Many of Jamaica’s guests come to us for romantic getaways. Proposals, weddings and honeymoons all find a perfect stage here, set with the romance of watercolor sunrises and wide, sandy beaches for hand-in-hand strolls.
But what about the handful of years after the honeymoon? When the house is full of little ones and you need a getaway more than ever?
Family-friendly Jamaica can still be your destination of choice. This lively, authentic island offers nature and history lessons that will trick your kids into learning something new, and kid-friendly adventures to keep everyone engaged and happy…both on the beach and beyond.
We’ve gathered feedback from our Ocean View Villa guests and other Jamaica travelers to put together the top 5 family-friendly activities in Ocho Rios. Here they are!
1. Dolphin Cove.
Photo via Loren Sztajer
As one of the island’s most popular activities, a trip to Dolphin Cove has been the highlight of many a Jamaican family vacation.
And for good reason.
Swimming and interacting with friendly, intelligent dolphins is a truly unforgettable experience for adults and children. Once you’ve tried it, you and your kids will never look at these gentle aquatic mammals the same way again.
The swim is trainer-supervised and safe for kids ages 3 and older. For little ones younger than 3 or those who would rather not swim, a “Dolphin Encounter” in shallow water lets you greet the dolphins with a kiss and a pat “hello.”
But Dolphin Cove isn’t just about the dolphins. You can also interact with stingrays and Caribbean sharks (only for kids 8 years and older) and take a ride on a glass-bottomed kayak.
2. Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Mountain
Photo by Chris Short
Kids of the age of 5 (46” or taller) will love this rainforest bobsled adventure inspired by the famous Jamaican bobsled team’s Olympic run. Twist through the tree-dappled forest and take in sweeping Ocho Rios vistas while strapped securely into a bobsled. More scenic than a rollercoaster and just as fun!
Your kids will also thrill at the infinity swimming pool with waterfalls and a king’s view of Ocho Rios below. Meanwhile, younger kids can interact with butterflies and hummingbirds at the on-site aviary gardens.
3. Dunn’s River Falls
Photo by David Ansler
Another very population Ocho Rios destination, Dunn’s Falls should go on your Jamaican Vacation Bucket List right now. Beautiful, powerful, and awe-inspiring, Dunn’s Falls, with its multiple levels of cascading water, are great for older kids with an explorer’s itch…and young kids can splash in the safe, shallow lagoon area. Guides are on hand in case of emergencies.
4. Turtle Beach
Photo by Tomash Devenishek
Your best bet for a family-friendly beach is Turtle Beach. This large, palm-shaded beach (the largest and main beach in Ocho Rios, in fact) offers plenty of space for parking your family on some oversized beach towels and spending the afternoon building sandcastles and wading in the calm, clear water.
When cruise ships aren’t in port, you’ll feel like a local spending a day at the beach—it’s that un-crowded. Talk to us about how to plan your day at the beach just right.
Located just off Main Street, Turtle Beach is convenient to dining options, too—including a jerk chicken stand that makes a daily appearance right on the beach.
5. Eat an authentic Jamaican meal.
Introduce your kids to the new and distinct flavors of Jamaican cuisine! If you join us at Ocean View Villa, our much-praised on staff cook, Millie, will create a Jamaican feast with spice levels fit for young palates. Or, try Mom’s for some authentic Jamaican food without fills. This small restaurant is a local secret and its classic food options will please kids—try the fried chicken.