Just got back from Ocho Rios and had the pleasure of meeting Courtney of Courtney Taylor Tours Jamaica. We used Courtney on three seperate occassions during our stay and he was great each time. Courtney stayed with our group the entire time and was so helpful and knowledgeable about the area. I highly recommend Courtney Taylor Tours to anyone who is traveling in the Ocho Rios or Montego Bay area. Very professional, courteous and dependable. Feel free to visit all of the country side & local hangouts with Courtney . Totally safe and he will stay with you the whole time.
The Blue Hole - Such a beautiful hidden treasure. I LOVED IT! The guys there are AWESOME! We were escorted by Ricardo, Morgan, and Devro, but all the guys there are great. You can spend as much time there as you like and there is loads to do. I have visited waterfalls in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, but never had an experience as personal as this. The water is cold but still comfortable, so you can spend hours jumping from waterfalls, cliffs, and swimming in and out of caves. It was a great experience. Don't miss out on this place if you are there.
Riu Ocho Rios - Great hotel. Not a 5-star, but much better than some other all-inclusives I have stayed in. We were upgraded to an ocean view room (for free) & stayed in room 2516. Had a complete ocean view and view of the main pool. GREAT LOCATION. Anything in the second tower is great, and as the others have stated, get a higher floor so you can see the ocean and mountains. Worried after reading some reviews about bugs but we did not see one roach or cat at the hotel during our 5-day stay. Check in was easy (William was very helpful). Alot more kids than I expected but in November the Deluxe side will be adults-only. We did not visit that side at all, but Im sure it was great. Jerk Hut on the beach was delicious! Most of the staff was very friendly and helpful -- loved Stephanie in the main dining area. Swim-up bar at the main pool was cool and the bartenders there are great. Mostly all the bartenders were good (fast & gave lots of alcohol) with the exception of the ones directly behind the band. Beach was clean. We hardly ever got hassled by the vendors in the water. When we did, we said "no thank you" and they never asked us again. Not nearly as aggressive as the vendors I have encountered in Mexico.
Scotchies - Great jerk and even better fish! I guess the sides arent what they are known for (try the Festival though), but the jerk and fish were AWESOME. And SO cheap. I couldn't believe how cheap it was. Just minutes from the hotel, but not walking distance as it is on a main road.
All in all, Ocho Rios is beautiful and full of friendly people - I cant wait to go back!