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Dunn's River Falls is one of Jamaica's national treasures. Globally, it is as well-known as Reggae and equally stimulating. There are few places where the Arawak name "Xayamaca" - land of rivers and springs - is more apt. The Spaniards called the area "Las Chorreras" - the waterfalls or springs - and it is truly one of the most beautiful spots on the island. A stone's throw from Ocho Rios, one of Jamaica's fastest growing resort centres, Dunn's River Falls is unique. Described as a living and growing phenomenon, it continuously regenerates itself from deposits of travertine rock, the result of precipitation of calcium carbonate from the river, as it flows over the falls. The small dome-shaped cataracts are usually associated with thermal spring activity found in limestone caves. This, combined with its location near to the sea, gives Dunn's River the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the Caribbean, if not the world.
One of the most romantic drives in Jamaica takes you just outside Ocho Rios and onto the A3 highway, through "Fern Gully": a stunning three-mile gorge surrounded by sky-scraping, 30-foot fern trees. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll feel as if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on a completely different island as you pass through this natural, green tunnel, once a riverbed. Pull off to the side where possible to stop and take in the views, and even a walk. Because this is a road often taken by visitors and is one of Jamaica's natural wonders, there are vendors lining up the road, but not so many that it spoils the view. Keep an eye on the road at all timesÃ¢â‚¬â€there might be a man on leaf-adorned stilts appearing before you. Never a dull moment in Jamaica.
The name "Ocho Rios" has two possible origins: it is either a direct translation from Spanish meaning "eight rivers" or an adulteration of "las chorreras" (the spouts), reflecting the large number of waterfalls in the area. Ocho Rios is located in St. Ann's parish about 60 miles from Annotto to Discovery Bay on a half-moon shaped cove in the middle of Jamaica's northern coastline. It was formerly a fishing port and was also known for its banana exports. Now it is a pretty resort town with stunning waterfalls and beaches and interesting colonial-period buildings like the Geddes Memorial Church and the Anglican Church. The town's business and commercial center is Pineapple Place.
When not indulging in the many activities available--horseback riding, polo, golf, tennis, shopping, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, swimming or sunbathing--there are a number of interesting sights worth seeing in the environs of Ocho Rios:
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