The largest public beach in Ocho Rios is the wide sand arch of Ocho Rios Bay Beach, otherwise known as ‘Turtle Beach’. Nestled between Moon Palace Jamaica Grand and the Ocho Rios Marina, it boasts warm and shallow turquoise water that gently laps a thick strip of immaculate white sand covered in shady Almond and Palm Trees.
For a nominal charge (see below for details) you will be given a wristband so that you can enter and re-enter Ocho Rios Bay Beach as many times as you choose for the day, enabling you to get supplies in the town or pop back to your accommodation.
Ocho Rios Bay Beach can get very busy as there are a multitude of hotels and apartment lining Main Street that back onto the sand, most of which give free beach passes to their guests. The beach is also very popular with locals both from Saint Ann and further afield, who also come to Ocho Rios to do the ‘tourist’ thing!
Additionally with it’s proximity to the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Pier, not only do the towering cruise ships dominate the view from the beach, the passengers that flock to shore swell the population of the town and beach. There is a beautiful paved boardwalk all the way from the Cruise Ship Pier, passing the Ocho Rios Marina and straight to the beach entry booths.
TIP! If you want to party on the Ocho Rios Bay Beach look out for billboards in the town advertising upcoming events. There are often Igloo (cool box) parties where a sound system sets up on the beach and you can bring your own food and drinks.
Facilities at Ocho Rios Bay Beach
Along with the entry booths are a team of security personnel who man the gates and patrol the beach. There are also cleaners who rake the sand and keep it in a pristine condition.
The sea has designated swimming areas and is shallow enough near the shoreline for children to play, although it does have a tendency for a lot of seaweed. There is a watersports rental booth and diving centre, where you can try everything from snorkelling to paragliding and taking a spin on a jet ski.
There are toilets and changing rooms, plus a bar serving the beach goers. There are also sun loungers for rent, or you can use the picnic tables dotted along the sand for free.
Expect to see various vendors plying their trade along the sand, which is convenient if you don’t want to leave your things to walk to the bar or craft market. If you don’t want to buy anything, a smile and a polite ‘I’m not shopping today’ or ‘I’m good thanks’, will see them walking on to the next punter.
Nearby Amenities to Ocho Rios Bay Beach
There are two craft markets nearby to the Ocho Rios Bay Beach which can be found if walking along main street. Plus there is the sprawling Ocean Village complex, which has a huge choice of shops, General Foods supermarket, banks, doctors, dentists, opticians, Ice Cream Parlour and so on. Across the street there is also the Post Office and Burger King / KFC if you are wanting a break from Jamaican food.
The Important Bits about Ocho Rios Bay Beach – Saint Ann
- COST: Residents Adults: JA$300 / Children JA$100 – Visitors Adults US$3 / children US$1
- PARKING: Ocean Village Shopping Centre Parking – Enter adjacent to the Reno Gaming Lounge. Free for the first 2 hours, if you get the ticket ‘stamped’ after making a purchase in one of the shops in the shopping centre.
- PLANT BASED OPTIONS:
- DRINK: There is a bar on the beach, or you can go onto one of the shops or supermarket in the Ocean Village Shopping Centre
- SHOPPING: Some vendors on the beach selling craft and the like, you may well get approached
- RESTROOMS: Yes, you can change here too
- FAMILY FRIENDLY: *Yes, but you may see persons smoking and selling Marijuana on the beach
- WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes, if you can drive across the sand
- FITNESS LEVEL REQUIRED: All fitness levels
- EASY TO FIND: Yes
- AMENITIES: You can rent sun loungers for US$5 and there are FREE picnic benches
- BEACH SAFETY: Lifeguard on duty, Security Personnel patrolling
- ADDED EXTRAS: You can rent motorised and non-motorised water sports equipment
- CROWD INDEX: Can get very busy especially in the high season and on cruise ship days
- GOOD TO KNOW: Due to the fact the beach in is a bay, it can sometimes have debris washed ashore after a storm, or some people complain it can be bit smelly. However, I have personally not had either of these problems whenever I have visited.
Daily 8:30AM – Last Entry 5:00PM
Directions to Ocho Rios Bay Beach
ADDRESS: Ocho Rios Bay Beach, Main Street, Ocho Rios, Saint Ann
WALKING: If you are staying in Ocho Rios town centre you can easily walk to Ocho Rios Bay Beach. Head towards Main Street where you will find the large Craft Market (opposite Burger King) beside Ocean Village Shopping Centre. Walk through the car park in front of Josephs Hotel, past General Foods and The Healthy Way, keep going until you reach the last of the shops. Turn left and you will see the beach ahead of you behind a chain link fence, keep walking to the left and you will see the entry booth.
TAXI: As Main Street is a one-way street and the Ocho Rios Bay Beach in the centre of town, it is counter productive to get a taxi from the Ocho Rios clocktower, so I recommend a little stroll, as per the directions above! If you are coming from further afield in the direction of Oracabessa, you will probably be dropped off near the clock tower, so follow the directions for walking above. If you are coming from the direction of Saint Ann’s Bay, you will probably drive down Main Street, ask to be let off at Burger King and follow the walking directions from there.
DRIVING: If you are driving from the direction of Oracabessa, drive down the bypass, aka the A3. If you want to park in the car park in front of Josephs hotel, turn right at the traffic lights in front of the Eight Rivers Plaza and drive down Milford Road. You will pass Jamaica National on the corner, keep going to the end of the street, where you will see Scotia Bank on the corner. You can only turn right as it is a one-way road, immediately get in the left lane and pull into the car park next to the Craft Market – Follow the walking directions from there. The car park is Free for the first 2 hours, if you get the ticket ‘stamped’ after making a purchase in one of the shops in the shopping centre, otherwise it is JA$200 per hour.
Or, if you prefer to park in the car park in front of Reno Gaming Lounge (quieter car park) drive down the bypass aka the A3. Drive past the Eight Rivers Plaza and Turtle River Park, take the first right turn after the park. You will have to bare right as Main Street is a one-way road. Drive down Main Street, you will pass Sandcastles, a little further down you will see a car park, adjacent to the Reno Gaming Lounge. The entrance to the beach is at the back of the car park. The car park is free for the first 2 hours, if you get the ticket ‘stamped’ after making a purchase in one of the shops in the shopping centre, otherwise it is JA$200 per hour.
If you are approaching Ocho Rios from the west (Saint Ann’s Bay, Montego Bay etc) drive down Main Street, which is a one-way road. You will pass Island Village on the corner, a little after you pass Sandcastles you will see the car park, adjacent to the Reno Gaming Lounge. The entrance to the beach is at the back of the car park. The car park is free for the first 2 hours, if you get the ticket ‘stamped’ after making a purchase in one of the shops in the shopping centre, otherwise it is JA$200 per hour.
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Original Post dated 14th March 2014.