BREAKING NEWS!!

Try Ocho Rios’ latest tour package that’s different, exciting and totally fun! Try – “Taste of Jamaica Authentic Tour”

This tour takes you from Ocho Rios, up through the world-renowned Fern Gully, through the beautiful, rolling hills of rural St Ann before ending on the beach in Priory. Enjoy eco sightseeing, tour a working coffee plantation, beach cooking featuring authentic Jamaican cuisine, Jamaican music and dance lessons just for the fun of it!

The Jamaica Gleaner quotes Georgia Black, a vacation planner at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande hotel in Ocho Rios, as saying: “This is the perfect tour, I love it, I love it!” Visit www.tasteofjamaicatours.com for more information.

Apart from the Taste of Jamaica Tour, Ocho Rios is filled with things you can do, things you can see and most of all, places to go. With a plethora of attractions in this resort town, it’s sometimes difficult to decide where to go on any given day. Water attractions, plant life, animals – choose the theme that suits you best on the day and pick from any of the several attractions available. Ocho Rios is the number one cruise port in the Caribbean for a reason! Check this list:

Botanical Gardens: There are several gardens boasting some of the most beautiful flowers you could ever imagine, in Ocho Rios and its outskirts. In Jamaica, they call St Ann parish (where Ocho Rios is located) the Garden Parish because of this natural beauty, among other things.

Golfing: There are two excellent golf courses, just a short ride away from the centre of Ocho Rios, if you feel like a little putting.

Horseback riding: Enjoy the wild outdoors, riding a tame and well-conditioned horse at any of the several stables available on the outskirts of Ocho Rios.

Hotel Day Pass: Buy a one-day pass to an all-inclusive hotel and take in all the fun! Hotels have different rates, so shop around.

Jamaican Craft: Jamaica’s skilled craftsmen have their wares on display at several craft markets across the resort town, chances are, you will find something really nice at any of the outlets that you visit.

Live Reggae Music: If you can’t wait until it’s night to enjoy live reggae music, not to worry, there are several spots in Ocho Rios where you can rock to local reggae bands in broad daylight, with a cold Red Stripe beer just a hand away.

Night Clubs: A really exciting nightlife awaits at any of the several clubs that are open, most nights of the week.

Rafting & River Tubing: On a bamboo raft, meandering through the curves and turns of the river as it flows to the sea; or in an inflated rubber tube, riding the rushing waters of river, it’s always nice enjoying the cool, clear waters of the White River.

Restaurants: Jamaican cuisine tops and you should make sure you experience it while here. But just so you know, you can also get international cuisine right here in Ocho Rios. So we have Jamaican, Indian, Chinese, Italian, French, Japanese and Greek food ready for the taking. And just in case you’re in a hurry we have several fast food outlets, both local and international brands, ready and willing to serve you.

Shopping: Whatever it is you need, you can get it to buy. Seriously. In-bond or otherwise. Gift items to take back for friends and relatives, souvenirs, jewellery, perfume, Jamaican craft items, rum, T-shirts, CDs, a dress or a suit to wear on a special occasion, anything. Tell you driver what you need and he’ll find it for you.

Sightseeing: Irrespective of where your interest lies, you will find beautiful, interesting and maybe even mind boggling sights, when you cruise around this beautiful tourist resort. Your driver can recommend just the right spots for you.

Tours: There are several tours, beginning in Ocho Rios, that will take you to some of the most fascinating places not just in Ocho Rios but as far away as capital city, Kingston.

Watch a Jamaican sunset: On a bright sunny day, which is often in Jamaica, you can relax with an ice-cold Red Stripe beer or jerk chicken, or whatever suits you – and watch the sun sink into the warm Caribbean Sea. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

Water sports: There are several water sporting activities available in Ocho Rios. If you want to scuba dive, snorkel, sail, ride a go-fast boat, paddle a canoe, swim – the options are endless.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism is currently (as in 2017) working to promote Jamaica as a gastronomy destination, inspired, no doubt, by the island’s spicy and mouth-watering cuisine that has grown in popularity outside of the country’s borders in recent years.

For those people who love Jamaican food and want to know more about it, here is a list of indigenous Jamaican dishes that you dare not miss when you visit Jamaica.

If you’re staying at a hotel you would definitely find some of these dishes being served there but there might be a few that you have to hit the road to find, at a restaurant located off-property.

You may also want to try some of our favourite beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. An ice cold Red Stripe beer is quite refreshing, while a sip of Appleton rum can be quite exhilarating. Sorrel, ginger beer and a wide array of fruit juices are also available.

Ackee and Saltfish (Codfish)

Ackee and saltfish (salted cod fish) is Jamaica’s national dish. Ackee and salt fish can be eaten with a wide variety of foods, but is preferred with items such as boiled dumpling, yam, potato, roast breadfruit, fried dumpling.

Breadfruit

Roasted then sliced and fried, the breadfruit is an important and versatile starch in the diet of Jamaicans. It can be eaten with just about any type of meat, fish or vegetable. Goes well with ackee and salt fish, callaloo and salt fish, corned beef, pickled mackerel, mackerel in tomato sauce, brown stew chicken. The breadfruit can also be boiled but is usually preferred roasted and fried.

Bulla and Pear (Avacado) or Cheese

During pear season, (in the summer) a favourite snack for Jamaicans is pear with bulla, a small, round and flat cake made with flour, molasses and spices. Bulla is, traditionally, a snack for children but is enjoyed by everyone when accompanied by pear. Bulla is also enjoyed with cheese.

Bun and Cheese

Eating bun and cheese is an Easter tradition in Jamaica. Of course, bun and cheese is available all year round but bakeries bake special Easter Buns (with fruits and raisins) for the season and is something Jamaicans look forward to.

Two slices bun, one slice cheese and you’ve got a delicious sandwich. Try it.

Callaloo and saltfish

Callaloo and saltfish may be considered an alternative to ackee and saltfish and is enjoyed in a similar manner to the national dish.

Cornmeal Pudding

Another popular Jamaican delicacy. Prepared similarly to the sweet potato pudding but cornmeal replaces sweet potato as the main ingredient.

Curried Goat with White Rice

Curried goat (or curried mutton), preferred mostly with white rice, is a favourite of many Jamaicans who enjoy when the meat is well seasoned and peppery.

Fried Fish & Bammy or Festival. Also Escovitch Fish

Fish, seasoned with spices and sometimes peppered to eye watering degree, fried and eaten with cassava bammy, is another Jamaican specialty that should not be missed. Sometimes festival (seasoned and fried flour dumpling) is used to accompany the fish but either way, it is a delicious meal.

Escovitch Fish is fried fish which is then marinated with a vinegar based dressing seasoned with hot pepper (for sure!), carrots and onion. Enjoyed the same way as described above.

Ital Stew

Ital stew is one of several Rastafarian dishes that have become popular in Jamaica and enjoyed by non-Rastafarians as well. Rastafarians promote healthy lifestyle, which includes natural eating, chief of which is a non-meat, vegetarian diet.

Ital stew consists of beans with a variety of seasoning and vegetables prepared in reduced coconut milk. It can be served with rice.

Jerk Chicken

When it comes to worldwide popularity, Jamaica’s jerk chicken is only second to the Jamaican patty. Jerking chicken is basically cooking the bird over open charcoal flames, using the smoke as part of the cooking process. Specially developed “jerk seasoning” is used to give the chicken that extra flavour.

Jerk Pork

Jerk pork is prepared in a similar manner to jerk chicken and is also a favourite of many Jamaicans.

Mangoes

Bite into a juicy, delicious East Indian of Julie mango today and taste what Jamaicans enjoy about their summer, year after year. There are several species of mangoes on the island and they’re all delicious. Be like us, don’t bother to

peel it with a knife. Just wash it and bite it and peel with your teeth. It’s delicious fun!

Patty

The history of the Jamaican patty goes back several decades. It is a pastry that contains various fillings and spices baked in a flaky crust. Ground beef was the preferred choice for filling in early days but nowadays fillings can be any form of meat – chicken, fish, shrimp, lobster, pork, curried goat – or vegetables. The patty is sometimes enjoyed with coco bread.

Porridge

Porridge is a favourite breakfast food for many Jamaicans as it represents just enough essentials to get your day going on the right foot. Among the more popular flavours would be cornmeal, peanut, corn, banana and oats.

Rice & Peas and Fried Chicken

While ackee and saltfish is the national dish, it can only be enjoyed during ackee season. Rice and peas and fried chicken is enjoyed all year round and is the number one dish prepared in Jamaica homes on a Sunday. It is also the number one menu item at restaurants. The chicken is sometimes prepared in a variety of ways, including jerk, curry, brown stew, or otherwise. There is also variation in the type of peas used, which could be red peas, cow peas, gungo peas or otherwise. The rice and peas is usually prepared using coconut milk for added flavour.

Rung Dung (Run Down)

If you’ve never liked coconut flavoured food, then after tasting Jamaican run dung, you’re going to start loving it. Run dung is a stew that consists of salted (pickled) mackerel, (although other variety of fish may be used) reduced coconut milk, onion, tomato and other seasoning. The stew is usually served with boiled bananas and dumplings but will enhance whatever it is served with.

Stamp ‘N’ Go (Salt Fish Fritters)

A batter made of flour and including shredded salted cod fish and seasoning, scooped with a spoon and dropped in boiling cooking oil will give you this delicious appetizer. A traditional Jamaican favourite that has remained over the decades because of its tantalizing flavour.

Steam Fish, Okra & Crackers

Some Jamaicans will swear that fish, steamed in a sauce that includes okra and other vegetables, with crackers added at the end, is an aphrodisiac. Maybe it is, but for sure, it is a delicacy and should not be missed.

Stew Peas and Rice

A delicious stew made with red peas and simmered in coconut milk and Jamaican seasonings, and enjoyed over white rice, doesn’t sound anywhere close to how this meal tastes. It’s awesome! Meat, such as pig’s tail or corned beef, is usually used in the stew. Vegetarians will omit the meat but the taste remains one not to be missed.

Sweet Potato Pudding

It’s easy to understand why sweet potato pudding is a favourite of virtually all Jamaicans, it’s simply awesome! It is regarded as one of Jamaica’s favourite baked item of all time, comparing favourably with Christmas fruit cake and Easter buns.

Ingredients include sweet potato, flour, raisins, evaporated milk, coconut milk, spices, sweetener, and a bit of rum (optional). Some persons add a bit of yam.

It is more enjoyable when baked over a coal stove with some of the coal also heaped on top of the covered baking tin, than when baked in an oven, as it leaves a soft, delicious layer on top.