Turtle River Park is a cool oasis in the busy heart of resort town Ocho Rios. This small park is perfect for a picnic, stroll or jog, for reading, watching the fish and turtles in the stream which runs through the grounds and for entertaining bored children on its playground in the heat of the day.
If you’re from or familiar with Kingston, you should know of Emancipation Park. It’s a similar spot except with fish, turtles, a pond/river and playground but minus the formidable 11-foot tall Redemption Song sculptures symbolizing our freedom. I made the comparison to imply that this park is only worth checking out if you’re in the area and isn’t a tourist attraction per se. However, once you find yourself in Ocho Rios and want a beautiful well-tended green space in which to relax, consider checking out Turtle River Park.
Just after exiting the North-South Highway and heading towards Ocho Rios, look out for the park on your right just after passing the Island Village Mall with Margaritaville et al. Take the slip road at the next intersection and you’ll reach the entrance to the park after passing this sign (above). Paid parking is available at JM$50 per hour until 3 hours+ after which you pay JM$150 and aren’t billed for additional hours, i.e. parking for the entire day would cost JM$150. The park is free and has benches, gazebos and restroom facilities. It also features a small playground complete with swings, monkey bars and a trampoline; the latter was out-of-order on the day I visited. Thankfully I didn’t notice the under 12 sign until after I had enjoyed my 5-minute swing. Oops! But with that said, let’s take a look at:
The walkways were spotlessly clean, bordered by very neatly trimmed hedges and went around the perimetre of the park. The park had a lot of my favourite plants too– hibiscuses, water lilies, coconut trees, palm trees and of course, ferns. I thoroughly adore ferns and how long ago they’ve been around.
I never made up my mind as to whether or not the water running through Turtle River Park is natural or artificial. The map lists Turtle River as running through the park however the water’s murkiness made it seem like a pond or maybe it was a section of the river rerouted to create a water source for the park. Despite the turbidity, it was quite relaxing to watch the fish and turtles which seemed rather used to people as they followed my friends & I around in the water. Perhaps they were hungry and looking for food but there are signs forbidding the feeding of the fish & turtles.
Check out the rest of the park through these photos:
I get very excited when I find dedicated green spaces incorporated into town plans so it’s no surprise I enjoyed my hour at Turtle River Park. I’m sure I stood out as quite the tourist by snapping photos of everything. Whenever next I’m in Ochi, I won’t overlook this little park. Its hedges and lawns were extremely well-manicured and the grounds clean and spacious, earning it 5 stars from my book ☆☆☆☆☆. I only hope it’s maintained just the way it is now for future generations to come. Even more so now in our daily hectic lives, we need free green spaces dedicated to relaxation.
‘Til next time. ✌