A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part XXIV

In this installment, I’m going to tell you about my trip to Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios (November 2012). As I discussed in this installment of the Living in Jamaica series, I got out of Negril for a while, which is where I usually spend the bulk of my time when I’m in Jamaica.

Where to Go in Jamaica: My Trip to Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios

Fisherman displays his "fresh catch" of the daySome have described Fisherman’s Village as a lot of shacks thrown together — and it could be looked at that way. But, I look at it as enteprising business people using what they have to make a living.

So yeah, there are a lot of little huts that sell fish, alcohol, etc. There are a couple of “real restaurants/bars”. But mostly it’s just a village of small huts run by what seems to be individuals (and their family members) who sell good food and good spirit.

FYI, there are links to tons of photos of my time in Fisherman’s Village at the end of this post (click on all photos for larger view).

The fish in the photo are called “Parrot Fish” (at least I think that’s what the fisherman who was kind enough to stop and let me take photos of his catch called them). They are so named because of their beautiful colors, which is just like a parrot, I’d guess. 

Where to Get the Best Seafood at Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

If you go, DEFINITELY go to Dave’s Lobster. His restaurant (one of the “real establishments”) in the Village is at the back. You can’t miss it, as the village is not that big.

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One more thing, on TripAdvisor.com, a popular travel site, the question comes up a lot if this place is “safe.” I hear that a lot about Jamaica in general. While there are definitely places NOT to go (eg, the ghetto in Kingston, where I’ve been and never want to go again), Jamaica for tourists is very safe.

I think a lot of this “fear” stems from the fact that Jamaicans (especially rastas) can look intimidating — especially if you’re from a place where you’re not accustomed to being around other races — particularly a whole bunch of “fierce looking” black men. But they’re just like any other people. So use your wits when you travel to this country just like you would any place else.

Yes, Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios is Safe — Here’s Why

The proprietors want tourists to come because they want the business. So you don’t have to worry about anybody bothering you (other than maybe a beggar or two, and if you’ve lived in a metropolis like NYC or Atlanta or Chicago, then you know how to handle this).

Bottom line — you’re not in any danger at Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios — at all.

OR . . .

Jamaica in general. I’ve been travelling to this beautiful Caribbean island since 2009, and have done some pretty stupid things (eg, walking a mile from a restaurant to my hotel at 11 at night along dark cliffs with nary a car in sight).

Guys do come on to women — old, young, fat, skinny, white, black, blue, green or purple– if you’re a woman, the Jamaican men are going to come on to you. But, this happens in America too. A firm “No” gets them on their way.

And not for nothing, the police are very vigilant about protecting tourists in Jamaica — because tourism is the country’s bread and butter. The locals know this; hence, most of the crime in Jamaica is local on local — not local on tourist.

I hope this alleviates any fears you may have about visiting Jamaica. Again, just use your wits — like you would when you travel any place else — and you’ll be fine.

Photos: Fisherman’s Village, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Just a shot from the car window on the way from Columbus Park in Discovery Bay (St. Ann’s Parish) to Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios (or “Ochi” as the Jamaicans say).

Superstorm Sandy tore up a lot of places in Jamaica. This uprooted tree bore evidence of her wrath.

Boats “parked” at Fisherman’s Village.

Cute little houses (stores) right next door to Fisherman’s Village. Margaritaville is right next to these.

There seems to be a Margaritaville at every tourist spot in Jamaica — some of the most overpriced, weak drinks I’ve ever had. Went once in Negril; never again. A tourist trap IMO. Eat/drink like the locals and you can almost never go wrong — and it’s cheaper (way cheaper!)

Beach at Fisherman’s Village — lots of stuff still on the beach that Superstorm Sandy caused the sea to cough up.

This is a “mineral stream” that runs through Fisherman’s village. Fresh water is constantly coming through the stream.

The locals bathe in the stream (anybody can). You just undress and step right in. The guy standing there in his undies was even doing his laundry there as he bathed. FYI, this takes place right out in public (you can see it from the highway, as that’s where Fisherman Village is located — right off a main highway). The water was too cold for me, but my friend had no problem with it. Lots of Jamaicans bathe in cold water (in streams, rivers, etc.); many don’t have hot water at home, so they’re used to it.

Sign right above the bath spring at Fisherman’s Village.

I finally got up the nerve to stick my feet in the water. It wasn’t an unusually hot day, but the water felt good after I got used to it.

Literally soaking my feet. Hmmmmm …. refreshing!

Carving of Bob Marley (into a tree of a bar). Also, there’s a carving of . . .

Rita Marley, his wife and . . .

Carvings of a couple of their kids too (I don’t know how many kids Bob Marley had, but it was definitely more than two). These were so unusual. Again, carved right into the side of a tree, which was one of the “columns” of a bar.

See the carving; this is the one of Rita Marley. Bob is to the left of her– and the kids are to the left of him. [FYI that’s the fisherman who was kind enough to stand still and let me take a shot of his fish (shot shown at the beginning of this post)– and who told me about the carvings].

The best fish meal I ever had — EVER! I forgot the name of the fish, but it was big, meaty and seasoned so good. It was served with bammy (a kind of cornbread), potatoes, yams, okra, Jamaican peppers (which are very hot) and onion. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.

FYI, fish cooked here usually has the head still on (the whole thing is cooked). My cousin visited me here one time with a friend of hers and ordered fried fish. It came with the head on — and she couldn’t eat it. It was funny to me, but if you’re not used to it, it can be kind of “icky” I guess. Doesn’t bother me a bit — but I tend to be greedy!

These two little girls (between 11 and 13 yrs old I’d say) were fishing. They were frustrated b/c they said that stingrays were chasing all the fish away. Too adorable — and enterprising I thought!

There are many ways you’ll find fished being cooked in Fisherman’s Village. This gentleman was cooking some on an open flame outside. My Rasta friend knows everbody it seems — this guy gave us a couple of the fish he was cooking while we waited for our “big meal” to be prepared.

Closeup: Fish cooking on open flame.

It’s ready to eat! Fish that my Rasta’s friend shared with us. It was served on some type of palm leaf — plucked right from the trees. Yummy (the fish, not the leaf).

Fisherman boats at Fisherman Village — yes, a storm was coming. Didn’t last long. The sun came out again. We sat inside Dave’s Lobster and had our meal while it rained. Then, we got on the road again.

Sunset over Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Even though this shot came out blurry, I loved the eerie serenity of it.

More sunset over Fisherman’s Village (sunsets here — amazing!). The beer has been finished, the fish eaten and I’m ready for bed.

General shot of Fisherman’s Village.

FYI, these pics were taken over two visits to this village; we visited Fisherman’s Village on our way to and from the Blue Mountains. I had to have more of that fish dish I talked about earlier!

I hope you enjoyed the visit through Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. And if you decide to go, remember, go to Dave’s. He’s a nice guy; I met him personally, as he is a friend of my rasta friend. He really does serve up some great seafood — and I’m a born and raised Floridian – where seafood is a staple. So, I know great seafood!

Next time I go back (oh yeah, there’ll definitely be a next time!), I’m definitely having the lobster.

Have a great weekend,

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