The beautiful sites of Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

The name, Ocho Rios, is misleading, as eight rivers do not exist in this area of Jamaica. Historians seem to think that the title is a British misinterpretation of the original Spanish moniker Las Chorreras, a designation meaning "the waterfalls." This assumption is more than understandable, as the region is an amazing place of beauty with many water features, areas of lush forest, and, of course, gorgeous Jamaican beaches.

The single most visited attraction in Ocho Rios is the Dunn's River Falls. This 600-foot waterfall gently progresses down a stepped series of volcanic rocks that visitors can climb. The area surrounding the falls is also quite an attraction, as lavish gardens and a small beach ring this amazing cascade of water. Those travelers who may be less daring are encouraged to take a walkway up the side of the waterfall, so they too can see this natural wonder from all angles.

Another interesting feature in Ocho Rios is the area known as Laughing Waters. This smaller set of waterfalls is named for its gurgling sounds that mimic the chuckles of happy visitors. The location is quite unique as the site also incorporates natural lawns and beaches overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Horseback riding, a popular activity on the island, is available at Chukka Cove Beach. Those who have never experienced riding a horse through the cool water will be more than thrilled to experience this unusual but invigorating excursion. Vacationers wishing to engage in this adventure will be led by a native guide on a two-hour tour and navigate the trails and coastline of the beach before taking their horse through a cooling bath in the pristine waters.

Fern Gully, just south of Ocho Rios, is a magical place thought to have originated with an underground river flowing through a series of ancient volcanic tubes. The region lives up to its namesake, as the area literally teems with gigantic ferns of many different varieties and is home to many colorful native birds. This is an excellent area to hike and enjoy a uniquely Jamaican piece of the Caribbean region.

Another fantastic place to view Jamaica is from the hilltops of Coyaba Gardens. Here, all aspects of Jamaican beauty are present as the region is rife with waterfalls, jungle, and beaches. As there is also a town, some interesting Spanish architecture is available for vacationers to view. The mystique of Jamaica, as one of the premier Caribbean destinations, is certainly worth exploring.