We are sailing to Ocho Rios in June and we're thinking of booking with Peat Taylor, however we only want to go to the Falls, then back to the pier and shop ect. on our own.
Peat seems to have a package available & we're just not interested in Fern Gully or River Tubing. Here is our question, has anyone taken a tour directly from the pier or hired a cab? Our concern is that it is safe/reliable - but we figured they must have tons of cruise passengers who want to do this excursion. Please write us if you have had any experience with this or seen what it is like at the pier. Thanks.
I don't think you would have any problem with going to Dunn's River Falls from the pier or whatever. As always, I would SUGGEST that you do the tour through the cruise or a reputable touring company, but Dunn's River has so many people visit it that I doubt you would have a problem.
-Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas Southern Caribbean Cruise, August 2000
-Carnival Valor Western Caribbean Cruise, June 2005
-Sapphire Princess Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska Cruise, May 2008
If all you want to do is the falls, then yes you can grab a cab at the pier. Just make sure that you take a bonded, licensed cab- they are clearly marked. DO NOT GO with a "gypsy" cab driver. The only downfall of using a cab is that you will have to fight the crowds and fight thru the aggressive vendors to get to and from your cab.
We just returned from our first cruise which included a stop in Ocho Rios. I had no interest in booking thru the cruise line due to cost and having to wait for everyone to load the bus and do a congo line up the falls. 4 of us ( myself, wife, 10 and 12 year old) got off the boat as quickly as we could and got a van right outside the pier. There are 2 exits off the piers - one for guided tours to the right and one for privcate taxis/vans to the left. WE hooked up with another family of 4 at the taxi stand and got a van for $5.50per person for round trip. He dropped us off at the falls ( about 10 minutes) at around 9:30 am and we agreed upon 11:30 am pick up time. After paying admission ( cant remeber what it was - check website. CASH ONLY!!!) we made our way down to bottom of the falls but had to survive the onslaught of tour guides insisting we needed their service. We wanted to climb the falls as a small group - just us and the family we hooked up with - so declined all guides. Until - that is - someone convinved us that we needed someone to watch us in case we got hurt. So in the end we ened up with some sort of private guide who helped us when we needed it but otherwise did a lot on our own. We gave him $10 for each group and he seemed content. The climb only took about 30-40 minutes so had over an hour with nothing to do. So we walked back down to the beach where the falls started and played in the water and at bottom of falls for a while. By the time we got to the bottom again, there were hords of people lined up to climb the falls. All shpaes, sizes , ages, etc, all holding hands and moving slowly. Did not look like fun!Leaving the falls at the top to meet the van was interesting as you have to walk through a small village of peddlers who were not as pushy as I expected but maybe they werent warmed up yet. The van was there as promised and we were back on the boat by 11:45. There is some shopping to be done but we wanted to getback to boat. There is a Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville right there at the end of the dock where our new friends went later and they enjoyed a few drinks while their kids played with water toys - might be an option if you have kids, or even if you dont. They said it was great.
Just realized I wrote a lot - hope it was helpful. Bottom line - you do not need to hook up with any tour operators to enjoy the falls. Get there early, before the crowds. Much more enjoyable. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thank you so much for the advice. It was just what we needed as it gave us a clear picture of what to expect. By the way, we have 2 kids, one is 9 and the other is 4 1/2, and the little one is small but a tough little guy. Do you think the falls would be ok for him? We would of course be holding his hand and helping him. Please let me know if you noticed anyone bringing kids that age to the falls, otherwise perhaps just my husband and other son will do it and we will climb the stairs instead ( but I was hoping he could experience it). Thanks
we are going on the victory in july with a group of 11. we are just going to get a cab or cabs at the pier and ride to the falls and climb the falls by ourselves. we have been told by our neighbor it will be the way to go. they have told us not to pay the cab driver until he comes back to get us. then we are going to have him drop us at the margueritaville for a while and thenwe can shop and walk to the pier we are told it is all very close.
as far as the 4 year old, i do not know if the falls would be to difficult for this child. my 5 year old granddaughter is not going to climb the falls. she will stay with my husband and i while the rest of the group goes on the falls. i had a hip replace. and back surgery and i cannot take the chance of falling. from what i hear even 5 is too little for this activity. there is a small beach at the bottom of the falls and we will entertain her there.
i do not think our kids and their kids are going to get a guide either. they say you really do not need one. hope this helps. we have never been there either and i had all the same questions and lots of people on this message board gave to me all these ideas. have a wonderful cruise and my neighbors only word for the falls is AWSOME AND THEY WANT TO GO BACK.
I would use Pete Taylor!! We used him when we were there last October and he was awsome! He got us to Dunn River Falls before anyone else arrived therefor it was not at all crowded we were the first ones there, as we were coming out alot of people were then arriving. He did take us on a tour of the area and did stop in the rainforest but were not there too long, we also stopped at a school, this is good for kids and adults to see to remind us of how lucky we have it! After that he took some back to the ship for lunch, dropped us off at the shopping plaza with Margaritaville, we asked him to come back and pick us up in about an hour so we could go downtown to the straw markets, he had no problem doing this, he had also gone back and picked up the people who had gone back to the ship for lunch and already had dropped them off to shop before picking us up. There was just my cousin and I when he took us to shop, we didn't stay long found what we wanted, Pete told us where he would be waiting for us and we asked him then to take us back to Margaritville. He was wonderful and would do pretty much anything you wanted him to do. Please consider booking with him, it was fantastic!
we left our 5 and 7 year old on the boat with their camps, which they loved. our 10 and 12 year old had no problem but a couple parts of the falls scared them. we saw some younger kids ( 3-4) being carried but that looked dangerous. personally if you are going just for the falls then heading back to the boat, i would consider leaving the little one behind, if feasible. maybe someone else who actually took little ones with them could add,,,,,