal with locals that can become annoying if you don't get rid of them immediately. Unlike taxi drivers, some will follow you offering all sorts of merchandise (marijuana or ganja as it is known locally but also prostitutes, or even an innocent walking tour).

Editor's Tip: Do not engage in any conversation; keep walking without any eye contact, and you will be left alone; above all, do not make any refusal comment back. If you buy ganja be prepared for the experience of your life in a Jamaican prison.

Ocho Rios Bay Beach & Watersport Activities

When docking at the Turtle Bay Pier, outside the terminal, right after the taxi stand, you will see on the left an open gate to the Fisherman's Point Hotel with its bar-restaurant (Bottles & Chimney) and shops. Look for this gate, as the Ocho Rios Bay Beach access is next to the gate.

Photo of Walking Path Gate Sign to the Beach in Ocho Rios

Bay Beach Sign

Photo © IQCruising.com

In fact, on the left of the Bottles & Chimney entrance gate, there is another gate with a sign indicating the way to Ocho Rios Bay Beach & Watersport Activities. This path to the beach, behind the Fisherman's Point Hotel and along the bay, is safe - it will take you slightly over 5-minutes to walk to Ocho Rios main beach (once known as Turtle Beach).

The entrance fee is $3.00 (adult) and $1.00 (children aged between 2 and 11), including changing rooms, showers, and bathrooms. There are also umbrellas and beach chairs available to rent.

Photo of Walking Path to the Bay Beach in Ocho Rios

Walking Path to the Bay Beach

Photo © IQCruising.com

When docked at the Reynold's Pier aka James Bond Pier, it is easier to keep walking along the main street to look out for the entrance to the Bay Beach on the left.

Island Village and Margaritaville

As mentioned before, the street right in front of the Turtle Bay Terminal ends by the Main Street of Ocho Rios.

Photo of Island Village Entrance in Ocho Rios

Island Village Entrance

Photo © IQCruising.com

Just before reaching this intersection, the cruise traveler will find the entrance to the Island Village on the right: a wonderfully manicured shopping and entertainment center developed almost exclusively for tourists.

Photo of Margaritaville in Ocho Rios

Margaritaville - Ocho Rios

Photo © IQCruising.com

The Island Village has very nice boardwalks, natural spring lagoons lined with flowers and trees, a few shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants. This is where Margaritaville (a top attraction in Ocho Rios) is located with its quaint, small bay beach overlooking the docked cruise ships.

When docking at the Reynold's Pier aka James Bond Pier, the Island Village is the first site you will come across as you walk into the Main Street.

The Main Street in Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios' Main Street is, as the name suggests, where the cruise traveler will find the main landmarks and attractions of the town. Most of these are within walking distance - in the first 1/2 mile or so.

Photo of Harbour Shops in Ocho Rios

Harbour Shops - Ocho Rios

Photo © IQCruising.com

Shopping and Lunch

Across from Island Village, slightly to the left (East), the Harbour Shops are impossible to miss with stores like Harley-Davidson, Cariloha, Pirana Joe, House of Diamonds, Gem Palace; and the always, inevitably, present Tanzanite International. This is one of 3 plazas with Duty-Free shopping in Ocho Rios.

Photo of Reggae Alley in Ocho Rios

Reggae Alley - Main Street

Photo © IQCruising.com

Right after the Harbour Shops, the colorful Reggae Alley is a good place to enjoy lunch, a quick bite, a Red Stripe (Jamaica's own beer) or a cocktail before returning to the ship and take advantage of FREE Wi-Fi.

Photo of Taj Mahal in Ocho Rios

Taj Mahal - Ocho Rios

Photo © IQCruising.com

The Taj Mahal shopping plaza is next door and one of the most sought after sites by shopaholics. Besides the typical duty-free and souvenir shops, the cruise traveler will also find an ATM, an Exchange Office, Mama Marley's (a very good bar & grill) and the Café Express (Bistro & Bar serving Blue Mountain Coffee). Right across the street from the Taj Mahal's gate, there is a Tourist Information Kiosk with officially rated taxis.

Insider's Hint: when docking at the James Bond Pier, the Island Village and the Harbour Shops are at the start of the Main Street - less than 1/2 mile (800 meters) from the exit gates.

Photo of Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios

Turtle River Park

Photo © IQCruising.com

After the Taj Mahl plaza, there is an entrance to the Turtle River Park, an immaculately kept public garden, and John Crow's Tavern - another good spot to enjoy a coffee, a quick bite and check the internet (Free Wi-Fi). It has a very nice outdoor seating area and ideal for people watching.

Photo of John Crow's Tavern in Ocho Rios

John Crow's Tavern, Main Street

Photo © IQCruising.com

Across the street, there is a large car park next to a shopping plaza but this one only has local shops and is not duty-free. However, it is good to know that at the end of the parking there is an entrance to the Ocho Rios Bay Beach, the best access if docked at the James Bond Pier.

Photo of Bay Beach in Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Photo © IQCruising.com

Photo of Craft Market in Ocho Rios

Craft Market

Photo © IQCruising.com

The 'Olde' Craft Market and the Post Office are the next landmarks on Ocho Rios' Main Street and on the opposite side a larger Crafts Market. For those that like to collect crafted souvenirs, the two markets are the places to go, in particular, the larger one if looking for wood carvings.

Photo of Soni's Plaza in Ocho Rios

Soni's Plaza

Photo © IQCruising.com

Opposite the Craft Market, Soni's Plaza is the third and last Duty-Free shopping mall in Ocho Rios' Main Street. Like in the previous plazas, Watches and Jewelry is the main merchandise on offer but there is also a good shop selling Cuban Cigars (a Best buy in Jamaica). Soni's Plaza also has two restaurants worth mentioning: Mamma Marley's (the same chain as the one on Taj Mahal Plaza) and Passage to India, an excellent Indian restaurant with genuine cuisine and reasonably priced.

Photo of Main Street in Ocho Rios

Main Street - Ocho Rios

Photo © IQCruising.com

Next to Soni's Plaza, around 1/2 mile from the start of the Main Street, the Mongoose is a typical Jamaican restaurant with traditional food and the last spot of interest on the Main Street. Most visitors do not venture farther East, but if you do you will find the active buzz of local life with lots of small business, shops, grocery and food stores, a fresh market but not much of interest for tourists to see or do.

Photo of Hibiscus Lodge in Ocho Rios

Hibiscus Lodge - Ocho Rios

Photo © IQCruising.com

In fact, you will have to walk another 1/2 mile to reach the Hibiscus Lodge and the Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church next to it. The latter has an interesting architecture and the Hibiscus Lodge has a scenic restaurant and pleasant bar with memorable views of the Caribbean.

Photo of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Ocho Rios

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church - Ocho Rios

Photo © IQCruising.com

Mahogany Beach is close by but the walk down to the shore (almost 1/2 mile) is a stretch and the return strenuous. Besides, this beach is usually crowded with many a catamaran excursion anchoring at the bay.

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