The island of Jamaica is situated south of Cuba, east of the Grand
Cayman and west of Haiti. It is about 230 km (140 mi) east/west and 80 km
(50 mi) north/south. The country has a population of just under 3 million
with one third of the people living in the capital of Kingston. The Arawak and Taino inhabited the island prior to Christopher Columbus claiming it for Spain in 1494.
The British took it over in 1655 and it gained independence in 1962, while
remaining part of the British Commonwealth. Today Jamaica is best known
for reggae and Bob Marley. It also has been high profile at the Olympics
with its abundance of short distance runners, such as Usain Bolt. The
fabulous beaches and warm temperatures are what attract tourists. Montego
Bay is the common entry point by air. The cruise industry makes regular
stops to Jamaica at Falmouth and Ocho Rios, usually as part of Western Caribbean
Jamaica experiences a typical Caribbean climate. The dry season
extends from November to April, while the rest of the year is subject to
heavier rainfall. Winter has average highs that are about 30 C
(85 F) and average lows at comfortable room temperate. Summers are
only a couple of degrees warmer than winter. Like its neighbors of
Haiti and Cuba, it is directly in the path of the Caribbean hurricane
season in September and October.
Attractions in Ocho Rios:
Things to see and do:
You can purchase independent tours at the cruise port in
Ocho Rios. The combination of Mystic Mountain and Dunn's River
Falls is our top recommendation. It includes transportation
between the sites and the cruise terminal. It also includes the
aerial tram to get to Mystic Mountain. Pricing options for Mystic
Mountain include the famous bobsled run and a zip line. We found
the cruise ship excurision prices to be competitive for these two venues
and recommend booking directly with your ship.
Dunn's River Falls
River Falls - Climb up the 600 foot falls or walk the entire route beside the
river. For those doing the climb, be prepared for swift running
cool waters that are sometimes waist deep. You can buy or rent
water shoes and there are rental lockers for possessions that aren't
water proof. A guide takes groups up in the falls for about half
hour from the spot where the Dunn's River enters the Caribbean.
For those walking along side the falls, there are several spots where
stairs allow you to enter the water and you can also walk on the beach
at the end of the Dunn's River. Those who walk on the path get the
opportunity to see the falls without tourists, as there are gaps between
the climbing tour groups. Those who climb in the falls get a refreshing
experience shaded by the rainforest. Highly recommended
regardless of which option you choose.
Adventures Mystic Mountain - Ride the famous Jamaican Bobsled Run
inspired by the 1993 movie Cool Runnings, plus an aerial
tram, zip line, waterslide, restaurant, a small no charge butterfly garden and a
small no charge hummingbird
garden. The bobsled run is the highlight of this experience.
The bobsleds are single person cars with a driver controlled hand
brake. Veterans don't use the hand brake at all. Two
bobsleds can easily be joined together by staff. The circuit
is really a roller coaster track. The run descends 1,000 meters
(0.6 miles) and is gravity driven. After travelling down and
reaching speeds up to 60 kph (40 mph), the ride continues at a more
leisurely pace as the bobsled is pulled all the way back up the hill
with you in it.
Dunn's River Falls meets the Caribbean
Plantation - The plantation is operated by Dolphin Cove. See bananas, cassava, sugarcane, coffee, allspice,ostriches,
birds, the Great House, plus ride a camel.