Ironshore & Rose Hall
As you head east of Montego Bay the coast becomes a long stretch of screensaver-worthy beach, speckled with golf courses, all-inclusive resorts, high-end condos and expensive malls, all of which are marketed at wealthy tourists and the Jamaican upper class, many of whom opt to live here instead of the ritzier suburbs of Kingston.
Wrapped around a small bay with postcard-worthy snugness, Ocho Rios is a former fishing village that the Jamaica Tourist Board developed for tourism in the mid-1980s. The frequent docking of cruise ships at the central pier that commands the town’s focus gives ‘Ochi’ a decidedly ‘packaged’ feel, spiced up by the regular entreaties of ‘guides’ and souvenir sellers.
Situated on a small hill and nearly encircled by the emerald-green waters of the scenic Martha Brae River, this small village 3km due south of Falmouth is justly famous for rafting. The river rises at Windsor Caves in Cockpit Country and spills into the sea at Glistening Waters, east of Falmouth. A rafting trip down a 4.8km stretch of the Martha Brae River is a quiet thrill.
Canoe Valley Wetland
This is lovely government-owned wildlife reserve known as Alligator Hole. It’s notable for its family of manatees that inhabit the clear water, and its crocodiles. They live amid dense reeds in jade-blue pools fed by waters that emerge at the base of limestone cliffs, and are not always easy to see. Waterfowl are abundant.