Cooking jerk chicken at a local restaurant, Ocho Rios

Cooking jerk chicken at a local restaurant, Ocho Rios; credit Jamaica Tourism Board

Ocho Rios Travel Tips

Ocho Rios Facts

Official Language: English
Currency: Jamaican Dollars
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Est. Population: 6,500
Cruise Port City: Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios Travel Tips

Only Passports are required for U.S. citizens; visa are not required.

Bring sunglasses, a hat and plenty of biodegradable sunscreen lotion. Even with the best sunscreen, don’t lie in the sun more than 30 minutes the first day. Give your body time to adjust to tropical sun rays.

Women & Men should buy water shoes before or shortly after arriving. They are needed when climbing Jamaica’s famous waterfalls.

The island’s tropical climate averages 85 degrees year round. As a result, most of the dress code is always Island Casual. Many fine restaurants however, have strict dress codes. If fine dining is on the itinerary, gentlemen should bring a few collared shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes and ladies should bring a couple nice dresses or pant suits.

Anytime is a great time of the year to travel here, however, to avoid crowds and high prices, April to November is off season. The rainy season is May to June and October to December, but because it is a tropical climate, brief showers can come at any time.

The hurricane season is from June to November.

U.S. dollars and major credit cards are also accepted by most establishments.

Though English is the official language, many locals speak Patois with some words difficult to understand. If its important to you, kindly ask them to repeat the words more slowly.

Unless you have an International phone or use WhatsApp, get a local phone card for the best rates.

The post office is located on Main Street. Post office hours are 8am-5pm Monday-Friday.

Banks are open from 9am-2pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-4pm Friday. Most ATMs do not accept ATM cards from the U.S.

Most stores are open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

When traveling off resorts, avoid uncooked vegetables and dairy products.

Wear insect repellent when near water to prevent bites by midges, tiny insects also known as “no see ums.” The bites are not dangerous, but can be irritatingly itchy.

Tap water is safe to drink, but take bottled water along to stay hydrated in the hot sun.

Electricity is mostly the same as America, however, some places operate by European voltage and outlet standard.

Cruise ships dock at the Main Pier or James Bond Pier. Many shops are within walking distance of the cruise port. To avoid harassment by the local men, women should consider traveling in groups.

You should use a taxi when visiting tourist attractions and shops.

The crime rate here is similar to many major metropolitan cities, so exercise caution when walking around. Leave expensive jewelry and extra money on the ship or hotel room, since there are many pickpockets whose specialty is to prey on tourists. Do not walk or drive away from the resort district at night — no side trips to hang out with locals, if you don’t personally know them.

Jamaica legalized the Medical Marijuana and the law allows recommendations signed by doctors outside of Jamaica to carry weight. A legitimate medical marijuana complex, Kaya Farms, is a few miles west of Ocho Rios. Several cruise passengers have been approached by men trying to sell them recreational ganja (marijuana). Avoid them, it might be a set-up.

The major holidays in Ocho Rios are New Year’s Day, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labor Day, Emancipation Day, Independence Day, National Heroes Day, Christmas and Boxing Day.

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