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Runaway Bay is part of the visitor thronged area of Ocho Rios and is fast becoming one of Jamaica's tourist hot spots. Still slightly less crowded than its illustrious neighbour it is a good destination for people who want to get away to somewhere a little quieter without being too far from the action. Much of the accommodation on offer here is on all inclusive resorts so that those who don't want to explore further can just relax within the resort.
For those who do want to venture outside there are many activities to keep the visitor to this part of St Ann's parish busy. The fishing and diving in Runaway Bay are legendary as the waters surrounding the bay are packed with tropical fish and coral reefs. The reefs are close to shore making it an ideal spot for snorkelling and it claims to be as good as anywhere in Jamaica. Bringing your own equipment can be a good idea as rentals at the resorts can prove expensive.
Fishing is another pastime offered by the resorts in the area. Runaway Bay fishing is restricted in several areas of the nearby ocean, which is to protect the reefs and the dive sites. These areas include a wreck, an underwater canyon and a vast coral reef. One of the most reliable dive companies in the area are Reef Divers who operate out of the Ambience resort but will take non resort guests on their dives.
There are many attractions on Jamaica that generate from its founder Christopher Columbus and this region is the home of The Columbus Park Museum. This is only a few miles from Runaway Bay and preserves many artifacts of local and national history.
The Green Grotto Cave Complex has had various names in the past including for one period actually being called The Runaway Bay Caves. These limestone caves are twelve metres deep and have numerous chambers and an underground lake. Once used as a shelter by the Arawak Indians this is a very popular tourist spot on the North Coast.
Chukka Caribbean Adventures offer horse riding in the lush wooded hills around the area and for a historical day out the eighteenth century Seville Great House is well worth a visit. On the site there are also the ruins of a sugar mill, a Spanish castle and a church. A day trip to the other side of the parish will let you visit the birthplace and mausoleum of Bob Marley.
Runaway Bay has a good selection of accommodation on offer, private Jamaican villas can be hired in the neighbouring hills or there are a few smaller more intimate hotels, such as the Tamarind Tree and the Heart Hotel but the lion's share goes to the big all inclusive resorts.
The notorious Hedonism III is here with its nudist option and strictly adults only fun theme. Breezes and Club Ambience all cater for adults only but in a slightly more conventional way, although Breezes does offer underwater weddings! Families are better catered for at the Franklyn D Resort or the Club Caribbean.
Runaway Bay may not quite be at the level of Montego Bay for tourism yet, but it continues to grow and for those who want to be close to the action yet still able to get away from it all this is a good choice.