To shop downtown is to help the true local economy and Ochi has plazas, shops, street vendors and pushcarts 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: products such as clothing, rum, wood carvings and smoking paraphernalia will be in — machetes, chicken parts, and Toyota Corolla window rubbers will not.
Crafts & Souvenirs
Located on opposite sides of Main Street, both in fenced enclosures with stalls groaning under the weight of glorious paintings and impressive carvings.
OLDE MARKET CRAFT SHOPPES
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 of the stalls have craftsmen at work skillfully carving their wares right in front of your astonished 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
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 your particular essentials might be).
And here's a good spot to sit and chill...
Well appointed, multi-coloured plaza (pictured) with a network of covered walkways around a triangular green. Clothing, shoes, bookstore, stationery, cambio, internet café, ice cream and eateries, and the Ochi branch of the JTB. Enjoy your ‘box lunch’ and view your purchases at tables under the central gazebo. Green 3 ►
EIGHT RIVERS TOWN CENTRE
Those elusive ‘eight rivers’ lend their name to this large recently built shopping centre on the other side of the Ochi Bypass. This pristine plaza (is it a plaza or a mall?) has stores offering clothing, shoes, a pharmacy, and various big name fast food outlets. Green 5 ►
The Market & Farmers’ Market
Open daily for fruit, vegetables and ground provisions, clothing, music, shoes, and bottles of strange looking home-made 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 in Ocho Rios for which we would love the Government to apportion some of its regeneration budget — to tidy up and pave over the rubbly Market to make life far more pleasant for the stallholders and visitors too.
For all you could want — that isn't food-related — under one roof. We love that sort of ‘period feel’ associated with established Department Stores.
Clothing & Boutiques
Leah’s Boutique for Ladies’ Swimwear. Ochi-based, no store but the Instagram profile is the shop window and Leah will deliver island wide.
Prince Crown Leather sell wonderful hand-crafted, all-Jamaican quality Leather Hats to contain your dreadlocks at the D-Indigenous Herbal Shop, Shop 4, Sandcastles Plaza... and Etsy too! Instagram and Facebook. Green 20 ►
We'll add these to the map, and a few more details, 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.
Footnote: ‘Duty Free’ 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 ships — Harbour Shops just off the jetty, the pseudo domes of Taj Mahal, or Soni's Plaza behind a peachy Spanishy facade across from Moon Palace — 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 for 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.