Ocho Rios!...the worst port I've ever been too...non stop presuure from cabs, to selling drugs, to excursions...everything!...had a friend who insisted on doing Dunn's Falls who was accosted at end by over 10 different people...STAY AWAY FROM OCHO RIOS!...only go to Jamaica if on a resort the entire time...
On our first cruise we went to Ocho Rios.. and yet after having traveling and spending a week In Peru, Colombia andother third world countries I have never and I repeat never felt so physically threatened. The word "NO Thank you" was never sufficient.. We bought our Blue Mountain Coffee which my son says was no better than Starbucks or Dominican coffee and went back to the ship... The aggressive vendors have become such a problem that the Government has had to step in and take to night court manyof them(at least they did a few years ago).. If I ever cruise to any port in Jamaica I guarantee that I will never get off the ship..Sadly, this is the onlyport I can say it.. I would get off in Caracas or Cartegena or anyplace else where I can say "no gracias" and feel my life was not in danger. Harsh words...sorry, but for over 20 years we have traveled extensively and I still can't shake my "Jamaica" experience.
I was there a week ago today (2/16), and did not have any trouble with the locals. But, I was not in situations for the most part where I could be approached, and I also was taking a tour with a local guy named Lewis McBeam, and he basically stayed with me and made sure I was OK.
The only times I could have been approached by locals would have been at the restaurant we ate at (nobody bugged me) and at a local grocery store (where I bought some Pepsi) and at another local store where I bought some coffee. Both of these stores were relatively close to where the ships dock. In both stores, I was not bothered by anybody -- inside and outside the stores.
I was also at a beach maybe three-four miles from the pier, for about 80 minutes, and nobody bothered me there, either. However, I had read on message boards before my cruise that people were offered drugs by locals who followed them into the water at a beach!! Unreal.
We were just in Ocho Rios. Yes people do ask you alot to buy things, but there were also alot of nice locals. We were waiting for our guide, who never showed up and it was a local taxi driver named Joseph who stayed with us and even tried to find him. Later that day when my friend took off with out us, it was locals who told me not to worry and they were right. One local even gave me a coconut drink and told me not to worry about paying since he did not have change. I did pay once my friend came back. I would agree that there is alot of pressure from some locals but found many very nice and helpful. I would indeed return to Ocho R ios. Like others say, you have to learn to say no.
We would never go anywhere on our own in Ocho Rios. We went on an RCI excursion last year and had NO problems. The locals didn't even approach us and when we walked by the open air markets at Dunns River Falls we just breezed by them with our tour guide and had no pressure to buy anything. I think you have more problems if you attempt to go out on your own.