West of Ocho Rios

As you head west from Ocho Rios, the North Coast Highway hugs the waterfront passing Dolphin Cove, Dunn's River Falls, and Laughing Waters before reaching a cluster of villas and resorts that front Mammee Bay. Just past the entrance to the resorts, an Epping gas station marks the junction where Scotchie's Jerk Centre occupies one corner across the highway from the Drax Hall Polo Club.

Continuing west, the next community is St. Ann's Bay, a busy town with one of the better hospitals on the North Coast and a few attractions worth stopping for, including Seville Great House and Heritage Park and the Marcus Garvey Statue by the Parish Library.

Still farther west, the small community of Priory sits along a dusty stretch of highway with few passersby stopping there, except on Sundays when the community's public beach comes alive for dance parties. From Priory westward the highway passes Richmond Estate, used as a venue for several annual events, a few subdivisions in various stages of construction, and Chukka Cove. 

The next community of any size is Runaway Bay, where several hotels are wedged between the highway and waterfront. Runaway Bay is lined with a strip of fine sand with all-inclusive resorts like The Jewel Runaway Bay and The Jewel Paradise Cove commanding the choice properties at the center and eastern tip of the Bay, respectively. The center of the Runaway Bay community consists of a few strips of buildings that include hole-in-the-wall restaurants, grocery stores, and a multitude of small dive bars decorated with strands of colored Christmas lights.

While many would suggest the bay was named after the flight of Don Cristobal Arnaldo de Ysassi, Spanish Governor of Jamaica at the time of the British takeover, Ysassi actually fled from Christopher's Point in St. Mary, and the more likely story involves the flight of runaway slaves to Cuba to seek their freedom.

From Runaway Bay the highway continues westward to Discovery Bay, the last settlement of any size before the Trelawny border. Discovery Bay is one of Jamaica's most exclusive villa communities, the eastern side of the bay dotted with luxury villas. In the center of the bay the Noranda bauxite wharf feeds ships from an immense domed storage facility made famous as Dr. No's lair in Ian Fleming's first James Bond film.


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