I keep hearing these horror stories from friends who have recently gone on cruises to ocho rios. They said that the prostitutes are quite a problem for families traveling with teenage sons. Is this true? Is it worth even getting off of the ship in Jamaica?
We just got back from Ocho Rios. If you stay with a group or have a personally hired tour guide you should not have any problems. The only time we were approached by anyone was when we were walking back from Margaritaville to the pier. They were not trying to sell themselves though. We just told them "no thank you man" and that was that. We loved Ocho Rios and going up the Falls. It is something that you will never experience in the States and if you have teenagers they will love it.
I have never seen or been approached by a prostitute in Ocho Rios. You may get the occasional guy wanting to know if you are looking for Ganja but a polite no and a smile is usually all it takes. We love Jamacia! The people there are very poor and desperatly try to make a living but that isn't their fault. We treat the locals like we wish to be treated, with respect, honesty, and friendliness and humor. So far they almost all respond the same way in return and most treat us wonderfully. My wife like to tell the story of when we were at the strawmarket downtown and expecting to walk back as usual actually spent all our cash. I was having serious problems with my ankles and feet at the time and it very quickly became horribly painful to walk more than 100 feet at a time without having to sit and basically cry for a minute. A local taxi driver say this and asked is we were going back to the ship. My wife said yes but we had already spent all of our cash in the market so were just going to walk but thank you. The taxi driver stepped out and helped me to his cab and said "no charge mon" and took us to the front gate. There are really some great people in Jamacia.
Jamaica is my favorite place to go. Just say no thank you. All is good then. Beaches are great and beautiful too. Go and have a ball. They need our money too. Dont not go becasue you have heard some people say negative things. If it wasnt safe the crusie lines would not stop there. Stay in a small group and mind your own business.... happy cruising...
Jamaica is a beautiful, lush, tropical island, that is very poor. Stick with a group or with a tour,don't go exploring "off the beaten path" on your own and you will be fine. You and your teenager will love Dunns River Falls.
Went to ocho rios too and did the dunns river falls. Not very adverturesome so I didn't enjoy it much, but my sister, who's very outdoorsy, loved it. don't forget to bring you water shoes as i felt the shoes that you can buy/rent we're kind of old. as for prostitutes, didn't notice if there were any. some of the shop vendors can be aggresive, but no more so than at a state carnival in the states. just say no thanks and walk away.
I agree Jamaica is a very beautiful place, but I have NO DESIRE to ever get off the ship there again. I've been there 3 or 4 times and a couple of those times were with groups. We had no problems. The last time I was there was March '04 and I was HASSLED the entire way from the fenced gate area by the dock all the way to Margaritaville! I was alone, granted, but I had every kind of illegal substance offered to me AND women offered to me "for the day"! I felt like I had to get "MEAN" to get them to leave me alone. Then, on the way back to the ship it was the same scenario all over again. I'm not saying to stay away...just stay in a group and be careful.
Certain parts of Jamaica are beautiful such as Montego Bay, but Ocho Rios is the "industrial" part of Jamaica. Been on many cruises and each time hasseled by venders begging to look at their things and wanting to sell things to me, it is just plain annoying to me. I can understand they count on selling as their income, but I am on vacation and when I say no its no, they just keep going after you.
I was approached two different cruises by people selling illegial substances (and my children were young at those times present with me) I quickly said no and one person didn't hassle us but the other kept asking over and over. We jumped into a store and lost him. Both persons each were carrying "a box" so when you see somebody approaching you and they have a box in their hands run the other way! Do not go anywhere remote or by yourself.
I found the tour guides (always choose a cab right outside the ship) to be very experienced and took 3 tours (3 different cruises). They do show you the sites, but always haggle with them. The last one was 3 years ago and the driver wanted $170.00 to show us a 3 1/2 hour tour of Jamaica, said he would take us anywhere we wanted, which he was honest about that. We haggled and got it down to $110.00. He did take us to the most popular sites and gave us an excellent narriated tour of Ocho Rios but of course, he brings us to an area to do some "shopping with local vendors". Those persons weren't as bad, but we did get people saying come look at mine, etc. If you want to purchase something with them haggle with them.
We are taking another cruise this summer western caribbean, and you be sure we won't be getting off the ship this time! Thank goodness the ship arrives in Ocho Rios 7am and departs 3:30 so guess I will have the ship to myself.