The average traveler may be tempted to view Jamaica as a place where everyone goes to party, or has long and thick dreadlocks hanging ruggedly over the shoulders and loves Bob Marley. Naturally, this picture may conjure up images of crime and other misdemeanors in a traveler’s mind. The truth is, while Jamaica is not Iceland, which for 13 consecutive years has been ranked as the safest country on the globe, it’s not also a gangland battlefield, where handbags are viciously snatched at every street corner, or where foreigners strolling the streets are randomly robbed at gunpoint.
Like every country, Jamaica has its fair share of security problems. However, according to the statistical website NationMaster, its crime statistics do not reveal any huge difference from those of the United States. For instance, Jamaica recorded 14.97 Total crime incidences per1,000, compared to the United State’s 41.29.
Still, any traveler would prefer the safest of destinations. And in Jamaica, Ocho Rios is a serious contender.
Ocho Rios In Jamaica
Referred to fondly as Ochi by the locals, Ocho Rios sits invitingly on Jamaica’s North Coast, famed for being generally safer than the rest of the country. This popular town, whose Spanish name means “eight rivers” even though it has only four, can excite even the most stoical. It has stunning beaches, the breath-taking 600-foot Dunns waterfall, the Mystic Mountain which itself has tens of other attractions around and within, the alluring Blue Hole, and the Dolphin Cove, where travelers get the chance to feed, even hold, friendly dolphins in its turquoise-blue waters.
Best Couples Resorts in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ocho Rios has many fantastic resorts which come with varied features depending on the traveler’s taste, style, and of course, pocket. One couples’ favorite is the 150-room Couples Sans Souci which sits on a breath-taking stretch along the beautiful emerald waters of the Caribean Sea. The secluded resort is ideal for romantic escapades for couples as evidenced by some of the resort’s romance-friendly policies. For instance, its no-photos and nudes-only section are considered one of the best in the whole country. The resort also has a basketball court, a spa, and a wellness center—in addition to a sparkling waterfall—all within its sprawling 35-acre expanse. The downside of this otherwise wonderful resort is that movement all around is on stairs. This makes it a bad pick for visitors with mobility limitations. Some rooms also show signs of wear.
- Distance: 2.7 miles from the city center and 2 hours from Montego Bay Airport.
For travelers who want an attractive, quieter alternative to Couples Sans Souci, Couples Tower Isle is perfect. Couples Tower and Couples Sans Souci are almost on the same top-notch level. It’s only that Couples Sans Souci is bigger and spread out while Couples Tower Isle is a tad smaller. Also, Couples Tower is designed to be a little more hotel-like while Couples Sans Souri is a typical resort with a raucous, livelier nightlife. Couples Tower’s biggest attraction is its Oasis Spa Villas. These award-winning villas come with personal plunge pools and a private sun terrace.
- Distance: 4.5 miles from the city center and 90 minutes from Montego Bay Airport.
All these resorts are all-inclusive, meaning almost every service is included in the price. The advantage of this arrangement is that travelers don’t have to keep on returning to their wallets or credit cards to pay for separate service items.
Speaking of all-inclusive resorts, perhaps the only truly all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios is Sandals Royal Plantation. This is because the resort’s quoted price includes even the roundtrip airport shuttle costs. It also includes scuba diving, which is certainly Sandal's most sought-after offering. Here, the scuba diving spots are incomparably spectacular. The warm crystal-clear waters also enable divers to interact with bright-colored marine life of different shapes and sizes.
- Distance: 1.4 miles from the city center and 90-100 minutes from Montego Bay Airport.
Best Family Resorts In Ocho Rios
For family trips, Moon Palace is perfect. Their Family Deluxe Rooms contain two spacious rooms with kids-friendly enhancements like sand buckets inside the rooms. There’s also a kids club outside with a bouncy castle and a lush, beautiful playground. For travelers who want a little dash of luxury, this 700-room resort has Concierge Rooms that come with zero-cost massage and private beach lounge chairs. It’s practically within the city since it’s only about 5 minutes from the city center.
- Distance: 700 meters from the city center and 100 minutes from Montego Bay Airport
Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club is another popular go-to resort for families. Although it’s a little more compact, Beaches Ocho Rios has unlimited family-friendly delights for adults and children of all ages. With comfortable hand-fitting paddleboards, children and adults should enjoy the thrill of rowing safe and spacious sailboats—in addition to other oceans of delights including snorkeling and windsurfing. At the waterpark, there are many waterslides that are suitable for children of all age groups, including toddlers. For land sports, this resort offers a whole gamut of entertaining activities ranging from basketball to lawn chess and many others in between. The tennis court is particularly outstanding. For children with disabilities, Beaches Ocho Rios has certified nannies including those trained to handle autistic children.
- Distance: 9.1 miles from the city center and 90 minutes from Montego Bay Airport and only 5 minutes away from the Ian Fleming International Airport in Boscobel.
The GoldenEye, the literary birthplace of motion picture legendary character James Bond, is a wonderful pick for families keen on a relaxed, laid-back family experience. It’s perfect for unwinding and recharging since its atmosphere is calmingly quiet; and spruced up with stunning beaches, beautiful gardens, lagoons, and lovely coves. Travelers particularly single it out for its deliciously prepared food and friendly customer service. Children will wander delightfully in the scenic 30-acre jewel, and enjoy activities like doll-making and art classes.
- Distance: 12 miles from the city center and 90-minute drive from Montego Bay Airport, a 10-minute drive from Ian Fleming International Airport (perfect for private planes).
Lastly, while travelers can visit Ocho Rios all through the year, anytime between December and April is usually the best for a beach vacation. The downside will be the swelling crowds and the high cost. However, travelers who are not mindful of weather conditions (the weather can be bad but rarely brutal in Jamaica), can have all the attractions to themselves at non-peak seasons and at lower price points.