I’m not the type of person to spend my entire vacation laying on the beach and for that reason I decided to visit Ocho Rios in the eastern part of Jamaica. Unlike Negril which is well known for its beautiful beaches, Ocho Rios and its surroundings are a great blend of mountains, rivers, waterfalls and remarkable flora.
Only a thirty minute walk from Ocho Rios’s town center are the wonderful Mahoe Falls. Although Dunn’s River Falls are the bigger and more popular falls in the area, they also tend to be crowded with tourists and to lack the charm and tranquility of Mahoe Falls. Surrounded by Coyoba River Garden, Mahoe Falls is a little piece of paradise. This fall can be climbed with ease because it doesn’t have the force of Dunn’s River Falls. The surrounding gardens are lush with exotic flowers and colourful butterflies. There is a lookout point with a panoramic view of Ocho Rios and small history museum of Jamaica from its Spanish occupation to present day. This was truly a charming experience.
We couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Blue Mountain which is only two hours away from Ocho Rios by bus. So we booked a bike tour of Blue Mountain and we were on our way. The tour bus took us close to the mountain top where bicycles where waiting for us to commence our decent. After a quick brunch we got on our bikes and started our way down along with the other cyclists on the tour. The views were spectacular and I was in awe of Jamaica’s green and lush vegetation. We stopped along the way to take pictures and wonder at waterfalls, oversized banana trees, beautiful tropical flowers and the common sight of goats.
The group was travelling close together but if you’re lucky to find yourself separated from the others and riding on the side of the mountain with the sun on your face you can really feel in touch with nature. Everything around me seemed oversized and the colour enhanced. Half way through our tour we stopped for lunch and had one of the tour guides show us how coffee is being made. Blue Mountain is well know for its coffee and of course we were given the opportunity to purchase some. Although rain started coming down on the second part of our trip down, it didn’t ruin the wonderful experience of the day.