Bahamas Tourist Guide

This Bahamas Tourist Guide is an overview of what sort of activities are available to you while visiting the Bahamas. With over 700 islands, it’s easy to think of the Bahamas as the world’s beach, but don’t limit yourself! There are many other things available to tourists, as well.

The Bahamas are an island chain about fifty miles off the tip of Florida. They cover less than 6,000 square miles of land, but more than 100,000 square miles of water – that’s larger than the country of Spain! The water of the Bahamas also contains more coral reefs than the Great Barrier Reef in Australia – almost 5% of the world’s coral lives here. All this adds up to plenty of activities in, on, and around the water.

Coco Cay Private Island in the Bahamas is Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Photo: FotoDawg, Flickr
Coco Cay Private Island in the Bahamas is Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Photo: FotoDawg, Flickr

For those who like sitting on the beach sipping from a coconut and relaxing, the Bahamas is perfect. The beaches here are renowned for their soft, white, expansive sands, and 80% of the country’s beaches are isolated so you can truly relax. If you’re into going to the beach to actually do something, that’s covered, too. Places like Cable Beach in Nassau make every activity available to you – snorkeling, scuba, fishing, sailing, waterskiing, parasailing, windsurfing, and more are all here, complimented by convenient beach bars, a variety of seaside restaurants, and plenty of local entertainment.

Sports are also prominent on the islands, and any Bahamas tourist guide would be remiss in leaving them out. Fishing, swimming, and sailing are the most obvious sports available, but golf, tennis, cricket, and recreational flying are some of the lesser known, but equally fun sports you can involve yourself in. You can also enjoy horseback riding, soccer, football, and beach volleyball.

Lemon Shark Spotted During Scuba Diving Among the Coral Reef in The Bahamas, Photo: WIlly Volk, Flickr
Lemon Shark Spotted During Scuba Diving Among the Coral Reef in The Bahamas, Photo: WIlly Volk, Flickr

The Bahamas are steeped in history and a collision of cultures: West Africa, the American South, England, and Spain have all majorly influenced the islands. From Columbus’ landing on the island of San Salvador to watching the cars drive on the left side of the road (thank you, Britain), there are many things to see and do. Check out the site of famous buccaneers and pirates, and see one of the last hand-lit, kerosene lighthouses in the world. Visit the hermitage monastery on the highest point in the islands, or the Androsia Factory, where you can find local hand-dyed batik fabric and fashions for sale.

Ecotourism is a blossoming industry in the Bahamas. With 12 national parks ranging in size from forty acres to 20,000 acres, there is a lot of natural world to explore. In the effort to further preservation, the country of the Bahamas has set aside additional locations for 58 more national parks.

Atlantis Waterfalls on the Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Photo: chrismar, Flickr
Atlantis Waterfalls on the Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Photo: chrismar, Flickr

No Bahamas tourist guide would be complete without mentioning the capital, Nassau. Approximately 80% of the population of the islands lives in and around the city, and it’s the country’s gateway to and from the rest of the world. You could spend days touring Nassau alone. Historical sights include Fort Charlotte, the Government House, the Queen’s Staircase, and the Royal Victoria gardens. More modern activities include Atlantis Resort and Casino (you don’t have to be a guest to have fun there), Ardastra Gardens and Zoo, and Crystal Cay Marine Park (where you don’t have to get wet to be underwater). Nassau is also famous around the world for its shopping, ranging from locally woven straw products to cashmere sweaters and jewelry.

Pier and Rowboat Scene from the Bahamas, Photo: Jpatokal, WikiTravel
Pier and Rowboat Scene from the Bahamas, Photo: Jpatokal, WikiTravel

The Bahamas have a lot to offer the tourist in the way of attractions, but it compliments these offerings with world-class hospitality, close proximity to the US and Canada, a fair exchange on the dollar, options to fit every budget, and no need to learn a new language. This brief Bahamas tourist guide only highlights the exotic gem so close to home — there is much more to see, do, and learn once you actually get there!

Free Vacation in Mexico for Three Years if You Catch Swine Flu

Mexican travel industry is completely devastated by the outbreak of swine flu. The impact swine flu had on Mexican economy so far is estimated at $2.3 Billion, which represents 0.3% of gross domestic product. Air lines cancelled most of their flights to Mexico, cruise liners change itineraries from Mexico and server other ports instead, vacation providers offered customers who purchased vacations in Mexico substitutes in other Caribbean countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica or Cuba and those few who were in Mexico during swine flu outbreak and returned to their home country attest to Mexican all inclusive resorts looking like ghost towns. Yes, Mexico has been hit hard and the effects of swine flu will last for at least a few more months.

Obviously, resorts in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere in the Caribbean are laughing as they are cashing in on insane influx of extra tourists – we’re talking millions of tourists who would otherwise go to Mexico but now take their vacations elsewhere. That also obviously means that resorts in Mexico are losing millions of dollars. Realizing that this could be the end of many Mexican resorts, the owners of hotels on Mexico’s Caribbean coast and other people who are dependent on Mexican tourism industry got together with a plan to try to salvage what they can before it’s too late.

All Inclusive Beach Resort in Mexico
All Inclusive Beach Resort in Mexico, Photo: lecates, Flickr

It started with very strict hygiene procedures throughout resorts and now that they are sure their resorts are 100% safe and free from infection, they’re offering a guarantee that no tourist visiting their resort will catch a swine flu, or else they will provide them with three years of free vacations. Three years of free vacations to any tourist who would catch swine flu while vacationing at their resort – that is the guarantee that Mexican hotels on the Caribbean cost are offering to every tourist who disregards the swine flu scare and comes to their resort.

That’s quite a solid guarantee which seems to me like an excellent chance to take a ridiculously inexpensive vacation knowing you will be looked after like never before. Why do i say that? Because they have no tourists there right now and if you do decide to come, you will be one of few. You will be treated royally and they will make damn sure you won’t be possibly exposed to any swine flu particles. This is an all or nothing bid on their behalf. They can either lose everything or gain everything. So you can be sure they will go above and beyond to make sure they will not lose.

Swine Flu Affected Many Mexicans, Photo: Sarihuella, Flickr
Swine Flu Affected Many Mexicans, Photo: Sarihuella, Flickr

Also, because Mexican all inclusive resorts are such ghost towns, the prices will have dropped so if you decide to take your vacation in Mexico now, it will be way cheaper than usual. It totally seems like a can’t lose situation. And if swine flu gets you, you will end up with three years of free vacation in Mexico. To me this screams that every person who doesn’t have weakened immunity can only benefit from it. If you take proper precautions that eliminate possibility of getting infected with swine flu, you should be fine even in the area where swine flu exists. If you get infected never the less and act on it as soon as you realize you could be infected, chances are good you will heal up and overcome infection. If that happened while on your vacation in Mexico’s Caribbean coast, you’d get yourself three years of free vacation there. I don’t know about you, but I’m tempted.

Up to this point, there have been 58 reported deaths in Mexico resulting from the outbreak of H1N1 strain of Influenza A. Owners of holiday resorts who participate in this “Free Vacation for Three Years” promotion claim that their beach resorts are swine flu free and tourists can return there safely. Many claim that areas such as Puerto Vallarta on the west coast or Cozumel on the east coast have never registered any cases of Swine Flu.

Free Vacation in Mexico for Three Years Criteria

In order to qualify for free vacation in Mexico for three years, you would have to take vacation in one of participating beach resorts and if you get diagnosed with swine flu within 8 days after returning from your trip, you will get free vacationing in Mexico for three years.

Does such guarantee appeal to you, or are you a believer that no savings in the world is worth the risk of getting infected with potentially deadly virus? As for me, swine flu doesn’t bother me as much as drug wars, murders and corruption. These are the real reasons why I haven’t been to Mexico for a while and have no intentions to change it anytime soon (even though the free vacation offer sounds tempting). Extreme cruelty of drug lords who roam the land unpunished offing anyone who crosses their business is far scarier than swine flu. And with corruption going rampant across Mexico, I have little reason to trust they would honor the free vacation “guarantee”? But that’s just me.

Maho Beach in St Marteen – Planes Landing Above Your Head

Maho Beach is definitely one of the most impressive beaches in the world. It’s located on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean – St Maarten is part of the Netherlands Antilles. Maho Beach doesn’t stand out from other beaches because of the sea, sand, waves, or anything like that. The beauty of Maho Beach lies in its location immediately adjacent to the Princess Juliana International Airport of St Maarten. The runway of the Princess Juliana International Airport (International Air Transport Association (IATA) airport code is SXM) is rather short so pilots landing the aircraft must touch down at the very beginning of runway 10, otherwise they wouldn’t have enough distance to safely stop the plane. Since Maho Beach is located right across the road from beginning of airport’s runway, landing planes are so close to the people on the beach, you almost feel you could touch the wheels if you jumped up.

Maho Beach in St. Maarten - Boeing 747 Aircraft Landing at the Airport
Maho Beach in St. Maarten - Boeing 747 Aircraft Landing at the Airport

Maho Beach Location

Maho Beach is located on the Maho Bay, which is on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, the island in the North East of the Caribbean, about 300 km east of Puerto Rico. Northern part of St. Maarten is part of French Guadeloupe, while south belongs to the Netherlands. Maho Beach is facing the western end of The Caribbean Sea which means you’d be able to watch spectacular sunsets from this beach.

Location of Maho Beach can be seen on the map below:

Location of Maho Beach on the Map of St Maarten
Location of Maho Beach on the Map of St Maarten

Maho Beach and Landing Planes

Thanks to its immediate proximity to the airport, many tourists are attracted to Maho Beach in order to be right underneath the aircraft seconds before landing. Giant planes would be landing virtually feet above your head. This creates amazing opportunities for some of the most spectacular beach pictures and videos. It is truly easy to impress with an image of a full size, massive aircraft so close above your head.

Aside from amazing picture and video opportunities, the thrill of being on a beach while giant Jumbo Jets are landing above your head delivers unsurpassed experience. There is no other place in the world where you could watch planes passing so close to you. Watch the video of Boeing 747 landing over Maho Beach below:

Maho Beach and Taking Off Planes

A whole new thrill offered by immediate proximity of Maho Beach to the Princess Juliana International Airport are take offs. A plane would navigate to the beginning of the runway and turn jet turbines on full, which causes blasts so strong, that if you’re on a beach right behind the plane, it will throw you into the sea. By stepping aside you can avoid strong currents and watch sand from the beach being blown a long way into the sea.

Maho Beach - Sign Warns Tourists About Departing and Arriving Aircraft
Maho Beach - Sign Warns Tourists About Departing and Arriving Aircraft

This video shows from a good perspective what it looks like on Maho Beach when a jumbo jet takes off from the Princess Juliana International Airport:

Maho Beach – Things to Do

Maho Beach is a stretch of white sand on Maho Bay. Part of the Caribbean Sea that washes these sands is at time calm and excellent for swimming, yet other times it gets pretty rough with large waves which makes swimming a little more challenging, but is excellent for wind-surfing. On the sides, Maho Bay is lined with rocks offering great opportunities for diving or snorkeling. There is also a cave you can dive into for an additional thrill, but may not be advisable when waves are big.

Best Time to Visit Maho Beach

If it’s the thrill of landing planes you want (you should, this type of thrill is not offered by any other beach), then the best time to visit Maho Beach is during the weekends. Air traffic is the highest on Saturdays and Sundays with its peak being in early afternoon hours. If you can time your visito to Maho Beach to 1pm – 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, you will see one plane landing after another.

Maho Resorts

The beach itself isn’t very long, but there are several quality resorts close by, including hotels, restaurants and bars on the beach. Nearby facilities include Caravanserai Resort, Maho Beach Resort, Bamboo Bernies and Sonesta Maho.

Maho Beach – Sunset Beach Bar

Sunset Beach Bar is a small open air bar located directly on Maho Beach. Its position on the southern side of the beach ensures that you are safely away from blasts cause by taking-off planes, yet you are right there for the front row view of landing planes. Sunset Beach Bar was closed in July of 2008 by Dutch authorities in order to do some renovations to it. It was planned to be reopened under a new name – Sunset Bar & Grill (Maho Beach is often referred to as Sunset Beach, but I’ve also heard it referred to as Airport Beach). Unfortunately Sunset Bar & Grill was completely destroyed by Hurricane Omar which directly hit and severely damaged entire area, including close by hotels and resorts. Bamboo Bernies and Bliss as well as nearby Royal Islander Resort are presently closed till further notice.

Maho Beach - Plane Landing in St Maarten
Maho Beach - Plane Landing in St Maarten

Another video of a giant plane landing at the St Maarten airport, demonstrating how much of a thrill it is to be on Maho Beach:

Cuba Holidays Before Big Change

Most people who haven’t yet made it to Cuba for holidays are the same – they’ve always meant to take vacation there, it’s just never worked out for them. The thing is – if you’re gonna visit Cuba, take your trip as soon as possible. Fidel Castro stepped down as president of Cuba and even though it’s his brother who took over, Cuba’s going to change.

Mass Tourism in Cuba

Cuba has already undergone a significant change and whoever took holidays at the island before that first change got the best out of it. That change came in 1994. After the fall of Berlin Wall and end of communism in Eastern Europe, Cuba’s main business partner – Russia was on the brink of bankruptcy and had to deal with its own crumbling economy so Cuba lost its foreign supportive hand and 80% of international trade. Fidel Castro – to day recognized as world’s greatest leader (recognized as such by everyone except from Americans) did the only thing he could to save his country from complete financial collapse: opened Cuba to mass tourism.

Cuba is Notorious for Endless Beaches with Fine Sand, Photo: Abdou.W, Flickr
Cuba is Notorious for Endless Beaches with Fine Sand, Photo: Abdou.W, Flickr

Still Same Old Cuba

Everything about Cuban way of life, its crumbling continental architecture, saloon cars from the 50’s, tobacco fields, cigar factories and some of the world’s best medical care and education remained the same. The difference was most noticeable in areas known for world’s finest beaches. Varadero is basically a tourist resort. It’s not even a Cuban town. It’s a location with high density of hotels and crap loads of tourists.

Similarly, while streets of Cuba are still not too busy and still dominated by those old American vintage gas-guzzling monsters, it is not unusual to see a shiny modern car in the mix. That would be a foreigner on a rental.

Old Car on a Street of Santiago de Cuba, Photo: brettocop, Flickr
Old Car on a Street of Santiago de Cuba, Photo: brettocop, Flickr

Yes, mass tourism has taken its toll on Cuba, but I appreciate Fidel Castro’s decision to allow trip companies in as it was the only way to save his country after collapse of communism in Europe. Castro also took it one step further and allowed private sector to take its share of tourism money. Cubans are now able to rent out rooms in their private houses (casa particular) to tourists. Whatever our American friends think, Fidel Castro is hands down the best country leader of the 20th century.

Major Change Still Due

Most of Cuba remains unchanged. It’s still the same it has been since revolution in 1959. Varadero is so touristy you wouldn’t be able to tell it from any other world class resort but other than that, Cuba is the same. No McDonald’s or any other recognizable fast food chains, no Walmarts or any other multi billion dollar corporation destroying small business, no drugs, no organized crime – aka, it’s still the same old Cuba that makes it so unique and so awesome. But that real and significant change is in the air. It’s inevitable. And when that change comes, it will be it.

New US president is likely to introduce a more relaxed approach towards Cuba and when the embargo is dropped, the island will get flooded with tourists to the point that it’s change country’s topography. Investors will start pouring in, ultimately putting an end to most traditional ways of business. Cuba will change and it will be significant. I can’t stress it enough – visit Cuba as soon as you can. Visit it before it changes. Once changed, old buildings will be replaced with new, old cars replaced with new, old ways replaced with new. The charm of the island will be gone. A trip to Cuba will be no different from a trip to Mexico. You’ll miss out if you don’t go before it changes.

Cuba Holidays Can Not Be Complete Without a Ride in a Coco Taxi, Photo: Mariana Ricaud, Flickr
Cuba Holidays Can Not Be Complete Without a Ride in a Coco Taxi, Photo: Mariana Ricaud, Flickr

To Varadero Or Not To Varadero?

The answer is simple – NOT. As I had mentioned above, Varadero has been turned into a tourist resort, the type you will find in Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, Curacao or whichever other tropical resort you can think of. To experience real Cuba and get the most out of its culture and history, go straight to Havana. Stay in Havana for at least three days. Havana has way more to offer and three days will hardly do it any justice, but it’ll give you more than 10 days in Varadero.

Varadero, Cuba - Known for World's Finest Beaches is Now a Tourist Resort, Photo: Andrew.O, Flickr
Varadero, Cuba - Known for World's Finest Beaches is Now a Tourist Resort, Photo: Andrew.O, Flickr

Havana

Havana has the best hospitals and schools in the Caribbean. The colonial architecture will remind you of Spaniards who conquered the island. The mass tourism has not affected Cuba’s capital much. Old hotels built in the 30’s are still in operation. Most give funky smell, but from the window you can see it all – national monuments, street performers, incredibly beautiful Cuban girls, coco-taxis, old men sitting on a street smoking cigars, little traffic mostly consisting of those old two tone saloon cars and palm trees.

Malecon Wall in Havana, Cuba, photo: damian 78, Flickr
Malecon Wall in Havana, Cuba, photo: damian 78, Flickr

Havana is Cuba the way it’s supposed to be. Go and enjoy it while it’s got its original charm.

Bob Marley Mausoleum, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Bob Marley Birthplace, Nine Mile Mausoleum, Photo: david_e_waldron, Flickr
Bob Marley Birthplace, Nine Mile Mausoleum, Photo: david_e_waldron, Flickr

Bob Marley Mausoleum and Bob Marley centre are great attractions available to tourists visiting Ocho Rios in Jamaica. The mausoleum is located in small hamlet called Nine Mile that houses both birth place and burial place of Bob Marley, his childhood home and a cottage with two rooms that contains Bob Marley family keepsakes. A vegetarian restaurant and a Bob Marley memorabilia gift shop are adjacent.

Bob Marley Mausoleum Location

Nine Mile, the hamlet where Bob Marley Mausoleum is located is about an hour and a half away from Ocho Rios. It may seem like a long ride, but it’s well worth it, especially if you’re a fan of reggae music or Bob Marley as an artist, singer and musician. Zion Bus services run between Ocho Rios and Nine Mile offering affordable and comfortable transport to and from the place. Zion Buses to Nine Mile are often painted in bright colors with Bob Marley posters all over and play Bob Marley’s music to get you all in the mood. You also have an option of renting a 4×4 and driving to Nine Mile at your own pace. Parking at Nine Mile is limited, though. Either way, visiting Nine Mile and the Bob Marley Mausoleum is likely to become the highlight of your stay in Jamaica. Do it, you won’t regret.

Getting off Ocho Rios and its tourist resorts will introduce you to the real Jamaica. There are many Jamaican kids around Nine Mile asking tourists for dollars, but small trinkets from a dollar store or lollipops make them just as happy. This is what real Jamaica looks like and these things are part of it. It’s also not unusual to see every local in sight ask money for everything. You could get approached by a random guy who would ask you to give him money for looking at the field he helped to maintain. Or he could ask you to give him money for simply talking to you. It’s easy to reject if you don’t feel comfortable giving anything away, but it could get overwhelming especially if this type of approach is not common in your home country.

Also, be aware that road to Nine Mile is not in the greatest of conditions and depending on a driver, could turn into a rather jumpy adventure. The further you get, the narrower, curvier and steeper it gets. You’ll see the driver honking his horn just to let everyone know that he’s coming through. It’s different, it’s Jamaica.

Bob Marley Mausoleum Address:
off the B3
St. Ann
Nine Mile
Jamaica

If you decide to drive there yourself, you may want to call first to make reservation. The phone number is +1 876 995 1763.

Driving Directions:
Take the B3 south from Ocho Rios to Brown’s Town, which is about 24 miles away. Continue south to Alexandria, then turn east at the signs for Alva. Continue for next 9.25 miles until you arrive at Nine Mile.

Bob Marley Mausoleum Tour

The Bob Marley Mausoleum guided tour is about an hour to three hours long and will take you through Bob Marley’s life, starting with his birthplace and finishing with his place of eternal rest. You will get to see the tomb of Bob Marley, which is elevated to about 6 feet above ground level. You will also get to see his cooking pit and his rock pillow.

The tour is accompanied by a lot of singing and is guaranteed to leave you in awe. It’s highly inspiring to see that someone from such humble surroundings appealed to millions upon millions of people. Once within mausoleum, you will feel like you’re feet away from one of the greatest musicians of 20th century.

The tours are open from 9:30am to 6:30pm every day and cost $10 – $15, depending on season.

Kids Selling Ganja at Bob Marley Mausoleum, Photo: skibler, Flickr
Kids Selling Ganja at Bob Marley Mausoleum, Photo: skibler, Flickr

Bob Marley Mausoleum and Ganja

Ganja smoking is legal within the gates of Nine Mile. As a matter of fact, not only it is legal, everyone is expected to have some. As a parent, you may want to reconsider taking a tour if you’re with kids. Similarly, if you’re not a marijuana smoker or if it offends you, you may want to pass on visiting Nine Mile and the Bob Marley Mausoleum.

Rastafari Sign at Bob Marley's house, Photo: skibler, Flickr
Rastafari Sign at Bob Marley's house, Photo: skibler, Flickr

How to Behave at the Bob Marley Mausoleum

Visitors to the Bob Marley Mausoleum should be aware of a few customs surrounding near sacred grounds of Nine Mile. You are free to smoke ganja inside the Bob Marley Mausoleum, but you have to take your shoes off. The Bob Marley Mausoleum is a sacred place for many Rastafarians, taking your shoes off is a sign of respect and should not be disputed. It is not allowed to take pictures inside the mausoleum. The tomb of Bob Marley is placed in such spot so the sun gets to shine on it through a stained glass window Star of David. It’s really breathtaking.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Photo: Glenn Standish, Wikipedia
Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Photo: Glenn Standish, Wikipedia

Ocho Rios is the second most popular resort town and tourist destination in Jamaica. Unlike Montego Bay – its bigger and busier brother, Ocho Rios is not overrun with bad crime and high murder rate, making it the safest and most recommended vacation destination in Jamaica.

Ocho Rios History

Ocho Rios used to be a small parochial village. Local economy was mostly driven by fishing and banana growing until it was discovered and turned into a popular tourist destination. Today, Ocho Rios is one of the busiest ports of call for cross-Caribbean cruise ships, bringing thousands of new visitors to the town every day. This fast growing popularity made Ocho Rios one of Caribbean’s fastest growing towns. The popularity grew further after completion of Jamaica’s north coast highway that connected Sir Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay – largest airport in Jamaica with Ocho Rios, making the destination easily accessible to vacationers visiting Jamaica by air.

Hotels in Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is home to several of Jamaica’s best hotels and resorts. Below is the list of Ocho Rios’ finest:

  • Couples Sans Souci Resort & Spa
  • Couples Tower Island
  • Sandals Grande Ocho Ríos
  • Sunset Jamaica Grande
  • RIU Hotel Ocho Ríos
  • Shaw Park Beach Hotel & Spa
  • Royal Plantation
  • The Blue House Luxury Bed and Breakfast Inn
  • Jamaica Inn

Ocho Rios Attractions

The #1 attraction not only in Ocho Rios, but in whole of Jamaica is Dunn’s River Falls – the waterfalls that cascades down directly into the Caribbean Sea. There aren’t many falls like that anywhere in the world. Most typically you have a river, then a waterfall and then it continues as a river again. In case of Dunn’s River Falls, you have a river, then there’s a waterfall and then there’s the sea. A must do activity when visiting Dunn’s River Falls is to climb the falls. It means exactly what it sounds like – you’d climb against the falls, against the stream of water that rushes around you. It’s an extraordinary experience and doesn’t require high level of fitness. Chains are available for those in need of holding onto something secure and it’s also possible to hire a guide who will lead you up the falls. It’s a must do when taking Ocho Rios holiday.

Ocho Rios - Dunn's River Falls, Photo: Jim9685, Flickr
Ocho Rios - Dunn's River Falls, Photo: Jim9685, Flickr

Attraction #2 – Dolphin Cove. Once again, this attraction is exactly what it sounds like. You can go for a swim along with dolphins. You can touch dolphins, get kissed by dolphins, interact with these beautiful fish and frolic in the water with them. Dolphin Cove is definitely an unforgettable experience and one of the most popular attractions in Jamaica.

Ocho Rios is home to many other great attractions. The Bob Marley Mausoleum features a nine mile tour that will take you on a journey through various stages of Bob Marley’s life. Ocho Rios Craft Market is a small fenced area where locals try to sell you things and are not afraid to approach you to make sure you do business with them, not the merchant next door (or should I say “next stall”). It’s a little bit of real Jamaica with real locals, but very safe, even though could be a little bit intimidating because of pushy salesmen. However, they’re not any more pushy than most car sales men you’d dealt in your home town. Negotiate the price if you like the article and if you’re unable to get the price you like, just walk away. It’s that simple. If you want to see a lot in a short time, you can opt for one or more of many available tours. Phil Lafayette Tours has a great reputation, and so does Peat Taylor Tours. Their offices are easy to locate and offer variety of tours to meet any level of expectancy.

Ocho Rios - Dolphin Cove, Photo: *amelia*, Flickr
Ocho Rios - Dolphin Cove, Photo: *amelia*, Flickr

There is anything but shortage of attractions and things to do in Ocho Rios. It’s near impossible to not enjoy your vacation when heading over there. Ocho Rios means Eight Rivers in Spanish. The night life in the area is lively and features its own rendition of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Many celebrities have their private retreats in Ocho Rios. It definitely counts as a great vacation idea. And don’t worry about the bad reputation Jamaica is getting because of high crime rates.