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The Best Beaches in Jamaica: Ocho Rios Bay Beach, St. Ann

Updated: Jul 10, 2019

Beach Location

Ocho Rios Bay beach, also referred to as “Turtle Beach” is situated in the town of Ocho Rios on the north coast of Jamaica. It is nestled between Sunset Jamaica Grande on the eastern side and Ocho Rios Cruise Ship pier on the western end. Its attraction are its brilliant white sand, crystal clear water and captivating view of the Caribbean Sea.

Many of the hotels along Main Street, Ocho Rios skirt the beach, hence it is a well-used tourist beach and popular with locals too. The water stays knee high for a while so if you want water up to your shoulders, you'll have to go out a bit. On the brighter side, the shallow water is perfect for children.

Some people complain about the cruise ships blocking their view, but they're impressive and a sight to behold. For cruise ship visitors to Ocho Rios, it will be the closest beach.

Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios (Spanish for "Eight Rivers") is a town in the parish of Saint Ann on the north coast of Jamaica. It was once a fishing village but now caters to tourists. Columbus Park, Christopher Columbus' landing spot on Jamaican soil is located outside the city. It is a port of call for cruise ships and cargo ships loading sugar, limestone, and bauxite. Scuba diving and other water sports are offered in the town's vicinity.

The name "Ocho Rios" could be a misnomer, as there are not currently eight rivers in the area. The name could be a British corruption of the original Spanish name "Las Chorreras" ("the waterfalls"); a name given to the village because of the nearby Dunn's River Falls.

The journey from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios via the North Coast Highway from the international airport at Montego Bay is an hour and thirty minutes. A renewal plan for the resort area was done recently. With the opening of the North-South portion of Highway 2000, driving and commute times into the nation's capital, Kingston, has been reduced from two hours to one hour. The opening of this highway has reduced traffic on the old route (through the town and onto Fern Gully).

The town has well-known restaurants, and an active nightlife. Another major point of interest is Fern Gully. Fern Gully is the result of a 1907 earthquake that destroyed one of the riverbeds in the area. It is a rocky gorge stretching about three miles where travelers can see over 540 variety of ferns. In 1907, the British government paved over the destroyed riverbed to create what is currently known as "The Fern Gully Highway."

Environmental Features

The beach has white sand and is approximately 478 metres long and 30 meters wide. Vegetation includes Seagrape, Seaside Mahoe, West Indian Almond, Coconut trees and grasses. Seagrass beds are located close offshore with evidence of beach erosion.


Ocho Rios can be reached by air, although many visitors fly into Montego Bay instead of flying straight into Ocho Rios. The only airport in Ocho Rios is the Ian Fleming International Airport, aka Boscobel Aerodrome, which accommodates domestic flights and private aircraft. The Ian Fleming International Airport doesn’t host any international air carriers.

Travelers flying into Montego Bay can get from the airport to Ocho Rios via shuttle bus, Knutsford Express bus or taxi. The bus ride between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios is approximately 90 minutes to two hours long depending on the hotel. Rental cars are also available. Many companies operate shuttle bus service from Montego Bay airport to Ocho Rios.

The best way for a visitor to get from Kingston to Ocho Rios is via the Knutsford Express, a luxury bus service. The Knutsford Express bus terminus is located on Grenada Crescent. Reservations are advised as it is a popular bus service. Another way is by personal driver which would most likely be a taxi-driver as he has both the vehicle and the time. The daily rate would depend on the length of time that you would need him for.

The cheapest way to get around Ocho Rios is by public transport. After you get to your hotel and get rid of your bags, there will be no problem for you to move around like a local and pay the local fares on route taxis and buses. It is the chartered taxi that is more likely to overcharge you. Get ideas of routes and costs from locals, like your barman or waiter, chef etc. Make sure that you have the correct change to go where you want to go. Just be careful in lonely places late at night.

Let's go swimming in the Ocho Rios Bay Beach, Jamaica


Food services are available such as snack shop and picnic facilities; water sports activities also. Ocho Rios Bay Beach is ideal for special events such as weddings, parties, and family trips. Bathroom and changing room facilities are available. It's a pleasant scene but can be somewhat overshadowed by cruise ships when they're in port.

Enjoy the white sands, beautiful waters, and many activities at Ocho Rios Bay Beach. Immerse yourself in the sea with a snorkel to admire the marine life, or if you’re feeling brave, take to the skies and parasail high above the water. Check out the little waterfall where the Rio Ocho meets the sea, then head to one of the beach bars for a snack or a refreshing drink. Be prepared to pay a small fee to get onto the beach; consider bringing something to wear on your feet while swimming, as sea urchins live in the water.

Review Highlights

Review of Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Reviewed August 31, 2017

The public beach wasn't free, cost $2 for entrance. This was not the best beach experience I had in Jamaica but it was very quiet because there wasn't a ship in and it was very low season in September. I didn't see any food or bars on the beach, I presume you could bring your own. There are picnic tables available under trees to give you great shade. The beach offers water activities like boat rides for snorkeling ($40 per person). The water is very clean and shallow. There are a couple of hotels that use the beach as well. There were no chairs available unless you were staying at one of the hotels but not sure if that changes when the cruise ships come in. Not my favorite beach in Jamaica but I did have to see for myself.

Sue Hilton reviewed Ocho Rios Bay Beach5 star

Beautiful, clean white sandy beach, never feels too crowded and loads of sun loungers available any time of the day

As we were guests at the Sandcastle apartments. located opposite Ocho Rios Beach, guests didn’t have to pay to go. Had a fantastic time.

Cool meet-up place for not only tourists but also my teammates for team retreats.

It’s an amazing place where MICHAEL JORDAN's mansion and BOB MARLEY the king reggae are located on top of the mountain..... No woman, no cry.

It's cool, want to chill? Here is the place. White sand n warm water.

Can’t wait to get back there.

Nellie Hendo reviewed Ocho Rios Bay Beach5 star

Really nice hotel and good food and many pleasant staff.

Love it ... quite relaxing to chill with u fam or bae.

Colin Wilmot reviewed Ocho Rios Bay Beach5 star

Find the best local tour operator. El Sol Vida tours.

Went there for the first time and I'm begging to go back.


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July 8, 2019

Jacqueline Cameron

Jamaica So Nice™

(876) 649-7507

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