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cmix 02-18-2007 11:39 PM

My family and I, with kids 7yrs and 5yrs will be in Ocho Rios midMarch, on an 8-hr cruise stop. We'd like the kids to have some time on the beach, have some exposure to the culture, and enjoy some local food. We welcome recommendations! We're with a group of 12 family members. We may not stay together, as there are some age variations in the group. Is it best to hire a couple of local taxis and do a private tour, or are there local tour buses like they do in Alaska? Is Prospect Plantation worth a visit? Is the localfood safe to eat? What are some must tries in terms of food?

kfstanley 02-19-2007 09:24 AM

My husband and I just got back from a cruise with a stop in Ocho Rios. we signed up for the mountian bike tour. My husband is by no means into physical exercise, but he went with me anyway. It was our favorite tour of the cruise. We started by driving up 3,000 feet to the top of a mountian going through local villages, nothing like what you might see down by port. Very clean and beautiful. After we recieved our gear, we desended down the mountian. We visited a local school and even got a tour with the children in the classrooms. Very cool, We stopped by a local tavern for free beverages and local food.Very tasty!! After several stops to rest and get photos we were taken to a beautiful cove to swim and snorkel. Overall, it was nothing liked I expected. It was so much more!!
This is not for young kids however, teens and adults only.

Ry64 02-19-2007 02:53 PM

It might be hard for the little ones but Dunns River Falls is fun. Margarita ville is also a nice place to visit. Ocho Rios is a nice port and I think you will have fun.

rescue911chick 02-23-2007 06:34 PM

My 4 kids, ages 8, 10, 12 & 15 did the climb in Dunns River Falls and LOVED it!! I couldn't climb in the water so I went up along side of the falls. And there are places you can get out if it's too much for the kids. I posted a review of what I did on that stop, I'll try to locate it and repost it. Our tour guide was AMAZING!!

rescue911chick 02-23-2007 06:49 PM

Here's the part I posted about Jamaica:


Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Write this down: That is the way you contact the best tour guide I've ever met. Thanks again to I found him. A single mom with 4 kids alone in a country where I read a lot of reviews saying "don't go by yourself" I was a little nervous about this port of call. He only charges $55 per adult and $42 per child for a scenic tour where you get a good view of the ship from the mountain, the fern gully/rain forest, Dunn's River Falls and Tubing. We didn't do the tubing part so it was $100 total less for the 5 of us. He took us to Dunn's River Falls first and walked us all the way in to the point where we meet our guides. I chose to walk along the side of the falls but all 4 of my kids walked up the falls IN the water. They have two guides and one photographer/videographer. Everyone joins hands and they have you walk up like a chain. I wasn't sure I liked this, but it seemed to work well. (They said they scrub the rocks every day so they don't get slimy where they tell you to walk) They took photos all the way up and a really good video that I bought. ($40 for the DVD & yes it works fine) I got tons of great photos from my vantage points as well. This took most of 2 hours. I dreaded getting through the craft area because I read all of those reviews too, I just kept my head down and said No thank you over & over. Only one got nasty towards me because I didn't miss a beat or even slow down. And one stopped my 8 year old daughter and put a bracelet on her wrist. He said he didn't want money, just wanted us to spread the word about him. Of course he asked if I had a donation to give him and I said nope he took the bracelet right off of her arm. Off we went haha! I had warned my kids of this before we went through and told them not to stop for anything. I also told them not to give their names because I read about how they start carving your name into stuff so you feel obligated to buy them.

Next we went up the mountain to look down on the ships and it was a beautiful view, and then we headed to the fern gully. He gave such wonderful information and he quizzed my daughter (who he let sit in the front seat next to him because this tour was just the 5 of us too) throughout the tour. As you enter the rain forest/fern gully be prepared to see some obscene "statues" carved out of wood. My 12 & 15 year old caught sight of them and their giggles made it really hard for me not to laugh. Just make sure if you have little ones you remember to have them close their eyes as you enter. Once we were out of the fern gully he pulled over to a roadside stand and had a guy chop up some sugar cane & cocoanuts for us. He showed the kids how to get the sweet stuff out of the cane & then let them drink cocoanut water and eat fresh cocoanut. Pretty neat of him to do that.

Then we went back down, he showed us around some middle class neighborhoods, stopped at a few points of interest and wound up at TajMahal where I wanted to do some shopping. He actually WAITED for us for over an hour while we shopped and my daughter got half of her hair braided. My 15 year old learned that you can drink at 18 in Jamaica so he scammed a few samples of liquor while her hair we getting done. Nothing to freak out over, but if you don't want your teen to drink make sure he/she doesn't go off alone even in that secure little complex. My teen was also offered pot 4 different times but politely declined and they left him alone. I was able to keep an eye on him the whole time we were in the braid shack because the shack is in the middle and all of the shops face it.

Like I said, this was the best port of our whole trip. And to see my 4 kids get along, laugh and work hard TOGETHER getting up those falls was PRICELESS. I never worried about their safety (OR my own) the entire time we were in Jamaica. If you book with Trevor learn this and see what he has to say: (I'm spelling phonetically because I have no clue!!) rain-a-fall n dirt-i-tuff It's a proverb he taught my 8 yr old that means the rain is falling and the Earth is tough. A woman who works the 1 hour photo at our WalMart is Jamaican (she told us when she saw Ashlynn's braids) and when Ashlynn told her the proverb she was impressed.

spoheat 02-25-2007 01:33 PM

We did Dunn's River falls when our daughter was 8 (at 13 she weighs only 72 lbs., so she probably was the size of a typical 5 year old) and she did fine. We were there to help her, and the guides all seem very friendly and to like children (this has been our experience with all the tours we have taken on Jamaica with our kids). we did the white River tubing (you see a bit of countryside driving up to where it starts, as well as along the river, pass a school and some homes, etc.) and our little gal had a guide to herself, never got hung up or stuck and always felt really safe. We have also done horseback ride through a place called Hooves (booked through and had a guide for the four of us, amazingly tame horses (perfect for our little girl again) and even swam them in the ocean. You get a break on that ride to try some fried plantains and juice and play in the water. You see the jungle and a plantation where the ride starts--probably my kids favorite shoretour in Jamaica. Also you don't tender at that port--you can easily do an excursion and still have time to take a cab around to shop or have a private tour as well.

cmix 03-10-2007 01:32 AM

Thank you all so much for your responses and helpful info. I'm wondering how safe it is to eat the local food. My doctor has warned us not to eat any local food. What are your comments and recommendations? Rescue911chick mentioned being offered sugar cane juice. I think that would be so neat for my kids to try! What do you all think?

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