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Old September 20th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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Default Ocho Rio, Jamaica - is it safe?

Reading different forums, I've heard people talk about Ocho Rio, Jamaica port and how dangerous it is in that town. Is it really dangerous there, I've heard, they just stayed on the ship for safety sake. If that's the case, it is a loss to my trip, because I count on decent ports to venture out and tour, etc. So please let me know if it's OK to get off the ship and venture out or at least shop near the port of call. Pls let me know. Thanks much!
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Old September 20th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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I have been to Ocho Rios, and we wandered around the market with our children. I would say there were times that people crowded us a bit. I never felt really unsafe, but I did stay aware of my surroundings.
I would probably go on a ship-sponsored excursion to see the city.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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We went a couple of years ago and felt fine. We stepped off the ship and hired a personal taxi for about 20 bucks for 4 hours! He even came back to pick us up @ the Margaritaville and take us back to the ship @ no extra charge! I really like Jamaica. Hey can you bring me back some tortuga rum? 8) That is my favorite rum in the world. Cheap too! You will have a wonderful time. Also, drugs are legal there so don't get freaked out. We had some people arrested from our ship for buying pot from undercovers. They will go over that on the ship. Happy Cruising!
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Old September 20th, 2007, 05:08 PM
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I've never had any problems in Jamaica. I have walked from Margaritaville to the Taj Majal shopping area which is about 4 blocks. All we had were a couple people ask if we needed a taxi and a couple who asked for spare change. No problems to speak of.

Just be aware of your surroundings like any place else you're not familiar with. Don't flash a lot of money or jewelry. A simple, but direct look them in the eye "No, Thank You" will usually stop the vendors.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 05:20 PM
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This is what you have to understand about Jamaica. These are not only poor people, but they have little hope of things getting better. That lack of hope manifests itself in anger, rage and violence.

Every one has read about the shore excursion that was just held up at gunpoint. This is not to be ignored. But at the same time, it should be kept in context. Technically, someone could be held up at gunpoint at any area of an American city.

For those people who want to see Jamaica, I always recommend a ship excursion. (yes I know it was a ship excursion that was held up) but that is the safest way to see Jamaica.

Personally, I would not do Jamaica without a ship excursion OR an independent tour operator who has been recommended by someone you trust.

There are lots of threads on this site that will help you with your decision.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=111

You know your comfort level. Use common sense. Do what you feel is the best thing for your vacation and family.

Btw, if it gives you any indication of my comfort level....our family spent 2 weeks in Israel and never felt uncomfortable. So we obviously do not "scare easily".
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Old September 20th, 2007, 06:57 PM
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We were in Ocho Rios last May and took a ship offered excursion to Dunns River Falls, (Loved it!). Jamica is a beautiful country although you will witness poverty in mountainous areas. I am so glad I got to experience Jamaica. I never felt unsafe, however I did find the locals a little pushy. Like other say, be aware of your surroundings and do not wander off on your own. I would like to go back someday. My husband has been there 4 times and says that's enough.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 07:14 PM
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We walked over to the shopping area and Margaritaville and stayed there until our ship sailed. We were approached numerous times in that short walk by tour operators, taxi drivers, and people selling marijuana. Just say "no thanks" and keep on walking. Once we were in the shopping compound and Margaritaville, we felt very safe.

On one other cruise that stopped in Ocho Rios, we booked a shore excursion thru the cruise line to Dunns River Falls and were taken there by catamaran. We were strongly urged by the crew on the catamaran to leave all our personal belongings (even towels) on the catamaran while we climbed the Falls, which we did. The catamaran did not stay docked waiting for our group, he sailed away immediately with everyone's belongings and returned at the appointed time to pick everyone up. Even though we left everything on the catamaran, someone's Carnival towel went missing and the passenger was very upset because Carnival was going to charge her $25 for the lost towel. Prior to boarding the catamaran to return to the ship, there were people selling marijuana.

Whenever visiting a destination you are unfamiliar with, caution and vigilance is the key. Don't leave your common sense at home. If your group is drinking heavily, someone should be designated to oversee everyone's safe return to the ship and keep a keen eye on those bar bills.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 07:20 PM
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I enjoyed Ocho Rios! My husband, myself and our 2 children took a ship excursion to Dunns River Falls. We LOVED it! Now I must add that an older gentleman wanted us to buy some of his pot! We considered this a cultural experience for our two boys (ages at the time 12, 9). The gentleman was behind a tall chain link fence, he had dred (sp?) locks and a hat on and a fine Jamaican accent. At the time it made my husband nervous, but now we look back and chuckle!

I agree with the point of being careful in ANY foreign city/country, foreign meaning a city you do not know!
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Old September 20th, 2007, 07:26 PM
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the Captain will chime in:

we've been to Ochio Rios a couple of times, never felt threatened or unsafe, although one time this guy must have pestered me at least 4 times trying to sell me whatever that stuff was!!! The 5th time I VERY VOCALLY told him to piss off, he never bothered us after that. We were also crazy enough to walk from the ship to Dunn's River Falls, it's a relatively short walk, maybe 30 minutes. Again, never felt threatend or unsafe.

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Old September 21st, 2007, 12:13 AM
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Default Ocho Rios Jamaica - is it safe?

Thanks everybody, this info really helps. I can now get off the ship and enjoy my day feeling pretty safe. Don't worry, I always keep my guard up at all times. Thanks again!
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Old September 21st, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainEdwardJohnSmith
The 5th time I VERY VOCALLY told him to piss off, he never bothered us after that.
Captain

been there done that with a 6'5" rastafarian...


but.....been to the resort thing in jamaica, we felt very safe in our "compound" (which really is what they are lol) but when we walked about a mile into town is where we felt "funny" it was my gosh, 15 yrs ago, so probably safer then.

I wouldnt walk around town, honestly i dont think anyone would recommend that. You really should take a tour, do the falls if you havent been (i thought they were ok, others love it...i wont do it again) best yet tho, find a resort that has day passes, we stayed at the jamaican grand in ocho rios, a beautiful resort very private but still had merchants here and there (yup still a few drugs, but its hard to run in jamaica from those) you'll get all you can drink and eat, and when we were in MoBay (which i find much less safe then Ocho Rios, we REALLY loved the resort of sunset beach, would even vacation there for quiet relaxation....and it was only 40 each. pretty cheap.





funny thing...this time, were older and unfortunatly guess we dont look like big partiers anymore lol. My hubby was getting quite upset that no one asked him to buy "stuff" he kept asking me to ask people if they had any just so he could experience someone asking him, as well its been EONS since he looked that part . Finally someone asked him if he wanted some ganja..and i thought he was going to break out in song and dance while he said no and waved him off! He smiled all the way back to the ship. Even tipped the jamaicans playing reggae music outside our ship 10 bucks and did a jig...im NOT joking.

wierd little man im married to...i thought i could make him feel young, now i find its jamaicans thinking he is cool enough to proposition!
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Old September 21st, 2007, 03:57 PM
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Debra,
What happened to the people on the shore excursion was terrible, but don't panic. Ocho Rios can be an unsafe place, just be aware of what you are doing. You can go to the Bamboo Beach Club and still be within site of the ship and walk right next door to the Island Village, very safe, police presence and in the bamboo club and island village no locals to bother you. However once outside these areas, beggers will beg and dealers are ready to sell you drugs, ect. I think the people of jamaica overall need and want to see the tourist trade, but you do have some that have nothing and no chance of getting anything and when you see american's getting off cruise ships, spending more money on one trip that most make in a life time in jamaica, well you get the picture. Have fun and as i say if you are unsure what to do, stay within site of the ship and you should be fine.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 05:45 AM
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kelzbelz77, you said that drugs are legal there and also that some people got arrested for buying pot from undercovers. Why were they arrested if drugs are legal? This is NOT critics from me to you, I´m just curious what happened!

We have been i Ocho Rios, took a tour called "Mountain to see bicycle", and saw nothing to worry about. We didn´t spent much time in Ocho Rios so maybe we "missed" the bad things because of that!
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Marijuana is illegal to use, possess or export in Jamaica. But, not illegal to grow. It's kind of a catch-22.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Girl
Marijuana is illegal to use, possess or export in Jamaica. But, not illegal to grow. It's kind of a catch-22.
not only that but its been a running "trap" to have a guy sell you drugs and turn around to get busted. They fine the whowho out of tourists or threaten you with jamaican jails (you'd pay what ever you had to to avoid that wouldnt you?) then you miss your ship and have to fly to next port, if your lucky to get out of the bust. I just think its so stupid people think they can get away with stuff like that...i'd NEVER (even when i was 20 lol) risk buying pot from some random guy on the street in jamaica...can you imagine what the inside of thier jail looks like???!!!!
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 04:38 PM
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we enjoyed ocho rios we took a carnival tour to dunn's river falls
we felt safe at the falls the only part i did't like when we had to go throu
the straw market to get out of dunn's falls a women grab my arm when
wouldt stop at her shop she told me i was rude i speed up my walking to get out even after that bad exprence i still enjoyed ocho rios
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