To shop downtown is to help the true local economy and Ochi has plazas, shops and street vendors coming out of its ears, the very thought of which makes us squeal with delight.
Once we’ve better gathered the latest info, expect a more comprehensive listing of the Ochi stores, and certainly the plazas and what’s in them.
Only ‘tourist-friendly’ outlets will be included of course. For example: sellers of clothing, rum, wood carvings and smoking paraphernalia will be in; sellers of machetes, chicken parts and Toyota window rubbers will not.
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, both in fenced enclosures with stalls groaning under the weight of glorious paintings and impressive carvings.
OLDE CRAFT MARKET
Look on the map for Green 1 ►
OCHO RIOS CRAFT PARK
Look on the map for Green 2 ►
For all the ‘Made in Jamaica’ proof you need, some stalls have craftsmen at work carving their wares right in front of your eyes.
All your marijuana leaf print beach towel, sunhat, bag and t-shirt needs are here too.
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.
Endless are the desirable treasures you’ll want to take home but hiked-up are the prices to take advantage of wealthy tourists and therefore some reasonable and respectful 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.” And try to keep things in perspective... if, say, 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.
Thanks for the inspiration, Sampson Jerry!
Main Street, some Plazas and the Market
Our first port-of-call if you want to get down with the townsfolk on the trail of a bargain.
Ochi’s main thoroughfare is lined all along with small plazas and 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 these may be).
Well appointed, multi-coloured plaza (pictured) 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. Green 3 ►
MARKET and FARMERS’ MARKET
Opens daily for fruit, vegetables, clothing, music, shoes, and bottles of strange looking herbal potions!
The Market area sprawls out from Main Street right across to the Transport Centre. There is a large covered section inside a big shed, but the outside bits are the most vibrant, especially on Fridays and Saturdays when sellers come down from the countryside and all over Jamaica for the busy Farmers’ Market.
This is one place for which we would love the Government to apportion some of its regeneration budget — to tidy up and pave over the rubbly Market area to make life far more pleasant for stallholders and visitors too — for here is the true centre of Ochi and it is in need of some love, please. Read market seller Donovan Gordon’s OCHI INSIDER page. Green 4 ►
EIGHT RIVERS TOWN CENTRE
Those elusive ‘eight rivers’ give their name to a recently-built big mall off DaCosta Drive. Clothing, shoes, a pharmacy, and some big name food outlets. Green 5 ►
To be added to the map shortly…
New Ocho Rios Pharmacy
Shop C, Rexo Plaza.
Hue's Professional Pharmacy
70 Main Street, Mutual Security Mall.
New Pine Grove Pharmacy
3 Browns Plaza, 61 Main Street.
Pine Grove Pharmacy
Shop 5, Simmonds Plaza, 73 Main Street.
Eight Rivers Town Centre.
‘DUTY FREE’ SALES — THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
If your idea of holiday fun and frolics is perusing the ‘duty frees’ for gifts and personal adornments, a visit to one of three dedicated plazas within easy reach of the cruise ship jetties — Soni’s Plaza, Harbour Shops and Taj Mahal — should float your boat; though why one of them (guess which) was built in Jamaica to resemble a South Asian mausoleum is beyond us.
With reference to too many negative comments posted to TripAdvisor, it seems a few stores are making a bad reputation for not just these particular plazas but all Jamaican tourism.
Browsing so-called ‘duty free’ goods might be a bit of fun but much of what you see is genuinely available cheaper elsewhere. Granted, you may be brought along as part of a Tour Excursion in which case “Time is the Master” and you will only have a limited window to grab something Rasta-ish for the folks back home.
Do not be manipulated by pushy sales staff. Certain stores have no prices displayed — why is this, and what are they hiding? Beware of high mark-ups on any ‘duty free’ items, be aware of what it is you are buying, and know the actual price before you agree to a sale.
If having something wrapped by the store away from your gaze, make sure they do wrap what it was you bought. Check there and then — it will be too late to fix when you are back on the ship.