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SMB

Anyone been to Jamaica

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OK guys,

Going to Jamaica (Ocho Rios), Man, for the first time next week. Wife and I are considering rafting. Has anyone done this? Is Dunns River Falls a must or is it a crowded tourist trap? Good news is we are the only ship in that day, but the Mariner is a floating city! I also want to try a REAL Jamaican meal in a non-tourist, but safe place. Rec's anyone? Anything else I should know about Jamaica?

Also stopping in Grand Cayman. I was thinking of going on a tour stingray/snorkle tour with Native Ways. Any experience with this company?

Thanks

6 days and counting!!!!! :grin:

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If I remember correctly from prevous posts, your name is Stephen, isn't it? Anyway, yes Dunnes River Falls is crowded but in my opinion, it is a must see. The first time, we watched ours sons and a lot of other people climb it, but the next time, we did the climb. It is an experience and a great photo op. The "shopping area" that the taxi drivers will take you to are really not worth it - tell them you want to go to the flea market. It is new stuff, a lot of it handmade. There was a man there carving walking sticks. There was one with a bird carved on the top (also painted) that my husband really admired. The guy was asking $30...my husband is a great bargainer and ended up taking it home for $6. It has been a couple of years since we were there, but at the time, there was a lot of military presence walking around with guns. There is a good chance you will be approached and offered drugs. They had dogs close to the ship when we were returning and the people ahead of us "triggered" a reaction and were detained. We watched as drugs were found on them....

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One of my favorite things to do is rafting on the Martha Brae River!

It's one of the most relaxing things you can do.....

alt text

It's a peaceful ride through the lush vegetation. You get to see a few homes along the way. Your Raft Captain will try to sell you something along the way.....resist! Just give him a nice tip.

As far a Dunn's River Falls, it's a "must do" for the first time visitor. Just bring an old pair of sneakers.

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We spent 3 weeks on the Negril side for our 25th anniversary ( whoa . . .10 years ago!). Lots of great places to eat over there but took some tours and there was one great place between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay right on the cliffs over looking the ocean. Was famous at the time and had many wild parrots. Perhaps this will jog someone's memory and they will come up with the name. We did Dunne's River Falls but climbed up the steps, not the water. I have a serious fear of falling and as it turns out the falls are quite high. But non-the-less we had a great time, especially at the bottom where the fresh water meets the sea. Don't do the craft market at the falls unless the heady aroma of pot does not bother you. But it is a gorgeous spot. We rafted the Martha Brae and it was beautiful and peaceful but a little long and slow for us. We would have liked some rapids or a shorter trip but our guide was nice and we did have a good time. We also did Shaw Park Gardens on our Christmas cruise in 2002 on the Victory. We rented our own taxi, asked him to come back in 2 hours and walked around. Well 2 hours was about 1 hour too much. Gorgeous but not that big. But our driver was right there as requested, took us shopping and then dropped us at the shops rught by the ship dock where we enjoyed a great lunch and view of the ocean at a brand new Margaritaville. Hope (it should be ) still there as we will be visiting Ocho Rios in Jan. Aboard the Star Princess. This trip we are doing the Kayaking on the White River which will be more exciting as there are some good rapids. You will be dazzled by the flowers and many hummingbird varieties in Jamaica and the water is so perfect. If only we could do something for all the poor people. Also it is not wise to rent a car in Jamaica as the roads are extremely poor and not all insurance companies will cover you. Check with yours first. We sat in our tour bus once for an hour while we waited for the cows to clear the road with no farmer in sight. Cute cows though. Hope this was a little help.

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:cool: smb, Dunns Falls is both a tourist trap AND a must see and do. It's a lot of fun if your in shape enough to climb the falls. You also have to hit Jimmy Buffets Margueritaville in the plaza near the ship. Have a great time. :cheesy:

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Good stuff guys,

OK, I guess we will go to Dunns River Falls. Bigred, you should not have mentioned "cute cows." My wife will hold up an entire tour if she thinks she saw something "cute." You should have seen her chasing a lamb down the street in Ireland... and then there was the hunt for "cute" goats in St. Maarten that took 3 days.

For those of you have rafted, did you take the ship excursion or find a private company?

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Speaking of cows.We had a herd of cows that stopped our tour bus on Grand Cayman.I wouldn't have thought that would happen there but it did.We did the stingray tour but just booked it from the ship(Inspiration).We really enjoyed it after my husband talked me in to getting into the water.After the Steve Irwin death,you couldn't pay me to do it again.Just call me CHICKEN!I am more of an onlooker.My husband climbed the Falls in Ocho Rios and I just took pictures.I am not very adventurous,but I have a wonderful time watching everyone else.

Vicky :wink:

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SMB,

I just got back from Ochos Rios and Grand Cayman a month ago.

Jamaica:

I don't have a lot of good to say about Jamaica. . . Did not have a comfortable experience. I will list this in good things and bad things

Good things: Jamaica is absolutely beautiful. We got a cab to the Dunns falls (10 minute ride) for $10 each way. People wanted us to pay as much as $30 and would not go down on price. . . Remember this was a 10 minute ride (Should this go on the bad list?) The Falls were beautiful. I did not climb them, but the people I talked to who did loved it. At the Falls, there do not accept travelers checks, because of this, they let us in for about $10 a person(resident rate) vs the $30 a person (non resident rate) because we only had $20 in cash.

Bad things:

We took 2 taxis and getting a fair price was not easy. When we did get a price that seemed fair, somehow we felt guilty? Every time we got out of a taxi, some angry person wanted us to get right into their taxi. We could not turn around without having someone try to sell us drugs or want to take our picture and expect a tip. I guess we could just not enjoy ourselves because everyone just wanted our money.

Bottom line: I think we would have enjoyed just about anything that would have been in an organized tour. I would check www.shoretrips.com and also the cruise line shore excoursions. If the price is even close, go with the ship. The ship will refund your money if you somehow miss the port and they also give you priority when disembarking the ship to go on the tour. It looked like there were many fun things to do, but not going on a tour, we got to fend for ourselves with these people who only want your money.

Cayman Islands:

I did an organized tour Snorkeling with the stingrays an catamaran. This was one of the coolest things I think I have ever done. The catamaran was a couple more bucks, but not as many people do it so there were only 6 of us on the whole boat that holds 50!. The crew was really cool and really fun to be with. I loved being with the stingrays. They are very tame and really fun to feed and hold. I was a bit nervous at first, but they proved to be more like puppys than animals that hurt people. Very memorable! Don't forget that underwater camera! There were no people at the Cayman Islands like in Jamaica. It was more like the US than any island I have been on in the Caribbean.

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Well, SMB I guess I definitely should not mention the cute "guys" we saw on the beach or the cute "glowing algae" in a pond just down the road from Ocho Rios. It could become very STICKY either way! We booked our rafting trip through the condo we were at at the time but we have found all the ship tours we have taken everywhere we've sailed to be top notch. Of course, we have done some great things on our own as well. It just depends how much effort you want to put into the research. Yes, I have to admit this will be our second time with the stingrays in Grand Cayman . . . I am a total nature and animal lover (and they usually love me too.). The first time we went Paul thought I was screaming with fear until he realized I was squealing with joy. I didn't want to leave. Had one jump on my back, one sucked on my arm until I had a you-know-what, one sailed between my legs, I held one like a baby and I fed them squid till we ran out completely. Then they left us for the next boat of tourists. I can't wait to go again. Paul took great pictures but he missed it when one of them pulled down the front of my strapless suit (ladies . . . a lesson about straps learned here). Have a great night all!

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