Transportation Options for Ocho Rios

Direct access to Ocho Rios is available on all fronts

Photo credit: © Orlando Kairus, MD

It is believed that Christopher Columbus first made landfall on Jamaica in Ocho Rios, and like many tourists who arrive in the area today, he came by boat. As the home to the island's biggest marina, Ocho Rios is a great locale for those who want to sail their own yacht or visit the city as part of a cruise. Options Christopher Columbus could never dream of are also available, including flying and driving.

Getting There

As unassuming as it is, Ocho Rios is really somewhat of a transportation hub in Jamaica. This small resort town not only harbors an international airport, but the busiest port of entry on the island.

Getting Around

Ferries, buses, and rental cars are all available as part of your Jamaican experience, but seasoned travelers will agree utilizing local taxi services is the best choice for first time visitors. The choice is really up to you. Research the options below to determine which local transportation services you'll feel most comfortable using during your time in Ocho Rios.

Air Travel

If you've got the funds to hire a private plane to take you to Ocho Rios, you can fly directly to the Ian Fleming International Airport. Although the airport is equipped to handle commercial airlines, at this time it does not. Instead, most tourists will fly in to the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston or the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Travel times from these airports is about 90 minutes by car, of you have the option of taking a domestic flight from the larger airports to Ocho Rios, which may still end up being cheaper than flying a charter plane the entire way. Learn more about flying into Ocho Rios when you click here.


As an official port of entry, tourists are welcome to sail their own vessel or hire a charter directly into the waters along the coast of Ocho Rios. Discovery Bay is the perfect place to stop, sailing in with your “Q” flag raised, and all of the proper documentation at the ready. This includes your crew list and declaration, a list of the ship's stores, the ship's registration paperwork, and permission of departure from your last port of call. Customs officials may ask to inspect the vessel, but once you are given the all clear you are free to sail around the island for up to two years at a time.


On an island that welcomes several cruises each week, Ocho Rios is a popular cruise destination in its own rite. It is, in fact, the busiest port on the island, with three cruise slips and a huge shopping village surrounding the port. Finding a cruise to this town is not difficult since it can accommodate even the largest of ships. Once you arrive, you'll have the opportunity to get in a meal or do some shopping right at the port.  Or, take the 10 minute walk into the city's center, or take a bus or cab ride to explore some of the attractions that are a little farther away.

Rental Cars

People who have been to Jamaica before all say the same thing: don't rent a car in Jamaica. The roads are bad and the drivers are worse. Recently, Jamaica has begun to work on these issues, and the main road to Ocho Rios has been a part of the efforts. There is still a lot of work to be done, though, so if you are not comfortable driving in a foreign country to begin with, you may want to wait a few more years before you get behind the wheel in Ocho Rios. click here to learn more.


...let a local do the drivin...


Taxis provide a great service to tourists who would rather let a local do the driving. Prices are so varied that it is hard to say how much you'll spend to get from place to place, but the good news is they are set in advance either by the government (for route taxis) or the taxi company themselves (for charter taxis), so you won't be left wondering how much you'll be paying your driver. Simply ask your driver how much the trip will cost, or ask to see a rate card. Taxi drivers also serve as tour guides, so you can hire your driver to take you around Ocho Rios and learn all about the island from someone who has likely lived there his whole life. There is a lot to know about taxis in Jamaica. click here for more details.


The buses in Ocho Rios are not the most reliable option that exists, and most tourists are advised to make other transportation arrangements.  There are some cities on the island that do have buses that you can make use of, however, if you're planning to do sightseeing elsewhere.  Click here to learn all about taking the bus in Ocho Rios and through Jamaica.  


Regular ferry services are non-existent in Ocho Rios, as they do not serve much purpose on an island nation that is one large land mass rather than a series of smaller islands. There are two ferries services in Kingston and Port Antonio that offer guests transport to the nearby attractions of Port Royal and Navy Island respectively, but are not otherwise meant to be used to get from place to place.

With so many options, choosing how you'll get to and around Ocho Rios may seem like a daunting task. Slow down, learn about each mode of transport, and very quickly you'll know which is best for you.


Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.