The name "Ocho Rios" has two possible origins: it is
either a direct translation from Spanish meaning "eight rivers" or an
adulteration of "las chorreras" (the spouts), reflecting the large number of
waterfalls in the area. Ocho Rios is located in St. Ann's parish about 60 miles from
Annotto to Discovery Bay on a half-moon shaped cove in the middle of Jamaica's northern
coastline. It was formerly a fishing port and was also known for its banana exports. Now
it is a pretty resort town with stunning waterfalls and beaches and interesting
colonial-period buildings like the Geddes Memorial Church and the Anglican Church. The
town's business and commercial center is Pineapple Place.
When not indulging in the many activities available--horseback riding, polo, golf,
tennis, shopping, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, swimming or sunbathing--there are a
number of interesting sights worth seeing in the environs of Ocho Rios:
In 1658 it was the site of a clash between Spanish and British troops over who would
possess the island. As we now know, the British won the fray.
Located on Pagee Beach, it has a number of well-preserved buildings of the colonial
The Dunn's River cascades over a number of rock terraces on its way to the sea and a
beautiful beach. The stepping stones of the falls allow easy access up and down their 600
feet, under a stimulating shower. There is a Dunn's River feast every week with dancing,
music and swimming.
The Spanish established a port here after Christopher Columbus' arrival in 1494. The
three-acre Columbus Park nearby has buildings from the Spanish colonial period.
A former river bed, it is now possible to walk three miles through the valley in the
shadows of magnificent ferns (600 types) and hardwood trees.
Working plantations still exist at Prospect Estates and Brimmer Hall, model agricultural
centers which the produce some of the island's major exports, coconuts, bananas and citrus
fruits. Tours of the estates include lessons on the life cycle of the banana plant and the
proper way to carry a bunch of coconuts in a head basket.
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