The first time around, Bonnie and I both considered Jamaica as our favorite port… However, today was a much different experience.
Despite being on a Cruise Ship, we have really done well to get away from the “tourist traps & shopping malls” at each port. Unfortunately, Jamaica took us hostage today. The day started off rough when our ship pulled into the “B” port in Ocho Rios… The “A” port is to “San Diego” as the “B” port is to “Tijuana”. From there, we headed off to see the Dunn River Falls. Now, as huge and amazing as these cascades are, the Jamaicans have turned the Falls into a huge tourist trap. Upon arrival, you are informed that you will need close toed sandals ($5 to rent, $15 to buy) or else you cannot climb the falls. Next you will need a locker ($8). In addition to that, you will need a guide (who works for tips) and he will video tape your groups climb and then pressure you into buying the DVD at the end. Keep in mind that this is all in addition to the price of admission!
With the costs aside, the management of the Falls had me on edge… We’re talking about climbing up a waterfall! This can be very dangerous stuff. One wrong move and you could break and ankle, lose a tooth, or worse. Unfortunately, there are absolutely no precautions taken. No age restrictions, health restrictions, nothing. I saw overweight Senior Citizens and 3-Year-Old kids making the climb. For me, the worst part about it was that the guides make everyone hold hands while making the climb! On top of that, they rush everyone along so as to get as many people through as possible, stopping only to take additional video footage of all the groups yelling “Hey Mon” and “No problem”. Soooo dangerous. I’m pretty positive this place has no insurance. We didn’t even have to sign a waiver.
Needless to say, Bonnie and I did not take a guide nor did we hold hands while climbing up the rocks! In order to exit from the park, you are forced to go through the Crafts Market where you are once again pressured to buy any and every type of Bob Marley paraphernalia ever made.
At this point, we headed to the Dolphin Cove, where we paid $24 for a buffet that DIDN’T INCLUDE Jerk Chicken!!! The Chicken was extra! And if paying Gringo Tax around every corner weren’t enough, the Jamaicans we encountered this time around really weren’t very nice. Annoyed and aggressive is a more accurate description.
At this point, there was only one thing that could save the day: Ice Cream. So we got the best Ice Cream Waffle Cone that Ocho Rios had to offer ($10 for two cones) and we headed to the ship.
Jamaica is now batting .500 in my book. Sorry, Ricardo.
Until next time,