My wife and I were a bit apprehensive about visiting Jamaica after reading these boards and hearing from some others about their experiences - but I can tell you we had the best time, and enjoyed Jamaica more than Cozumel and Grand Cayman because of Peat Taylor.
We toured with Peat on July 11th and it was great.
He charges $30 for adult, $20 for children under 12. That includes your admission to Dunns River Falls (which is $10 adults / $8 children) - so since you pay Peat at the end, he has you pay Dunn Rivers Falls directly and then you just pay him $20/adult and $12 per child at the end of your day with him.
We were first at the Falls with Peat. Climbed up first in a group of 10 . While finished and getting dried off, the hordes from the ship arrived - several hundred of them. It was great to have the falls all to ourselves by going with Peat. This was followed by a tour of Fern Gulley, the Jamaican countryside and mountain villages, with Peat singing, pointing out several plants, stopping to pick leaves to show us the spices that grow there, stopping whenever anyone wanted to take a photo, etc.
He then asked what each of the 3 groups with him wanted to do. 2 of 3 wanted to go to Shaw Botanical Park (2 of the 3 groups with Peat wanted to do this and once there, the 3rd decided to also do this even though Peat offered to take them shopping, back to the ship, or wherever instead.) Shaw Park was really beautiful ($4/person) and had some great views.
After this, the groups split up. Peat took us to the Ruins at the Falls restaurant like we asked (he also highly recommended it) and took the other 2 couples shopping like they wanted to. Peat offered to come back and pick us up after eating, but the restaurant was a close walk to the ship (so he showed us a short way to walk - about 5 minutes) and we decided we would just walk back on our own schedule.
I must say Peat was great - and the fears of overagressive vendors , etc was overblown IMO. At Dunn's Falls I got out of the Falls about 2/3's of the way uo to take some photos of my daughter and wife climbing - and a local fellow asked if I was OK (haha maybe I was a bit winded from climbing). I said I was fine and he asked if I was interested in doing any shopping (he had a backpack with him with ???). I told him no thanks and that was that. He again asked if I was allright and wished me a good time in Jamaica. At the top of the Falls, we exited out the entrance with no problem (Peat had advised us to some tricks vendors play to sell you things based on what his clients have told him) - so we just decided to bypass the whole craft market. At the places Peat stopped in Fern Gulley (right next to several vendors) - no one approached us - we could browse and buy if we wanted, but it was our choice. No heavy, or even light sales tactics there. FInally, on our walk back to the ship, again we had no problem - and we walked right thru the Taj Mahal shopping area.
Really, the only unusual sites we saw were the wooden stautes one vendor was selling in Fern Gulley which ahhh, unusually saluted the van as we drove by in all their manhood. And on our walk back to the ship, my wife noticed a public works worker head behind a too narrow tree - and take a leak. But neither of these were part of Peat's tour or things he could control.
In any case, you can't go wrong booking with Peat. I highly recommend him
Kim, I read a bunch of good reviews about Peat on another board and then checked out his website and decided to contact him.
I had the same fears about Jamaica, but it really was the port we enjoyed the most.
Yes, we did book ahead of time with Peat - if you email him he will send you back a proposal with some details on where the tour will go - but really he will customize it to whatever you want. When we wen, he did the things everyone was doing first - then he took each couple off to their customized location(s) (and he tells you he doesn't want to be paid til the end - so that way you are sure he will come back and pick you up - ).
There were a total of 7 people on our tour (he has a minibus that could probably hold 20 - but from what I have read, he usually has about 4 to 8 people touring with him).
I ran a Google search on him after reading this and was mondo impressed. I can't believe he waits till after the tour to be paid. My only fear was booking and not stopping in Jamaica for some reason and now that fear is gone. Thanks a million for this great tip. I am glad you had a good time.
Have read all the posts for PeatTaylor.. and would love to book with him also.
But I can't connect with his website. The website that is given, only connects me with a few who have given a review of him.
Can someone please give me another addy or tell me how to connect with this tour?
We are cruising the 14th of Sept.
Thanks for your help!!