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Old March 27th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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Default Jamaica. Is it really that bad?

As of right now, we are not booked for an excursion in Ochos Rios. Is there enough to do in the area by the pier or should we try an excursion? My wife would like a day at an all-exclusive resort but I'm not too hip on the idea.

Suggestions?
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Old March 27th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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Banshee,

As of right now, we are not booked for an excursion in Ochos Rios. Is there enough to do in the area by the pier or should we try an excursion? My wife would like a day at an all-exclusive resort but I'm not too hip on the idea.

Suggestions?


Take a tour. Do not even think of going ashore in Jamaica on your own.

One cruise director described Jamaica quite accurately when he said, "If you take a tour, you probably will leave thinking that Jamaica is one of the best ports of call that you have visited. If you go ashore on your own, you probably will leave with a very different opinion."

I highly recommend the tour that combines Prospect Plantation, a brief shopping stop, and Dunn's River Falls -- and be sure to wear your swimsuit under your clothes and bring a towel and a pair of SurfWalkers so you can climb the falls! The climb up the stairstep falls, done in human chains with a guide leading each chain, is very rejuvenating, as the falls are well shaded by trees on both sides. Your clothes and valuables will be secure in the tou van while you do the climb.

Norm.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 10:23 PM
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i have been to jamica and i liked it and we wnet on a shore tour we
went to dunn's fall there was one thing i didn' liked we were going
throu the sraw market one of the shop owner grab my arm he wanted me to stop at hes shop i didn't like when he grab my arm he said i was rude
it meanly surprise me other wise the people were frindly i woud go with a tour
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Old March 28th, 2006, 12:26 AM
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Do not even think of going it on your own. You will have enough problems on a guided tour. To bad the ship is not docking in MoBay. There is a small shop at the end of the pier, Not the James Bond one, the new pier. I go no further anymore, it is just to dangerous on your own
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Old March 29th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Default didn't like Jamacia

We took a tour to a botanical garden, which was nice, but when we went back to Ocho Rios, I couldn't wait to get back to the ship. I didn't feel safe. There was nothing I could put my finger on, just how the place made me feel.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 11:12 AM
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We ended up booking a day trip to the Breezes resort. If nothing else, it's more free food (and drink at that). Has anyone done this before?
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Old March 31st, 2006, 03:33 PM
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Our table mates went to Sandals. I am sure it is same as Breezes. They loved it. But I remember them saying something about paying their entry fee in cash and they didn't take credit cards.You might want to check that out. They had a great day and felt real safe. Loved their beaches, water toys and of course food and drinks.Besure and stop by Margaritaville on your way back to the ship. Have fun. I think you made a wise choice. Thats what I would do next time for sure.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 11:35 PM
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When in Mo bay I did the ship's tour to the Black River Crocodile Safari. It was good in itself but I epecially got an experience out of the dirt road through the mountains tour where the real Jamaica can be seen. not a nice place. Whatever one does in Jamaica...do it on an organized tour.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Jamaica is a gorgeous, lush, tropical island. Sure it has it share of problems, worse that some of the islands. Do not venture off on your own. Book a tour either with the cruise line or with a recommended independant tour operator. We have done the river rafting on the Martha Brea, Dunns River Falls, the inclusive resort thing. Have done some snorkeling - wasn't impressed with the snorkeling at all. All i got out of the snorkeling was a lot of cuts from the razor-sharp coral that juts up from the sea floor. Marine life wasn't abundant.
Have been hearing some rave reviews about the "Original Canopy Tour" the zip-line thing in the rainforest, sounds like a blast, but you must book with the ship to get the "Original".
Make sure you buy some Jamacian Blue Mountain Coffee - its the best, as are the Local coffee liquers.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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I agree with all the other posters. Don't try to do it on your own. A ship sponsered excursion here is the best way to go.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 10:30 PM
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to answer your question...yes jamaica sucks , unless you are in a resort. My husband and I also found the locals to be rude and untrust worthy. See for yourself. I personally go out of my way to book cruises that don't include Jamaica. I* also would want to travel as LITTLE as possible once you are on the island.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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Jamaica is a beautiful island with nice people. And yes, there is crime, therefore I will advice you to book excursions through the ship. We had some great times in Jamaica. I higly recommend the 4x4 jeep safari.
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Old April 6th, 2006, 01:50 PM
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We ended up booking a day at the all inclusive Breezes Castaway Bay resort. Wife wanted to spend some time on a beach. She usually gets what she wants

Personally, I would have done it myself. Have been in all kinds of places/situations in the U.S. and other countries. Many places and areas that are filled with poverty. Anyone ever travel through the shanty towns on the ourskirts of Mexico City? Incredible to see and experience because they go on for miles and miles. The people there were nice. Was there questionable things taking place. Yup, all around me. I don't go looking for trouble. I stay in well populated areas and stay away from situations that already seem unstable. However, its great to experience the culture of an area. Be it good or bad. This is the way the people live every day. To go to another country and spend the whole day with Americans and ignore the culture of the land you are visiting is almost disrespectful if you ask me. That is one of the reasons why I disliked Alcapulco so much when I went there a couple of years ago. It is Americanized that there seems to be very little culture left. That being said, I also realize there are many people out there do not have the same view. That is fine. Call me adventurous. Call me stupid.

I teach 8th grade. I've been called worse.

Anyway, we will be spending the time in Jamaica on a beach. Free drinks and food anyway so I guess thats a plus.

I guess as long as she gets what she wants, we'll both have a happy ending
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Old April 6th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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Exactly!

To my 'surprise' a lot Americans are very affraid for almost anything. For rude people (we call them strangers), San Juan, Jamaica, taxis, traffic...don't worry about it. You are making yourself complete nuts with that paranoid behaviour.

It amazes me how friendly and honest people in the Caribbean can be. Even less criminal and rude than people living at the mainland of the US.

Just keep you eyes always open, everything will be just fine.
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Old April 9th, 2006, 05:58 PM
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I agree with the other posters-do a tour. The Dunnes River Falls one is good because you also go to the Botanical Garden and they take you to a straw village to do a little shopping. If any of the people bug you to buy something or offer you drugs just say "No thanks" and walk quickly away, they won't bother you anymore.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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It all depends on what you like. We just return from Costa cruise on 4-9 and we stopped in Ocho Rios. We were docked at the Boxite mining company adjacent to another pier. If you wanted to go downtown to shop you had to walk down a busy road or get a taxi which I did not see after we returned from Dunn River falls. Our excursion which was book through Costa was very rushed. There was no time to visit the local vendors at the falls park. The vendors are very pushy for you to look at their items same as in downtown. If you like to climb and get wet the falls is fun. Just be careful. It is not as eay as it shows in the brochure. You can slip and get hurt if you are not careful. I liked the falls and the climb but I would not make Ocho Rios a must see place for my next cruise.

Cayman Islands is a much nicer place.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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I work in and around DC. Sometimes in very bad neighborhoods.

I see enough questionable activity and keep my head on a swivel for work.

Im not going to travel thousands of miles and pay to experience it on my vacation.

Been there once. That was enough for me.

R
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Old April 17th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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My husband, son and four year old got off the boat in Ochos Rios and walked to the beach, with the ship in sight. The locals asked us a million times if we wanted a ride, etc. We just politely told them no. The beach was amazing and they left us alone.

However, we then went into town alone and walked around. Several men approached us and asked if we wanted to purchase drugs...hard drugs. Right in front of my four year old. I was pretty scared, held my little guy and did not let go til we were back at the ship. I totally recommend staying with a group and not going off on your own. Have NO interest in ever returning to Jamaica, ever.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 11:20 AM
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as long as you tour smart and use your head you will be just fine in Jamaica. As i stated before Jamaica is a gorgeous island, the locals are very friendly. Tourisim is their livelyhood.
Unfortunatley in our society drugs are everywhere and Jamaica is no exception. Don't wander into drug areas, stay in the resort areas, go to reputable places and you will be just fine. We are going back for our third time next year - looking forward to it, we love Jamaica
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Old April 19th, 2006, 03:35 AM
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LisaK, you're absolutely right!!

Jamaica is a lovely island, lots to do and to see. Take a tour, explore the island, enjoy the beautiful nature and white sandy beaches. Don't let the vendors in the harbour area ruin this port of call. Just ignore them and visit the real island!

When you do this, I'll know for sure that this island will become one of your favorites.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Sheik - have you been to Fern Gully? I have wanted to do this for some time now and since we will be going back to Jamacia next year i was wondering what would be the best way to visit this place?
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Old April 19th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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I went to Ochio Rios and I would definitely book an excursion. We went to Dunn's River Falls and the only time I was uncomfortable was when we exited Dunn's River and on our way back to our bus there are huts and people trying to get you to buy stuff and they were pretty rude because we didn't stop. (could smell weed also) They try to sell you some too. Otherwise, we were comfortable and they seemed very nice. We also went horseback riding in the water and I loved it. I would not venture out on my own.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 04:56 PM
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No, I haven't been to Fern Gully yet.

I live in the Netherlands (Holland) and maybe that's the reason I'm not afraid for the locals who sell hardrugs. In the Netherlands people smoke weed at the streets and try to sell this to tourists too. It's legal to buy and use drugs, so we are very used to it.

If you don't like Jamaica because of this, don't visit Europe, especially Amsterdam. You don't like it either.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 11:53 PM
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We have had three vacations in Jamaica - two one-week and one two-week. We fly to Montego Bay and stay in Negril on the west end, so I have never been to Ocho Rios. We find the people of Jamaica to be wonderful and the beaches and countryside beautiful. And no, we do not stay in all-inclusive resorts.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 12:05 PM
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sunset beach resort is awsome they also just opened a water park all inclusive 40 buck a person all the food and drinks are free great beach 2 pools an awsome place to spend a day.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 08:00 PM
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Dear Banshee: Went to Jamaica a few yrs ago. Ship docked in Kingston and we booked Ocho Rios/Dunn's River tour with the ship. They cautioned guests about "going out on your own". Believe me, they knew from whence they spoke. Jamaica's government has experienced much turmoil in the past and I doubt that much has improved their internal state of stability. Some areas are safer than others, but for the most part I recommend that ANY excursions be booked and sanctioned by the cruise line. Also, leave jewelry and other valuables in the safe on board. Do not "advertise" your financial status while on the island. Use only certified taxi and bus transportation as advised by cruise staff. Most Islanders are pleasant and accomodating depending where you visit; we ran into some unsavory locals in and around the straw markets and on the public streets who stop at nothing to "hustle" travelers. The economy overall is midline impoverished with some exceptions. Be smart.....there is no trade-off for your safety!
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Old May 4th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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DF and I are considering the canopy tour when we go in October. 8)
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Old May 9th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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Default Great Tour Company

My family and friends just got back from Jamacia.
We were on the Victory.
We took an all day tour with Ionie Mcbeam Tour Company.
www.ocho-rios.com (I think)
They were incredible- took us to the falls and river tubing- made sure we had great guides at both places.
Went to Fern Gully and a short tour of the area.
We got the name from another family who went in February and can't say enough good things about them.
Go with them you won't be disappointed!
Jamacai was beautiful, we learned a lot about the island also.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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Default Jamaica

My husband and I went to Montego Bay, Jamaica in February. We also experienced rude salespeople. Our bus driver, though, was funny and extremely helpful. He took us where we wanted to go and returned to pick us up at a predetermined time. We really enjoyed Margaritaville and Doctor Cave's Beach. It was only $5.00 per person to go to Doctor Cave's Beach. We walked a short distance from Margaritaville to Doctor Cave's Beach and no one bothered us. The island is beautiful, and if we ever go back, we will go the Doctor Cave's Beach and stay a lot longer.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 10:12 PM
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Definitely book an excursion, or stay on the ship! We ventured out on our own-big mistake! We walked to a resort and paid $30 to use their pool and facilities. However, everyone who was staying there had arm bands and we did not, so both of the security guards came up to us ( about 20 minutes apart) and rudely told us that this was not pulic property, and we would have to leave. We told them we had paid and they demanded to see our receipt. So out of my chair I came to rummage through my beach bag to show it to them. (Would have kept it out but it was windy!) Then after lunch their shift changed and we had to go through this again with the new guards. Not a relaxing day at the beach when you are forced to argue and protest throughout the day! We finally got annoyed and left, walked back to the ship. During the walk I was offered drugs by one man, grabbed inappropriately by another, and bothered by countless others who wanted to braid my hair, give me a cab ride, or re-marry me and my husband!

I have been on 3 cruises and so far Jamaica is the absolute worst port of call! But others love it, so I would follow their advice and do whatever it is they did!
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