Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios Travel Blog

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I went to Jamaica with my friend in August 2009.

Before going on this trip, we were strongly adviced not to. By everyone, including a few people from travel agencies.
Their reasons for it basically were, that:
1. We are from Russia, and not a lot of russian tourists go there, so the travel agency people dont really have much to offer.
2. Due to the lack of information about the place people stereotype is as a horrible underdeveloped place filled with unbelievable ammounts of drugs and guns and such.
3. We are both female, so everyone was worried about our safety.
4. August is the down season because of supposed rainfalls.

Well, despite all the worries, everything turned out ok. Great, actually.

Ocho Rios is a tourist destination, everything was pretty modern and civilized, so I didnt really look at it as a "third world" kind of place (then again, I'm from Moscow, so it might seem different to somebody from, say, Sweden).

Local food is amazing and very cheap. There are also Indian and Chinese restaurants (we didnt go there so i cant say anything about the quality of food there) and burger chains, such as KFC and some local McDonals type of things.

We were among the only tourists there because it was out of season. Which, by the way, didn't really affect our vacation in a bad way: there was no heavy rainfall at all, only about 2 small showers in the whole 2 weeks that we stayed there. Most tourists were people of Jamaican decent who live in the US and UK and came here to see relatives because summer prices are lower.

Everyone is very nice, people don't bother you unless you are interested in their services. Of course, a lot of shop keepers try to persuade you to take a look in their store, but they are not as determined and annoying as, for example, salesmen in Egypt. If you smile and say no, it means no, and nobody will try to take you by the arm and drag you into the shop.

We didn't go to any tourist hot spots because we met some locals and saw basically all there was to see, only much cheaper. We didn't go to Dunn's River Falls (around $50 per person) because we went to 2 free "regular" waterfalls, which you can climb for free and are basically the same as Dunn's, only smaller and without the crowds and souvenir shops. We also went to Fern Gully and some Botanic Gardens (don't remember the names).

The most interesting part of the trip was the visit to a local "real" neighborhood - we went to visit our new friends' relatives. The neighborhood was once again described to us by hotel staff as very dangerous and supposedly if we were lucky to get out alive, we would still leave all our money and phones there. Again, that wasn't exactly the way it went. Entering the neighborhood, we saw a big sign that said that the place was protected by police (or security guards - i don't remember), which was a surprise. All the houses looked nice. Basically, there are yards surrounded by houses that are usually occupied by relatives. The people were very nice, they showed us around and askes us about our homes as well.

We didn't go to tourist-oriented clubs either, but we went to a few local clubs/bars. What was interesting there, is that even though there's music and everything, nobody "has" to dance and act like they are in a club - some people just sat there with their laptops, some just sat there ( probably cause many people were high lol). So everything is pretty mellow - not like back home, where if you are in a club, you are 'supposed to' get drunk, dance all night long, act insanely happy and afterwords hook up with a bunch of strangers. Here nobody really cared what anyone else was doing, which was nice for a change.

Anyway, I enjoyed my trip very much and might think about coming back one day

 

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Ocho Rios Hotels & Accommodations review
We were a little worried about staying in a 3 star hotel, but chose it for its location. And it was very good. Nice service, friendly staff, clean bea… read entire review
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photo by: vulindlela