One Day in Ocho Rios

Mar 23rd, 2005, 11:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
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One Day in Ocho Rios

Hello, We are going on the Carribbean Princess in July and have only one day in Ocho Rios. We don't like touristy stuff to much. Want to get the feel of the place in a short time. Does anybody have any suggestions? Thank You!
JRtarrant is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 12:48 PM
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It's touristy to me ,JRtarrant. This is a hard one. I would get Peat Taylor as a guide to take you around to either Dunn's Falls (it's really not very large and very crowded) or to some other location with him. There is lots and lots of tipping and solicitation for tipping in Jamaica, whether you do the Princess tour or the private tours. If you go with Peat, there will be less. He has a web page you can make arrangements on, if you are interested. Our Princess ship last Feb. was supposed to go to Ocho Rios, and ended up in Montego Bay on a totally different day (ship's order of ports was reversed)- so I missed Peat and went on the river raft (2 people with 1 Jamaican poler) and I would do that again- as you saw Jamaican banana plantations, coconut harvesting etc. and also the topography. But Peat's web page has some choices.

Have a great time, and hope your cruise isn't rerouted and turned about so you can do what you have scheduled.
JJ5 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Been to Dunn's River Falls several times. It's a wonderful experience. I would suggest that you not do this if you have any back problems; which I now have and wouldn't want to take a chance. Some of the rocks can still be slippery even with holding hands.
cop513 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2005, 09:08 AM
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We were in Ocho Rios last Febraury and could not walk one block without being offered drugs. My wife and I are in our late 60's and are certainly not druggies. We were scared and joined in with a group of other seniors for safety.
bobrad is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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Yes, they (2 different, one girl, one guy) actually came out into the middle of the river wading to try and sell us "necklaces" and then asked if we wanted pot. It's just not a place I will care to return to.
JJ5 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 04:56 AM
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I can also recommend Peat Taylor for a tour. He took us to Dunn River Falls where a tour guide who works there took us up the Falls. We all held hands and he told us where to step. He also held our camera's and took pictures. It was a blast! (must wear sand shoes for traction)
Peat returned and our tour with him continued into the beautiful rain forest. We then stopped at a outside roadside bar for rum drinks and jerk chicken. I trusted Peat and felt the food was safe.
cd is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 04:59 PM
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I always say half jokingly that if I ever return to Ocho Rios on a cruise, I'm just going to stay on the ship by the pool.
NYGiants27 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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I agree NYGiants27. Maybe a good day to enjoy the spa. Watch out for the shops after Dunn's river falls. It's deliberately a maze so you get stuck in shopping hell.
roofgirl is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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I was in Jamaica for a week last year, and Ocho Rios was definitely the low point. I'd find an excursion that takes you out of the town, or take NY's suggestion and stay on the boat! We loved horseback riding at Chukka Cove. Not fancy, but the scenery is lovely and the guides are great. "Swimming" your horse in the ocean is really fun! Dunns River Falls is lovely, but can be quite crowded--you might end up dragging small children you've never met before up the waterfall, as we did! Ocho Rios is crowded and touristy, especially when multiple ships are in port. The shopping is overrated. We were warned not to go into the open air "craft markets" -- we did anyway, and encountered the only hostile Jamaicans we met on our trip. It was scary.
travcat is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 09:38 PM
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Very interesting impressions of Ocho Rios. We haven't been there for probably 20 years (also on a cruise--Royal Caribbean's Song of Norway) and nothing seems to have changed, except perhaps for the worst.

Dunns River Falls is very beautiful. We didn't climb the falls, but instead walked the steps down to the sea and enjoyed that a lot. I also remember going to Shaw Park Gardens, which were lovely, but perhaps that's no longer a place to go.

I had my hair braided in the bazaar/market and there were some hostile vendors, who seemed to warm up when talking to them. We were not approached with drugs, but lots of people trying to sell us things, who were less than pleased when we turned them down. It's a shame because it is such a beautiful island.
Giovanna is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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There was quite a bit of storm damage from Ivan when I was there. People who had seen it before said the trees/ vegetation was not at all what it had been.

We actually had what I would call "contained hostility" at nearly every stop (guide drove a 3-stop tour minibus) we made in Jamaica. It was something I have never experienced so pervasively in traveling to other countries- that's how visible and obvious it was. Our guide for a banana plantation (only about 10 in our group) was a young girl around 20 who actually said several times during the tour that "we" (the American tourists) think that "we" are better than Jamaicans etc. etc. So many generalized comments and laugh "at us" jokes (not with us) that the elderly couple actually got a little scared, I think.

The strangest thing was the constant smile coupled with almost the opposite in words. Most of our stay was in Montego Bay, and the shopping area was a maze and the bus was placed so that you couldn't "get back" to or wait in it. This port was not relaxing, and to me because of the damage to the environment/ buildings coupled with the remarks, it was almost creepy.

We were solicited for tips at least 15 to 20 times in a 10 hour period. We tipped a total of $22 for things we DID do, but were chided a few times for not tipping. One time the poler of the raft told my guy that he should give him $20 so that his brother didn't have to pull the raft back. And he had his 14 year old brother show up at the next bend to emphasize the point. It never stopped.
JJ5 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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Try posting your question under the caribbean forum. There are some people who frequent that forum who travel to Jamaica a lot. They may have more info. to offer. I've heard many good things about Negril beaches. Maybe that's not too far from Ocho Rios.
roofgirl is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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Actually Negril may be pretty far from OR. Both are two hrs. from Mo Bay and in divergent directions. Not sure if there is an inland route. The times described refer to coastal roads. Dunns Rivers falls is touristy but OTOH I have never found anyone who ever disliked it. We have been to OR three times for land vacations and enjoyed everyone of them. As for the street vendors we just politely say no, look ahead or past them and go about our business. It always seemed to work and I don't recall that many of them. Hopefully things are still that way. Irie mon.
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 16th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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Shaw Park is a wonderfully beautiful place togo. We still use a picture we took of the waterfall there 2 years ago as the wallpaper on our laptop. And Dunn's River Falls was a lot of fun to climb. Although I preferred to climb it without holding hands which the guide wanted us to do. I felt much more secure that way since I could use my hands to climb. Touristy, but enjoyable.
jcasale is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 06:18 AM
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We never had problems in OR or anywhere in Jamaica. Yes, they vendors are aggresive and trying to make a sale. Yes, a smile and some friendly chatting with them makes things lots easier. Remember YOUR attitude is clear to them and too many Americans go in with a very negative attitude based on hear say and reports that have no basis. I nice no thank you goes a long way folks.

I do agree that Jamaica is not for everyone, but if you can have an open mind and be friendly instead of openly negative you just might enjoy it. Otherwise you might be much better off to stay on the ship.
Curt is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 07:40 AM
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I've heard this said before, and it just wasn't true this time in Feb.'05. Our attitudes were more than "open-minded" and I have traveled to many other much less traveled cultures/continents and have been to Jamaica before. This time was different, and I am not going to pretend it didn't happen as it did. It might have been because of the Huricane Ivan situation- but it was like every other Jamaican we meet (and we talked to at least 15 individuals two on one or two on two) was "on their last nerve." We were blocked from getting into some shops by other shopkeepers and it was more than just "aggressive" where a smile etc. would suffice. It was following and following with repeated begging.

We had two individuals (one man, one woman and at different locations) actually wade into the river and touch our raft-stopping it- while the poler had to try to disengage them- while they solicited for pot or necklaces. But the pot question came first.

We were all ages and mostly from the UK, Canada, and a minority of Americans-but only a very few said they would get off the ship if there was a next time. One young family from the UK and a lady with two daughters (about 5 and 6) from Calgary did get back on the ship within an hour or two because of people touching the children's heads etc. And they had to wait for tendors as well, because this was a very crowded Montego Bay port.
JJ5 is offline  

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