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Ocho Rios, Jamaica

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By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: The approximate population of Ocho Rios, Jamaica is approximately 25,000 people. People describe Ocho Rios as a vibrant and lively town with a laid-back atmosphere. Expats love the warm and friendly locals, the beautiful beaches, and the easy access to outdoor activities. The weather in Ocho Rios is typically warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living in Ocho Rios for an expat is around $1,500 to $2,000 USD per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $500 to $700 USD per month, and a two bedroom apartment is around $700 to $1,000 USD per month.

What do I need to know before moving to Ocho Rios?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Ocho Rios, they said:

"Jamaica is dangerous, it is dangerous to drive in, walk in or just hang around in. Get a good vehicle (They don't do second hand well here so I would get new if possible). Get a 4X4 as roads are crap!! The only place to live are holiday apartments behind a security barrier, this said, always get an apartment beside the security barrier as you will get broken into if out of the way," explained one expat living in Ocho Rios.

"Do your research and don't just think moving to a tropical island will be pleasure. There's always some pain involved LOL. And even though I've traveled here 15 times over 8 years before moving it's still a culture shock to be here and I learn something new every day. When you're a resident you can't live like a tourist. If you would like to read my story about my first two months in Jamaica I blogged about it at http://www.jamaicamyway.com/living-in-jamaica/first-two-months/," said another expat in Ocho Rios.

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How do I find a place to live in Ocho Rios?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Work chose it for me. A word to the wise, if work is choosing your place to stay make sure you travel to Jamaica and see it for yourself. If work expect to send you to Jamaica they should pay for a 1 week trip to the country staying in a compounded hotel with a driver available to you. Do not move to Jamaica without being there before!!," remarked another in Ocho Rios.

"I had stayed as a vacationer in guest houses in this area. When I was looking for an apartment to live in I saw the ad say a street name in the area I loved so I had friends come look at it and send me photos for my approval," explained one expat.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Ocho Rios?

"I live in a 2 bedroom apartment near Island village in Jamaica. I don't know of any expats locally. Work pays for this, it is basic accommodation and costs US1200 per month. Beware of living close to too much hustle and bustle such as night clubs / late bars, you will be kept up with booming reggae music all night," explained one expat living in Ocho Rios.

"I live in a one-bedroom apartment and I don't really know other expats in my area. I would assume this would be quite typical," said another expat in Ocho Rios.

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What is the average cost of housing in Ocho Rios?

If you are thinking about moving to Ocho Rios, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Home costs are ridiculous, I don't pay for rent, electricity etc, however these are on average 3 times the cost. Food is far far far too overpriced. I am still paid as if living in Europe and food on average is about 3-4 times more expensive here than home. Frozen stuff is extremely expensive," said another expat in Ocho Rios.

"My housing costs are significantly lower but it's all relative to income here so it works out the same," remarked another in Ocho Rios.

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What should I bring when moving to Ocho Rios?

People living in Ocho Rios were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"BRING A Generator (Seriously), power cuts are rife and expect to be without power, internet or water for 2-3 days at a time. Toiletries, I should have stocked up on things like shaving foam and toothpaste etc as it is far to expensive here. An umbrella, it rains almost every day here (all year - dont believe the hype on net) LEAVE AT HOME Jumpers, coats etc - It is hot and humid," said another person in Ocho Rios.

"More household items, the cost of them isn't very cheap here in Ocho Rios, Jamaica," remarked another expat in Ocho Rios.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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