I think every place we visit, every new country, every new land, every new culture, and every new people are all an experience all their own. Jamaica did not dissapoint! Walking out of our cruise ship, we were met with a warm, gentle breeze causing the coconut trees to dance and sway every which way almost looking like it was waving us into Jamaica. We really didn't have any plans as to what we were going to do on this island, so we let faith decide for us. At this time, we befriended a college student from Florida who was introduced to us by her grandfather who felt bad taking her on the cruise because she was the only one in their family that was still young. So, we decided to hang out with her in Jamaica and in the process of figuring out what we wanted to do during our short stay, she recommended touring Dunns Falls which she heard her family talking about doing.
Caught drying my face, but the waterfall view is perfect.
So, we went with it. We hired a taxi van to take us to the falls and then bring us to the shopping center afterwards. The falls cost $10 to get into, but it was well worth it! We needed water shoes to climb because it was slippery, but our taxi stopped by the side of the road who rented them for $10, but you get $5 back when you returned the shoes. The falls was an amazing site to see, the water was cold at first, but once you acclimate to the temperature, then it felt refreshing. We began the climb on the bottom, right by the beach where fresh water met salt water. We started out by holding hands as to prevent from falling, the line of people holding hands got pretty long since it was crowded with other tourists, but after a while my friends and I decided to do our own climb which our guides actually allowed us to do.
Red Stripe beer, it's only good in Jamaica!
We come to find out that the rocks throughout the falls were scrubbed daily to prevent moss and algae from growing on them so that they won't be too slippery. We took our time climbing the waterfalls, stopping here and there to enjoy the view or just sit under one of the many waterfalls big and small alike. It was actually very relaxing. I would compare sitting under one of the waterfalls as getting a great massage on your head, shoulder, and back. Each group consisted of several locals acting either as guides, video cameraman, or someone who will hold your camera for you and take pictures of you and your group as you traverse the falls which was handy because you never have to worry about getting your personal camera wet and still have pictures to remember the experience.
You can also purchase a video of your climb at the end, but I think you digitals pictures are fine because the videos can get very expensive! At the end as you walk back to the taxi stands, there are small shops where you can buy Jamaican souvenirs, but they can be very pushy.
Our next stop after the falls was the duty free shopping center. True to its claim "duty free," however the items were very expensive. We really didn't get much except a red stripe for each of us costing about $3 each, cigars to have on the last day of the cruise and maybe a couple of shot glasses. At this point we were very hungry, so it was only natural to want to try jerk chicken. After asking the locals, they recommended this small restaurant kind off the beaten path.
A Jamaican visit is not complete without taking home some Jamaican rum...the selection is dizzying!
I think it was called the chicken house (I think), we finally found it after crossing the streets several times and asking countless locals, but it was well worth it!! This find was definitely a diamond in the rough and most likely known only to locals unless you ask. The chicken was crispy on the outside with all it's amazing spices and moist in the inside, add rice with beans then your in someplace short of heaven!
This is also where we met our new friends parents who happened to have rented a taxi van for the day and she offered to take us on a tour of Ochos Rios. The friendly taxi driver tooks us to the ferngully, which was a road that went through this very thick jungle. It was so thick that the sun barely penetrated the foliage.
One last picture in Jamaica before we leave!
Surprisingly, the road had some small shops selling souvenirs and this one man lived in a cave right by the side of the road. It was an amazing experience, but a bit disorienting because the jungle was so thick and full of giant spiders! We then asked to be dropped off downtown again to finish our souvenir shopping.
Rum was our main goal to enjoy and relived our visit to Jamaica once we get home. We found a small shop selling souvenirs and of course alcohol. They also had samples of their strongest rum and to no surprise a couple of my friends got wasted from the samples. Partly their fault and partly the vendors because they kept pouring them (I think it was their way to taking advantage of customers...by getting them drunk so they buy from their store) and it worked. We left there with all the souvenirs we ever needed and probably more and not to mention a few bottles of Jamaican rum, only which one made it back to Salt Lake City...half finished!
But like every good things it eventually comes to an end such was our adventure in Jamaica. Land of reggae, rastafarians, jerk chicken, and Bob Marley!