Ocho Rios, Jamaica

William Russell Expat Health Insurance

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 24, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

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

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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," added another person 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/," explained one expat living in Ocho Rios.

"If you have a chance, give yourself plenty time to look for a good place. Call the realtors around, ask friends and acquaintances if they know of a good place. The town is very small and everyone knows one another. So, if you get in the right circle, you are bound to find help in all areas," said another in Ocho Rios.

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

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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!!," added another person living 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 living in Ocho Rios.

"When we first moved to Ochi, we were staying in an apartment that was rented out by my husband's company. Since the apartment was a bit far from downtown and also very dark, we started looking around for a new place. Our lease was almost up, so we were actively on the lookout. A friend of ours saw a sign right outside a nice looking complex advertising a real estate agency and we called right away. Now we live in an ocean front apt and couldn't be happier," said another in Ocho Rios.

Expat Exchange Rentals

We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search rental properties in Jamaica.

We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search rental properties in Jamaica.

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

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"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," said another expat 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," remarked another in Ocho Rios.

"We got lucky with our apartment. We have all the amenities many people in Jamaica go without (running water, washer & drier, hot water, AC etc). We even have a dishwasher which we never used, since electricity here is extremely expensive. Our kitchen appliances are modern and really nice. Our internet is much faster than in the US. We have a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom, with a nice balcony overlooking the ocean and the pool. We take our baby son for a swim almost every day," explained one expat.

What is the average cost of housing in Ocho Rios?

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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," explained one expat.

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

"I think the housing costs are about the same, since we lived in a very expensive area in the US. That being said, I think that the cost of living here may be higher than in the US. Our supermarket runs are much pricier than back home, and electricity alone is more than triple down here," remarked another expat in Ocho Rios.

Need a rental in Jamaica? We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies.

Search for Rentals

Need a rental in Jamaica? We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search for Rentals in Jamaica

What to Bring When Moving to Ocho Rios (and what to leave behind)

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When we asked expats living in Jamaica what they wish they had brought when moving to Jamaica and what they wish they had left at home, they replied:

"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," explained one expat.

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

"I wish I had brought more baby toys, baby clothes and baby accessories in general. I wish I had left our winter clothes behind! Also, I haven't worn any dressy clothes, nor my high heels," remarked another expat in Ocho Rios.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Ocho Rios, JamaicaGuide to Living in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Ocho Rios

Jamaica Forum Jamaica Forum
Join our Jamaica forum to meet other people living in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Ocho Rios.

Healthcare in JamaicaHealthcare in Jamaica

Expats in Jamaica share tips and advice about healthcare and health insurance in Jamaica. Advice about private hospitals, leaving the country for surgery, the Zika virus, the availability and cost of prescription medicines and more.

Real Estate Ocho RiosRentals in Ocho Rios

Rental listings in Ocho Rios. Plus, advice about renting and buying real estate in Ocho Rios

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