I will be on a cruise (RCCL Voyager) in June and we will be in Ocho Rios from 8:00 Ė 5:00.
I keep hearing about people suggesting to go to Dunnís River Falls and going with Peat Taylor instead of the shipís excursion. I have no problem not going with the shipís excursion, but what is there that is so impressive at the falls? It is hard for me to see, because from the cruise reviews that I have read it appears that people walk to the bottom of some kind of waterfalls and then make their way (holding hands in a group) walking over rocks and stuff back up the falls somehow. Is that right? I see that you can opt to walk up some stairs that run alongside the falls.
Exactly what is neat about that? I must be missing something. Is it really a waterfalls, or do you walk up a stream?
I also read about the salespeople at the end of the hike uphill being very aggressive and that the guides are also aggressive for their tip. Everything that I have read really turned me off.
Please, let me know exactly what this is and whether it is worth visiting. If it is worth visiting, please explain how I can avoid the aggressive salespeople at the end (there is some kind of secret path to the parking lot I hear.)
Also, what is the next best thing to do when in this port if you donít do the Dunnís River Falls?
What is a good back-up plan in case it rains?
Is it worth snorkeling in Ocho Rios or is this port not a good place to snorkel?
Keep in mind that I would prefer to do any excursions on my own as opposed to using a ship-based excursion, so if you can give me estimated taxi prices and other helpful info like that, it would be great!
Well I have a little to offer on this subject. My husband and I opted out of the dunns fall experience because, as you said it didn't look that impressive. As far as aggressive sales people, we encountered them on our own self guided tour. It was an AWFUL experience. In fact we were left wondering why the ships even stop in Ochos Rios. The people were aggressive and rude, the area was filthy and run-down and the atmostphere felt very threatening and stressful. Lets face it this is not the kind of vacation port most of us are looking for. Unless others had experienced things differently and convinced us otherwise I think my hubby and I would simpy stay on the ship and pass on this port. I hope you find this somewhat helpful. Sharon
We were not impressed with Ocho Rios either. We took the plantation tour rather than the Dunne River Falls because of my wife's arthritis. While it was okay, we would never think of doing it again. In fact not only would we stay aboard ship in Ocho Rios, we would never think of taking another cruise which has this port in its program.
As you say sdolliver, rudeness and aggressiveness is off the scale , not only in stores and on the street but even while we were sitting in our bus there were people banging on the windows in an attempt to get us to buy their goods.
I don't want to be too critical because I realize these experiences are personal ones - and I'm sure some cruisers have had an enjoyable time in Ocho Rios, but certainly not us.
Dunns River Falls is just a fun thing to do. The water is clear, clean , crisp and cool. Its hard to explain unless you have done it. Its just plain fun. Snorkeling in Jamacia is lousy to say the least, strong currents, lots of jagged coral that "attacks" you. I have never been so scraped and cut as i was when i went snorkeling in Jamacia. As for the locals if you Do Not Make Eye Contact with them, walk away and don't say anything they won't bother you. Have heard great reviews about Peat Taylor. Would recommend doing a ships excursion if you don't use him. Another great tour in Jamacia is the river-raft tour, this is a very relaxing tour, you sit on these long bamboo rafts and your guide poles you down the river, the scenery is beautiful, you get to see the true Jamacia this way. Its such a beautiful island.
We visited Ocho Rios by accident this past October 2002 due to an itinerary change (hurricanes). Dunn's River Falls is pretty much what you've read here...but you can make it more bearable and enjoyable by taking your own taxi just off the docks (standard fee) and doing it yourself. Note the entrance landmarks when you enter and head for them when you leave instead of the shops on the right...which is where they'll direct you. That was the only sour experience we had with the park. We did the falls once with a group and once without and enjoyed it.
TIP: Bring cheap beach shoes or you'll have to rent them for $5...you can't do it barefoot.
TIP: Unless you pack extremely light and extremely tight (waterproof), you'll want to rent a locker at the TOP before going down. That will save you a hike.
TIP: Take waterproof camera photos, but be prepared to "hire" someone to do video. You can get another tourist to video you from the side about half way up because there's easy in/out access from a landing.
TIP: If a young couple asks you if the area is man-made or real, don't laugh (it happened to us)! It is so naturally clean that it looks Disneyish.
As for snorkeling, a couple we met basically walked around the beach inlet to the left of the pier (avoid going too much through the street...you'll get hassled). They asked and found some locals that took them out nearby in a large johnboat for much less than an excursion ($20?)..we wish we had thought of that!
Just got back from a Peat Taylor tour and he is absolutely the very best! He includes the Falls in his tour price. He takes you straight from the ship to the Falls and gets there long before all the regular tour buses. The Falls is quite big, very clean and clear water.
After the Falls he takes you on a tour around the island and then is willing to drop you one place, pick you up later, whatever you want to do, he is very flexible.
My family and I have done the Dunn's falls twice. Both times were great. Judging by your name- Snorkleman- I am assuming you are young and fit enough to enjoy the falls. Please give it a try and do not stay on the ship if you are at all athletic. The Falls looks like a piece of cake to climb but don't climb along with the crowd on the left side of the Falls. The first time we went we climbed on the left where people hold hands on the way up. It was interesting but definately not exciting. Three years ago we took our two daughters with us age 17 and 23 and we all decided to climb on the right side of the Falls where a few other people were climbing and it was not crowded. WHAT AN EXPIERENCE! FUN, BREATHTAKING at times and the best thing to see or do on the Island. My daughters still talk about how it was the hightlight of the entire trip. I agree to not using the ships excursion and take a taxi to the Falls. Do take water shoes. The pictures of the falls with people holding hands do not tell the whole story.
At times you cannot see where your next handhold is and you need to hold your breath and climb the unknown. Other times it is just a relaxing step walk. it takes about 45 minutes to climb it so it is huge.
The people are very pushy but I found them to be interesting and fun to talk to if you like to banter and joke around. My youngest daughter had the most trouble keeping the males away from her, but even she said she would love to go back.
Hope this helps.
I agree with what Susan said. Peat is great. He gets you there before the crowd and then we tour around afterwards. It was $30 per adult and $20 per kid which includes the price to get into Dunn River Falls. We were just there about 10 days ago. The Falls are challenging but can be done. We took our 4 & 7 yr old boys up it. The guides helped in some spots and at times I had to lift my little one.
Did a tour from a Carnival Ship (The Cool Runnings Party Boat) to the Falls... I was with 10 other people and every one of us LOVED the falls... They are about 650 or more feet high, and they actually are falls! Some of us are quite unathletic but it wasn't a bad trip up, and its like a natural high once you make it to the top.
We are going to Montego Bay this year on our cruise because we enjoyed Jamaica so much last year. I would say if you have the opporunity to go for it, definetly climb the falls. It's an experience you won't forget!!
Re: Re: Ocho Rios - Peat Taylor? Dunn's River Falls??
I'm interested in making my own shore excursions while there, but I'm not sure how to do this. Do I need to make the reservations with Peat ahead of time. Our crusie leaves on May 17th?
Thanks for the info!
Steve, a lot of people do not climb the falls, there are stairs and walkways next to the falls, your mom can do that and stay cool and dry at the same time, there are a couple of really good spots for mom to take some pictures of you.