Beaches & Watersports
The two best beaches at Runaway Bay are Paradise Beach and Cardiffall Public Beach. Both wide, white-sand strips are clean and well maintained -- ideal spots for a picnic. If you're staying in Ocho Rios and want to escape the crowds, come here. You don't get a lot of facilities, however, so you'd better bring along whatever you need.
The waters are calm almost all year. Prevailing trade winds will keep you cool in the mornings and late afternoon. Because there are no lifeguards, be especially careful if you're with children.
Runaway Bay offers some of the best snorkeling in Jamaica. The reefs are close to shore and extremely lively with marine life, including enormous schools of tropical fish such as blue chromis, triggerfish, small skate rays, and snapper. You can also go diving. All the major resorts offer equipment.
SuperClubs Runaway Golf Club (tel. 876/973-7319) charges no admission for guests staying at any of Jamaica's affiliated SuperClubs. For nonguests, the price is US$80 year-round. Any player can rent carts for US$35 for 18 holes; clubs are US$14 for 18 holes.
Jamaica's most complete equestrian center is the Chukka Caribbean Adventures, at Richmond Llandovery, St. Ann (tel. 876/953-6699; www.chukkacaribbean.com), less than 6km (3 3/4 miles) east of Runaway Bay. A 3-hour "ride 'n' swim" costs US$76. A vast array of other options -- the most on the North Coast -- are also offered, including river kayak safaris at US$76; jeep safaris, starting at US$76; and such adventures as mountain-to-sea bike adventures for US$60 or Jamaica dogsled encounters at US$100. A special adventure is an Ocean Safari costing US$69. Guests pilot a two-seat, inflatable, Zodiac-style boat on a wild coastal adventure, taking in views of unspoiled coves and beaches, with a stop at Sandy Bay on a private beach.