We have read a number of reviews of people scared to get off the boat in Ocho Rios because of they did not feel safe due to the agressiveness of the locals. Our family of five, three boys aged 15, 12, 8, were really looking forward to a river tubing and Dunns River Falls combo tour in July, but now we are wondering how safe it is. Any comments or words of wisdom from those who have done either of these excursions lately?
P.S. We honeymooned for two weeks in Ocho Rios 20 years ago. The locals were more agressive than any other island we have visited, however, a quick "no thank you" and if we continued moving, it seemed to work for us at that time. We bartered like crazy in the straw market and got ridiculously low prices for all kinds of neat stuff (prices went down big time when the cruise ships were not in port), and we walked all over town. Do not remember feeling insecure. But things might have changed since we were there.
We were there a couple of years ago and the people are agressive, but we took a shore excursion thru Carnival and had no problem. We saw Cayoba Gardens, which was beautiful, they took us shopping in a restricted area, so the vendors weren't aggressive. Dunn River Falls was great.....the area where the food vendors and craft vendors are was the only place we ran into competitive peddlers. We had no problem, and we were two gals. I am not sure how comfortable I would be visiting the island on my own, though.
Unless it has changed a lot inthe last couple of years, I wouldn't worry about it as long as you are with a supervised tour.
Have a great time
I agree with xsbarbcat, we were in Ocho Rios a couple of years back and did the same excursion that cat did. The jungle shopping area when you come out of the gardens can be pretty intense with the locals hounding you but not to bad. Our teenage girls seemed to receive more attention then any of us. Locals offering hits off their joints was a little strange. But I wouldn't miss these attractions. My girls loved Dunn river falls. If we ever go back though we will do a private falls trip. Didn't like having to hold hands and go up in a chain it was much to slow.
In Jamaica, book any excursions through the cruise line such as Dunns River Falls, rafting, tubing, etc. Other tan that the shuttle bus from the pier terminal will take you to Doctors Cave Beach, the craft market, main shopping area, and Margaritaville.
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I went to that port on Carnival and booked the Dunns River Falls excursion through Carnival and was thankful I did. I did find that that port was just too aggresive for me. I was happy to be in a group setting and I felt safer.
One of our tablemates went and did his own thing and regretted it immediately. The locals blew some white powder in his face and he felt like he was going to pass out. They were trying to rob him and somehow he fought them off. He worked at a youth day camp in baltimore so he said that his street smarts was all that got him through the experience. I felt so bad for him, his family was from Jamiaca and he was so upset about what happened. He said he was very disallusioned about the experience.