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Old August 22nd, 2004, 07:19 PM
ld ld is offline
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Default Dunn's river falls

Hey all, i need some advice. I have heard how dangerous the falls are and more so the venders. I am planning a cruise on VOS in March with my 64y.o mother and 11y.o. son. We were planning to do the excursion with RCCL to the falls but am having seconds thoughts after reading some of the messages from this board. Do you think it will be safe for two women and a boy to do this excursion. Thank you in advance for all your feedback.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Dunn's River falls was very nice, but I had a hard time with the climb in some spots. I stayed near the front and was behind the guide, but still hurt my ankle. It is quite slippery and some rocks are pointed. If you plan to do the falls, stay toward the front and watch the guide. Hold on to your 11 year old's hand. The guides themselves are quite aggressive with getting their tips at at the end.

As for the vendors, we walked quickly through and they were quite aggressive. One said to me that that I wouldn't buy his wares because he was "black" and other assorted choice words. I just grabbed my son and walked through and didn't accept any of their "free" necklaces. Someone on the other board said you should walk in the "entrance" instead of the "exit" when leaving.

The falls were nice and shouldn't be missed, but I doubt I'll be doing it again.



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Old August 22nd, 2004, 09:47 PM
R.J Strong
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

The pictures you see of the falls make one believe that he/she will be taking a slow almost peaceful climb up the falls. That really isn't the case though. You will be met by a native who will escort you up the fall where a hundre others are snaking up the falls one right after the other. There is never time to truly enjoy the beauty of the falls simply because the escorts are in such a hurry to take a new group up so that they can collect more tips. They truly come to each person after the climb is finished and put their hands out to you for their tip and then run to start a new group. The situation with the vendors was actually pretty scary to me and I'm an adult. You are allowed only one way of exit from the falls area and that is through the narrow walks between the vendors. It's almost like a maze. They reach out to you, touch you, and try to tug you inside to buy their goods. When you ignore them, you can tell they are not speaking kindly about you. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't do the falls excursion again simply because it was really not worth spending the entire day and the experience wasn't what we thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, this is not a sour grapes reponse. We enjoyed it because it was different, but there were other things to do that would probably have been a lot better that day. AND..... the way we were herded through it left a great deal to be desired.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 08:57 AM
Dow Dow
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We did not do the falls because of all the bad press and things we heard from others. We did the River intertubing float excursion. It was great. Book through the ship. Get off the ship and right onto the vans. About a 30 min. ride into the mountains on ONE LANE TWO WAY roads is a hoot. Then you get into large intertubes with flat bottoms, are given a paddle and start your flaot. The water is cool and the scenery is fabulous. You wont regret it. Plenty of lifeguards and you have to wear a vest. Bring some cash to buy the jerk chicken at the end or souveneers or pictures of you going through the rapids, small ones don't worry. It is a relaxing and fun time. We had older people and young kids. There is a rope swing at the village where you end. A GREAT time. After we returned to the ship I spoke to several people who had been hurt at the falls. Gald we didn't do ti. Wish I was going with you. Buy several waterprood camaras from Wallmart for $ 7.88. They cost from $ 25 to 45 in the islands for the exact same ones.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

We're booked for Dunn's River Falls through a-zjamaicaplanners.com for the very reasons listed above. Apparently the ship's tour is very crowded. Private tours go earlier in the day when it is less crowded and can be enjoyed. They will also steer you away from the aggressive vendors at the end if you let them know you're concerned.

I think you will have a wonderful time if you book through a private tour group. I can let you know more later this year--our tour is booked for November 1, 2004.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Search this site for Peat Taylor (or google search) if you would like a good excursion from Ochi that includes Dunns (fee is $30/person). He will stay with you all day. His company is actually quite large and very well run.

In my opinion, Dunns is not to be missed. It is one of the highlights on the western itineraries. The climb up the falls is not "a walk in the park", however neither is it a deathmarch. Just be careful at all times. There are deep parts, pockets, slippery rocks (wear deck shoes), etc. I'm not sure that I would recommend holding anyone's hands. This tends to make you off balance. I would just let you 11 year old go in front of you, go slow, and stay close. I would not advise your 64 year old mother to attempt it. You also don't need a local guide up the falls. They will try to get you to tip them for their time. Even if you use a guide, you only need to tip a few dollars. I've done it both ways. If you don't want a guide, just give them a firm No. For your first trip, I would use the guide just so you are at ease.

To avoid the vendors in the straw market, just go back out of the entrance. Someone may try to tell you that you can't go out that way, but just keep walking. They won't stop you. In general, be polite, but also be firm. I've found that if I politely but firmly tell them no then they will not continuing hassling me, but the next vendor will. Also, drugs are everywhere on Jamaica, and you will be approached if you are out on your own. This is why I encourage folks to take a ship's tour or use Peat Taylor. I've personally put at least 30 people in Peat's care, and he has yet to disappoint us.

Hope this helps, and I hope you do the falls. I've been to the Caribbean numerous times, and this is one of the highlights to me.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 12:08 PM
browezilla
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Search this site for Peat Taylor (or google search) if you would like a good excursion from Ochi that includes Dunns (fee is $30/person). He will stay with you all day. His company is actually quite large and very well run.

In my opinion, Dunns is not to be missed. It is one of the highlights on the western itineraries. The climb up the falls is not "a walk in the park", however neither is it a deathmarch. Just be careful at all times. There are deep parts, pockets, slippery rocks (wear deck shoes), etc. I'm not sure that I would recommend holding anyone's hands. This tends to make you off balance. I would just let you 11 year old go in front of you, go slow, and stay close. I would not advise your 64 year old mother to attempt it. You also don't need a local guide up the falls. They will try to get you to tip them for their time. Even if you use a guide, you only need to tip a few dollars. I've done it both ways. If you don't want a guide, just give them a firm No. For your first trip, I would use the guide just so you are at ease.

To avoid the vendors in the straw market, just go back out of the entrance. Someone may try to tell you that you can't go out that way, but just keep walking. They won't stop you. In general, be polite, but also be firm. I've found that if I politely but firmly tell them no then they will not continuing hassling me, but the next vendor will. Also, drugs are everywhere on Jamaica, and you will be approached if you are out on your own. This is why I encourage folks to take a ship's tour or use Peat Taylor. I've personally put at least 30 people in Peat's care, and he has yet to disappoint us.

Hope this helps, and I hope you do the falls. I've been to the Caribbean numerous times, and this is one of the highlights to me.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Thank you all for your advice. i will check into P.C. It is the second cruise for my son and i and we raved so much that my mother (first timer) is willing to give it a try. I just want to make sure she has the best experience possible.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

HI. MY MOTHER AND I DID THE DUNNS RIVER FALLS EXCURSION LAST YEAR . IN FACT WE HAD SUCH A GOOD TIME THAT WE ARE DOING THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN AGAIN THIS YEAR. THERE ARE SOME SPOTS IN WHICH THE CLIMB IS VERY TOUGH, I DO NOT RECOMEND THAT YOU MOTHER PARTAKE IN THE WHOLE CLIMB BUT WHAT MOST PEOPLE FORGET TO MENTION IS THAT THERE ARE MANY, AND I MEAN MANY OUTLETS ABOUT EVERY 20 FEET ALONG THE CLIMB, THEY ARE SMALL STAIRCASES, ABOUT 7 STEPS IN WHECH LEAD YOU RIGHT OUT OF THE WATER FALL AND ALONG TO THE PATH THAT RUNS ALONG THE FALL. I RECOMEND THAT YOU JUST TAKE A CAB THERE AND ENTER AND EXIT THE FALL AS YOU PLEASE. ALSO I AM 18 YEARS OLD AND IT WAS JUST MY MOTHER AND I AND AT NO TIME AT ALL DID WE FEEL UNSAFE OR THREATEND, ACUALLY OUR TOURGUIDE OR VENDOR LEFT US CLIMBING THE WATERFALL AND I ENDED UP LEADING THE WHOLE GROUP MYSELF. SO GOOD LUCK WITH THAT AND FEEL FREE TO E-MAIL ME BACK WITH ANY QUESTIONS.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

I also recommend getting a guide on your own. We are using Peat Taylor and he will take you to the Falls, White River Tubing and anything else you would like to do. He will do the tour for $30 per person ($20.00 extra for the tubing). He will make sure you are not hassled by the vendors and take you out the entrance. He can be reached at this email address oneiltay@cwjamaica.com he is very good to work with. The Falls are beautiful and a great thing to say you did. As mentioned above there are outlets to get out at if you are finding it too difficult and can then climb the stairs outside the falls. Peat will customize a tour to your liking. Everything included you will be done in about 4 1/2 hours or so. Just in time for lunch.

Good luck.

This is from Peat's email.....

I will refer to the Ocho Rios itinerary and make to necessary arrangements, should this package be accepted. The tour consists of:

1. A visit to the Renown Dunnís River Falls 2 1/2 hrs.
2. Highlighted Shopping Tours (optional.)
3. White River tubing US$20.00 per person
4. Wassi Art Pottry Factory (new attraction at no extra cost)
5. A visit to Fern Gully, a picturesque location with various species of ferns.
6. A visit to the Jamaican neighborhood.
7. Optional visit to the beach of your choice, or other location of interest in Ocho Rios.
Tour will last approximately 41/2 hrs.
This package will cost US$30.00 per adult and US$20.00 for children under (12) years*** (Cost includes admission to Dunnís river Falls) No charge for children under three (3) years old. You can pay in Cash or Travelers Cheque on completion of the tour.
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Old August 26th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Your 11 year old will love it. I wouldnt worry about him at all. Put your mother near a male willing to help if she needs it and you will be fine. I know my grandmother would beat me up the thing if we raced but everyones athletic talents are different.....
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Old August 26th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Slipped in a hole and broke a toe, the guide was rude, the vendors were agressive. Skip the falls if you ask me. JImbo
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Old August 26th, 2004, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

The falls do require caution, but I would go to them. There are places where it is easy, and this lulls people out of their caution. I've known a lot of people that have gone up it safely, but I also know 2 fairly atheletic guys that were hurt on it. On required medical attention and the other didn't.

In a nutshell, the falls are fun, but you need to be cautious at all times...and as another stated, there are many places along the falls to exit and re-enter if portions of it are to intimidating.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Here's another option. My 13 year old daughter, my mother, and I did the Dunn's Falls and the Dolphin Swim. My mother walked along side the falls on the walkway and she loved watching my daughter and I tackle the falls. At many points we could see her and she took pictures of us. Yes the falls are a challenge, but all the boys we saw had a blast and loved it. Make sure you bring an underwater camera and your guides will take lots of photos for you. Of course they want tips, so what...I tipped the lead guide $5 and the guide that took our photos $5 - what's the problem ... seems like everyone is complaining about tipping these POOR people a few bucks.

Anyway, we also did the Dolphin Swim at Dolphin Cove and LOVED it. My daughter said it was the best thing on our entire vacation. Spend the extra money and swim with the dolphins, don't do just the dolphin touch. Everyone that purchased only the "touch" was wishing they had purchased the "encounter" experience. They take a really nice picture of you and your dolphin and a video - availabe at the shop later. It was so much fun.

Peat Tours won't do Dolphin Cove because they can not get any tickets since the cruise lines book all the tickets for Dolphin Cove. You don't have to know how to swim, you wear life vests and your mother would really enjoy it.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 01:04 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

In general I don't think people mind tipping if a service has been requested and rendered. In some cases though, their services are pushed open you as if you don't have a choice, or they treat you poorly if you don't take advantage of their service. At Dunn's falls, it is optional to use a guide or not.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 04:09 PM
Rie
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

I didn't go on the falls. Wish I had. My roommate did and she wore sandals. Big mistake. She cut her feet. She is not what you would call athletic and she did okay. If you go wear water shoes or old sneakers. As far as your 64 yr old mom goes. I have been out hiked and walked by women much older than her.
You have to toughen up to the vendors. They are on lots of the islands. Smile and a firm no should be enough. "It's no problem man!"
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Old August 27th, 2004, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Thank you all for the much needed advice. My mind is more at ease now. I am considering doing the Dolphin experience and the Falls. Can i book first thing when i get on the ship or should i book ahead of time? Thank you.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

ID- I would book the dolphin cove swim ahead of time as it was virtually sold out by the time we boarded the Enchantment. We booked a couple of months ahead on RCCL's site and did not regret it.

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Old August 29th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: Dunn's river falls

Do the Falls. It was fun and unreal. A bit challenging, but that's what made it fun. It's not a 'ride', you have to do it. AND you CAN leave thru the entrance, it's right there in plain view and no one will stop you. You have to bear right to go thru the vendors, following the exit signs. If you go thru the vendors, as we did, just say no thanks and it was no problem.
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