St. Anns Bay
Fire Water, located in St Ann’s Bay is one of the coolest natural wonders I’ve ever seen. I read about it in a trip report of a friend of mine, so I had already seen pictures. I remember thinking “That’s pretty neat but I’d never find it”. Never gave it a second thought.his pool of water in the hills has minerals and natural gasses from the earth in it, allowing it to burn when ignited. It is said to have healing properties as well. When I was standing in it the water was really warm, when I tasted it I was surprised that it was salty. Our driver splashed his face and head with it, he even waved his hands through the flames without getting burned. The guy who brought us up there was praying to Haile Selassie as we waded in the pool. This makes me believe it’s a very spiritual place and doesn’t get abused or overused.
Pineapple Court Hotel
I usually go out of my way to find accommodations in Jamaica that are affordable to the budget-minded traveler, while keeping convenience and comfort in mind. In my opinion Pineapple Court has it all. It is located in the Pineapple area of Ocho Rios which is not the most touristy part of town.Pineapple Court hotel is a smaller hotel with only 14 rooms – some king suites and some double suites. As far as I know all suites are priced the same at a very reasonable $60.00 USD per night! I stayed in a king suite which was perfectly comfortable. Each room has air conditioning, cable TV and full bathrooms with standing shower. There is a great sized pool on the property but unfortunately I was there was right after hurricane Sandy hit the island so the pool was empty and being repainted and cleaned. I didn’t take any photos of it. There is plenty of free parking on site, free coffee in the lobby and extra friendly staff.
Little Shaw Park Guesthouse
Although I love staying there, this is the real deal. Its very basic and no frills. I’ve stayed right on the beach at Rooms on the Beach for cheaper, but there are some definite pro’s about this guest house. For around $60 USD a night you will get a bed, a mini-fridge, a full bathroom and some rooms have A/C. For around $65 a night they’ll throw in a kitchen. For about $75 a night you can get a cottage with 2 full bathrooms, bedroom with double bed, kitchen, A/C and a hide-a-bed in the living room. They all have TV’s with cable and you can probably pick up the wireless internet on their unsecured network. I’ve stayed in 4 different rooms here and all were reasonable. Another big plus, in MY opinion, is that the location is up in the hills, but not too far. I can walk into to downtown Ocho Rios in about 10 minutes at a Jamaican’s pace.The grounds are beautifully kept and you will see the groundskeeper out there every single day maintaining it. The property is a fair size with rooms and cottages scattered on it. My two favorite places on the property are the two covered gazebo areas – one in a courtyard and one out front. Both can be lit at night if you want to sit out after dark and hardly anyone uses them so its all yours!
Paradise Ocean View
This property only has 4 guest cottages – all are identical except one has AC and the others have fans. Each cottage is a little round hut suitable for a single person or a couple and are all just steps away from the beach. I fell asleep listening to the ocean every night. All rooms have queen beds, cable TV, plenty of screened windows and tons of charm. Each bathroom has a stand up shower, hot water with great water pressure and nice, soft towels. There are also cute little tables and chairs in each room with a lantern.Paradise Ocean View is located about 10 minutes drive from Black River, St Elizabeth on the beach side of Craine Road – immediately after the roundabout. The property is gated with 24 hour security on duty and plenty of parking inside the gates. Once you park and walk in you will come upon the restaurant and cocktail bar with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. The owners told me they host a lot of large tour groups for lunches – up to 50 people! This surprised me because there are only four guest cottages and I realize accommodation isn’t their only business. Very smart! The restaurant and bar menu is extensive compared to many of the places I dined while on the south coast. Their drink menu alone was awesome! Not just your average rum bar – they can whip up whatever cocktail you’re craving. And the food prices were very reasonable for a hotel.
Evita's Italian Restaurant
Evita’s is up a pretty steep road just off the main road in Ochi but once you get to the top (walking is a killer!) the view is well worth it. The entire back side of the restaurant is open to this spectacular view of Ocho Rios and the ocean. We took a table right at the edge of the balcony and enjoyed the scenery while we chatted. And the inside decor is nice and fresh. There was no one else in the place the day we went. I knew before I even got here that if ravioli was on the menu that’s what I was getting. I’m a sucker for proper Italian ravioli and they did have it on the menu….cheese ravioli in a creamy sauce. My friend ordered some kind of spaghetti with veggies. It’s good to note that neither of our meals came with anything, such as garlic toast – we had to order that on the side and it was a small serving. We munched on the bread while we waited for our main dishes, which didn’t take long at all to arrive. Our server was polite, prompt and courteous. The food was delicious but not for the budget traveler. I had my meal, cheesecake and a coffee and my half of the bill was $2500 jmd. The atmosphere was great with the view and the dining room decor. I guess I give Evita’s in Ocho Rios a “recommended” if you’re looking for Italian food in Jamaica!