On his fourth voyage, Columbus was marooned for a year outside of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s north coast. You may imagine that the explorer gave the town its name after finding eight rivers here, but surprisingly that isn't its origin: It's a corruption of a word for waterfalls, of which there are many—far more than eight. Anyway, if you want to talk like a local, just call it Ochi.
In the last century, the north coast was a favorite of literary and Hollywood figures from Noël Coward to Errol Flynn. The first Bond film, Dr. No, was shot here, while creator Ian Fleming lived near Ochi at his Goldeneye estate. Visitors to Jamaica today are likely to think of reggae first, of course, and Bob Marley was born right here in the St. Ann Parish. The Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, held at various venues in May and June, is a big draw as well. The area near Ochi has seen significant upgrades to its ports and roads in recent years, and getting around to check out this part of Jamaica is much easier than it was in the past. The nearby region is one of the island’s finest for nature hikes among all the plants that provide the spices and fruits that go into making Jamaican cooking so outrageously delicious.