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Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica (population 8200) is the island's third most important region (second if you count cruise ship arrivals). It is located in a deep bowl backed by lushly vegetated hills and fronted by a wide, scalloped, white sand beach - UDC Beach (or Turtle Bay Beach) - and a reef-sheltered harbor.

Offshore offers some excellent scuba diving with splendid coral formations slated to be protected within the as-yet-unrealized Ocho Rios Marine Park. Immediately east of town are other nice beaches, most of them hidden in coves that are the private domain of upscale hotels.

Ocho Rios, 67 miles east of Montego Bay, is popular with cruise ships, which gleam white and omnipresent in the turquoise bay with the lush green mountains above.

The centerpiece of the 42-mile stretch of Jamaica's north-coast is the one-time fishing village of Ocho Rios. Today, Ocho Rios is easily Jamaica's fastest growing resort area as is attested by its popularity with cruise lines.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica is the essence of every thing Caribbean, and more. It's envied by other destinations, and with good reason. It's a potpourri of everything good about the Caribbean. Things like blue skies, warm weather, beautiful waters, and sun-drenched beaches. The towering mountains, magnificent waterfalls and endless list of attractions is a plus. Add the great flavors of scrumptious dining, spirited reggae, and moonlit nights. Round it out with a field of sports like championship golf, smashing tennis, and surprising good scuba diving and voila!

Ocho Rios Jamaica is the main choice for large groups, families seeking villa rental accommodation and for cruise ship visitors wishing to visit the sites of the town.

A mixture of spacious villas, low-key hotels, multi-storey resorts and a burgeoning town, Ocho Rios, Jamaica got its name from a corruption of the Spanish 'choreras,' or waterfall, which speaks of the stretch of coastline east of the town where a series of streams cascade out of the limestone.

West of Ocho Rios and not far beyond world-renowned Dunn's River Falls, you pass by the bustling parish capital, St. Ann's Bay, on the way to Runaway Bay. A cluster of villas, a golf course, small hotels and resort developments, stretch along several miles of unspoilt coastline. The town's name is thought to recall the runaway slaves who took advantage of Cuba's 90-mile proximity. Make Ocho Rios, Jamaica your choice for a villa or family vacation getaway.