Ochi has plazas, shops and street vendors coming out of its ears, the very thought of which makes us squeal with delight.
To shop downtown is to help the true local economy, and the first ports-of-call if you want to get down with the townsfolk on the trail of a bargain are Main Street and Ocean Village.
Coming shortly: Once we’ve better gathered our latest info, expect a more comprehensive listing of the Ochi stores and plazas and what’s in them. Only ‘tourist-friendly’ outlets included of course — for example: sellers of clothing, bottles of rum and wood carvings are in; sellers of machetes, chicken parts and Toyota window rubbers are out.
Main Street, some plazas and the Market
Ochi’s main thoroughfare is lined all along with small malls such as ISLAND PLAZA (look on the map for Green 1 ►) and LITTLE PUB PLAZA (Green 2 ►), and many more shops, stalls and individuals selling affordable souvenirs and clothing, a couple of typical department stores, and too-many-to-list supermarkets for stocking up on value liquor, food supplies, and essentials (whatever your ‘essentials’ may be).
Loads more to add soon.
Multi-coloured plaza with covered walkways around a triangular green. Clothing, shoes, bookstore, cambio, internet café, ice cream and eateries. Enjoy your ‘box lunch’ and view your purchases at tables under the central gazebo. Look on the map for Green 3 ►
Those elusive ‘eight rivers’ give their name to a recently-built big mall off DaCosta Drive. Clothing, shoes, a pharmacy, and food outlets of which Juici-Beef is king. Green 4 ►
Shacks and shops laid out in a sort of traditional style of boardwalks and water features. The very fine Reggae Xplosion Museum and Cove Theater are here too! Green 5 ►
Ochi’s newest addition, a tidy plaza of eighteen little units selling souvenirs and things, with bars and diners. Green 6 ►
Opens daily for fruit, veg, clothing, everything! Fridays and Saturdays see sellers come from all over Jamaica for the Farmers’ Market. One place for which we would love the Government to apportion some of its regeneration budget — to simply tidy the Market area, for here is the true centre of Ochi and in need of some love, please. Green 7 ►
DUTY FREE PLAZAS
If your idea of holiday fun and frolics is perusing the ‘duty frees’ for gifts and personal adornments, a visit to one of the dedicated plazas near the cruise ship jetty should float your boat.
DUTY FREE CARE: With reference to the many negative comments posted to TripAdvisor, do not be manipulated, beware of high mark-ups on any ‘duty free’ goods, know what you are buying and what the actual price is before you agree to a sale. If having something wrapped by the store, make sure they wrap what it was you bought. Check there and then — it will be too late to fix when you are back on the ship.
Crafts and Souvenirs
There is no escaping the pan-African red, gold and green of the nic-nacs and the iconic image of Bob Marley, but the craft markets are a celebration of Jamaican dexterity and skill that’ll put dreads on your chest.
Located on opposite sides of Main Street are the OLDE CRAFT MARKET (pictured right — look on the map for Green 8 ►) and OCHO RIOS CRAFT PARK (Green 9 ►), both in fenced enclosures with stalls groaning under the weight of glorious paintings and impressive carvings. All your beach towel, sunhat, bag and t-shirt needs too.
For all the ‘Made in Jamaica’ proof you need, some stalls have craftsmen at work. You will be charmed by every friendly stallholder and his mother to purchase something, so do be courteous and at least take a look at what they offer, if only to politely refuse.
Endless are the desirable treasures you’ll want to take home but hiked-up are prices to take advantage of wealthy tourists and therefore reasonable haggling is expected of you!
A gentle word on Haggling
As an old West African saying goes:
“Don’t haggle with the poor woman trying to sell you a banana.”
You should, however, negotiate some market place items like clothing or souvenirs and curios.
Otherwise try to keep things in perspective... say, should you find you are being over-charged a few dollars, that amount is probably no big deal to you, but would really benefit the seller working in the heat all day, trying to make ends meet.