We have been there a half-dozen times and have always had a great time and never felt threatened. Others report a differant feeling. MOstly it depends on how you interact with the locals and how much 'respect' you show for them and their country. We have always treated them as we wanted to be treated and have made some great friendships there.
I have seen several reports of violent crime and petty theft against tourists there. The pan handling is very aggressive. The advice I've always been given is to use a reputable excursion operator, and to be extra safe, book through the cruise in case something happens...they'll wait for you.
We have been there 2 times, and if they took it off the itenerary, you would not miss much. It is a very dirty island, with many poor people. THe dock (not the main dosk, but the one by the "factory" is also in bad shape. If you dock here, you have to either take a taxi to town, or walk. If you walk, you will see the worst conditions. However, once in town there is a beautiful new Island Vilage shop area. It is really nice, with nice clean different shops. There is also a place called the Taj Mahal, it is one shop after another with the same stuff, not recomended. Other then that, there is not much more to offer. THe shore excursions are Ok, with Dunn's River being a must sea. However, if you are going to book this, do it through the ship.
One plus is that Jamaice no longer allows "street peddeling" and vendors, so you really do not get hassled that much. However, they are all still sitting on the side of the road.
My opinion, if you have not done the falls, climb them. If you have, stay on the boat and enjoy the piece and quiet as all others go ashore.
Are they any different than other falls
or just falls
I've never been on them and this is my first cruise
I'm a trout fisherman and Ihave see falls and climed them
What is so rewarding about these
is it the view?
Our TA STRONGLY recommended that we stick with the ship excursions and based on what we heard from other passengers, it was good advice. We did the Dunns River Falls excursion and just loved it. It's not the view that's the draw, although it is very wild and scenic as you climb the falls, but it's just SO MUCH FUN!!. It is quite challenging though if you're not in somewhat good shape physically. I saw a few people struggling quite a bit and a few people fall and get some cuts and bruises(probably people who are a little out of shape, lots of people in their 40's and 50's did just fine however, it really depends on whether or not you're used to excercise and have some natural agility). It was quite an amazing experience to actually be climbing a waterfall...it was one of the highlights of the trip.
Other passengers told us they went into town and were constantly hassled and harrassed and wouldn't do it again. I think my TA's advice was the best, stick with the ship excursions. There are lots to choose from other than Dunns River Falls, if that's not your bag. By the way, the Jamaican people that we met on the excursion were all very friendly and helpful so the entire island can't be "painted with the same brush". There are definitely great people there, as everywhere.
I have been to Ocho Rios three times, climbed the falls twice and this cruise we just plan to walk down the street to Island Village and Margaritaville. Last year we booked a tour with Peat Taylor and it was excellent. We got to the falls early, before the cruise ship tour, drove through Fern Gully and went shopping. I didn't feel hassled there by the vendors at all. I thought the "shopping" at Labadee was much more of a contact sport.
Just got back today from Voyager.............climed the Dunn's Falls in Ocho Rios..............would be happy to answer any questions you have. NUMBER 1 RULE! BRING WATER SHOES! If you don't have them, try to buy them onboard in the little shops, if you don't, then plan on wearing those new Nike's in the falls. Another thing, don't plan on being dry when you get out.......the falls guides will literally throw you in the water if you look dry at all.........plus they stop at 5 different points in the falls and want you to sit down in a deep pool of water for a picture..........so there is a minimal amount of hassle there, but definitely do the falls and do it with a shore trip from the cruise line. Also, be prepared to tip them, or have the guts to not, but you will be hassled for it.
E-mail me with any questions.
I stayed there and the people were wonderful! Just be sure that you make sure the taxis are the good ones. Get price up front.
Go to Dunn's falls...best trip I ever took.
If natives bug you just say maybe tomorrow or maybe later and they will leave you alone. Can't waite to go back!!
I am heading to Jamaica in December aboard the Navigator. Although I have been to Ocho Rios before, I am still a little uncomfortable with this port. We enjoyed the hike up the falls, but little else. We are more inclined to go to an all inclusive for the day the next time we visit here. But the qiestion is which one.
We asked a cab to take us to the falls and take us around the island the last time we were there. Our experience wasn't bad, but found oursleves feeling a little uncomfortable walking through flea markets and through the port. I hear things are a little better since our visit a few years ago.
I would love to get input from anyone who spent the day on the beach at a resort on the island near the port. I doubt we will book any shore excursions, but anyone with input would also be much appreciated.
We will be returning to Ocho Rios and I doubt that we will climb the falls again, although it is well worth it if you haven't done it before. We are considering a slow start in the morning and then heading to Island Village and Margaritaville. I have seen a lot of positive feedback on Margaritaville. They have a restaurant, a little beach and it is a short walk from the pier.
Jamaica is suppose to have some really nice beaches. That's why it was, and still is a very popular vacation spot. My question is, has anyone found a nice beach, within a short taxi ride from the pier? We have already been to the Falls. We also have done our share of shopping. We just want to go to a nice beach and relax, maybe have a couple of beers. Also any more info. on Margariettaville would be helpful. Someone mentioned that there is a small beach there. How small?
My wife and i have been to Ocho Rios about 6 times all by cruise ship and which we're going on our 16 cruise in april,so here's my advice to those on there first cruise which stop at Ocho Rios ,if your looking to climb the falls do it with the ship excursions.Heres a site might help you to see the falls http://www.dunnsriverja.com/about_us_link.htm For myself i wouldnt need to get off the ship ,but iif its your first time you should,just stay in a group and watch your surroundings,And for those of you that want an all in-inclusive we have spend the day at Sandels Dunn's river http://www.all-inclusive.com/newsite...splay_palace=N Remeber no kids allowed and i think the fee was $60 .Hope this helps
We were in Ocho Rios on Jan 21 with the Explorer and took an RCI cruise. I wouldn't go on my own. Our first stop was Island Village, which you can walk to from the ship. They took us to the Reggae Museum, which didn't interest me (but it was fun having margaritas in Margaritaville) , an historic home landmark with it's own waterfall (OK). But the highlight of the trip was climbing Dunn's River Falls. We were prepared and brought swimsuits, water shoes, waterproof one-use camera and towels. One couple in our van had no idea they would get wet--CLIMBING A WATERFALL!! Yikes!! They climbed in their street clothes, but rented or bought water shoes at the park. We were made to pose for pics only twice,with the guide using our waterproof camera, which i strapped to my swimsuit. If you bring a regular camera a guide will keep it for you, but he/she is also in the water and I think some cameras got wet anyway.You have to check your video cams--not allowed to use them. If you don't have water shoes wear old sneakers.
It was pretty strenuous, but my bad knee held out for 400 ft. We got out of line at the 2/3 interval gate. When you climb, you hold hands with the people just in front and behind you to push/pull each other up. I'm glad we did it, but it was definitely a ONCE in a lifetime event. My knee will be forever grateful. It finally stopped twinging and creaking a week ago.