My Husband and I are sailing on Voyager this winter. We are stopping in Ocho Rios. I have heard that unless you sign up for an excursion you will have little else to do. I'm hoping this is not the case because we would like to tour this area on our own. Any advice on things to do would be greatly appreciated!
You could just hire a cab driver for the day and have him take you around. Have heard many cruisers have done this and have been very happy with it. Make sure to check out Dunn Rivers falls too :-)
I've heard of different rates, just make sure you agree on the rate before you take off and don't pay him until the end. I think it all depends on the total time and how far you want to go. Glad you like the idea, sounds like a safe way to go in Ocho Rios to me.
Donna and I will disagree on this, but my recommendation is a tour that combines one of the plantations (Prospect Plantation is an excellent choice) with the Dunn's River Falls. As you tour the plantation, you will get to see some of the genuine beauty of the island and to learn about its history and the science of its agriculture. The rugged terrain is quite impressive (at approximately 6300 feet, Jamaica's Blue Ridge is higher than Mount Washington!) so there's quite a science to the way in which they plant crops in various altitude zones. Be sure to wear your bathing suit under your street clothes and to bring a towel from the ship and a pair of Surfwalkers (available at any major sporting goods store) to climb the Dunn's River Falls, too. It's not a very challenging climb (in fact, one woman did it at 99 years old), but it's well-shaded and extremely refreshing.
The tour probably also will include a brief stop for shopping, where you might want to pick up some Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee -- it's a great souvenir for your coffee drinking friends.
Actually your idea is a very good one. We did a tour that included Dunns Rivers Falls, Fern Gully and some shopping. At least we got to see a little bit more of the island, but I would of rather seen the plantation myself. I guess the next visit there we can go and see that. Good suggestion Norm :-)
Do Dunn's River Falls &/or other excursions from the ship. When we sailed on the Century in 11/97 we did the Falls & it was great -everyone should do it at least once. Make sure you bring a camera-and not your super duper Nikon or whatever- think point & shoot or diposable. The guides that help you climb will ask for your camera & take pictures of you & your mate or buds-My $50 Kodak Cameo took one of the all time bests pics of me & my husband- just before we fell over backward in the falls. And yes, the water was COLD.
Oh, but my original point was to warn you about trying to do too much stuff on your own in Jamaica. after we did the Falls we went back to the ship for lunch then wanted to 'go uptown' & buy coffee. The taxi driver wanted to renogotiate the price after we got there. We were 3 adults, me, my husband & my friend's husband & all 3 of us were very uncomfortable. We would never again go to Jamaica & try to do anything on our own.
We did Ocho Rios 2x on our own and both were fantastic experiences, thanks to Pete Taylor Tours.
Pete has a few cars and vans and when you get off the ship if you ask the guards or info booth they will direct you to him.
On our first trip, 2 yrs ago, I called Pete directly and had him as our guide. For $25, he took care of us the entire day, taking us up Murphy's Hill for a fantastic view of the port and town, over to Dunn's River, (entrance fee included), lunch at Jerk Center and town for shopping.
Last week we were on Voyager. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do so I waited till we docked. I wanted to go over to Martha Brae rafting which was about 45 mins away, but, I wasn't sure I wanted to venture so far away from the ship. We decided to go for it. I looked around for Pete, but he was already out on a tour. However, we found one of his driver's holding up a sign "Pete Taylor tours" and hired him. Michael was fantastic. Martha Brae ended up being the highlight of our trip. Tranquil and beautiful bamboo gondolla type raft through forest. We returned to Ocho around 12 and had lunch at Beebeebops (or something like that). Great spot for lunch. Not authentic jamaican but close enough and clean. We then went shopping for our Blue Mt coffee in town. The markets are located here also. The markets are quite intimidating, so you may want to stick to the indoor shops. Michael charged us $40 pp, for entire trip, which lasted from 9:30 - 4:30 and a lot better than what the ship offered for the long ride over to Martha Brae.
If you want Pete's #, let me know.
Have a great time.
Yes, I would like Pete's number. Will be in Jamaica next week. We have been there 5 or 6 times and we are ready for the island tour. Teens want to see Bob Marleys house and I would just like to see something other than the 2 shopping plazas. Dunns River is a must for everyone but I've done it 3 times. Done the Martha Brae, Plantations, even took a train ride up into the mountains. Favorite thing to do was the Cornwell Beach party in Montego Bay. That was in the early 80's. Well anyway, I would really like to have Pete's number please.
I would like Pete's # also I read someplace else that the excursions purchased on the ship are a little pricey so if I can save a dollar I would like to. Plus that means that I will have more funds to shop with:-)