Although plantations developed during colonial times, Ocho Rios never evolved as a fruit-shipping port of any consequence. Things began to change in the 1940s when Reynolds Jamaica Mines built the deep-water Reynolds Pier west of town. An overhead conveyor belt still carries bauxite ore 10km from the Reynolds open-cast mines at Lydford, in the hills south of town.
Nonetheless, Ocho Rios was still just a quiet village in the 1960s when the Jamaican government formed the St Ann Development Council and then launched a systematic development. It dredged the harbor and built a small marina, reclaimed the shore, brought in sand for Turtle Beach, and built shopping complexes and housing schemes. By the early 1980s, Ocho Rios' character had been established: a meld of American-style fast-food franchises, nondescript shopping malls, an enclave of mediocre hotels in town, and more tasteful, upscale English-style hotels a discrete distance east. Then the construction of Island Village, a major shopping and entertainment complex which has embellish little 'Ochi'.