There are so many dry land diversions in Ocho Rios that it’s easy to forget it’s a beach destination.

The premier beach in Ocho Rios is the quarter-mile strand known as Reggae Beach. While its length may not rival other blockbuster beaches in Jamaica, it makes up for its relatively small size in extra helpings of scenic beauty. Jagged cliffs festooned with sea grape trees frame the beach on each side. You’ll pay an entrance fee of $9 to access Reggae Beach but it’s a small price to enjoy the secluded and serene setting. Lounge chairs, showers and changing rooms make for a pleasant experience. Snorkeling is excellent and gear can be rented.

They don’t call it Reggae Beach for nothing — three beach bars pump out island rhythms. Jam sessions often spring up spontaneously, especially on Friday afternoons, and stretch on throughout the evening; when the sun goes down a bonfire is lit and a DJ lays it down past midnight. If you get hungry these same little bars serve up spicy jerk chicken and grilled lobster.

Dunn’s River Falls is undoubtedly Ocho Rios’ signature attraction. It’s sheer size and beauty tends to overshadow the half-mile beach where the falls’ cascading waters tumble down to the sea. At the beach you can rent a snorkel and other watersports gear. If there’s a cruise ship in port, avoid the crowd by arriving at the beach early in the morning or towards evening. The beach is best enjoyed combined with a climb up the falls.

Dunn's River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls

If you’re looking for local color and an opportunity to splash around with Jamaicans, head to Mallards Beach, the small, public beach in downtown Ocho Rios. The beach is surrounded by hotels, shops and restaurants, making it easy to combine a beach day with exploring the town. A small fee will get you access to the beach.

The beach at the Island Village entertainment complex has a fantasy aspect — it almost looks like a movie set starring hordes of cruise passengers. If you’re on a strict schedule and you want to say you dipped your toe in Jamaica’s waters, it will suffice.

Turtle Beach is billed as the largest beach in Ocho Rios. Lined with coconut palms, you’ll be able to rent watersports equipment, including scuba gear. The surf is gentle here and a roped-off area makes it safe for kids.


Fans of 007 will want to make the 20-minute drive east of Ocho Rios to James Bond Beach, in the town of Oracabessa. They can opt for a waverunner tour that will bring them past GoldenEye, the former Jamaican home of the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming.