World-famous Dunn's River Falls and historic St. Ann's Bay are both on the itinerary, but first, in this exclusive excursion, you'll get away from the busy tourist areas and travel up through the rainforest and Fern Gully on your way to Claremont, a rural market center whose economy is based on the price of agricultural produce. Here, you will stop and interact with the locals, and see how they go about their day-to-day living.
From there, follow the winding road that passes through lush cattle farms with elegant great houses perched on hilltops. You will reach Higgin Town, where you will see a beautiful view of the amazing coastline and take unforgettable pictures for memories of the island. Interact with the locals and visit an elementary school (if in session), before heading to St. Ann's Bay.
St. Ann's Bay was the site where Christopher Columbus first came ashore when he "discovered" Jamaica in 1494. However, there is some debate about where he landed, and who was here first. During your visit, you will get a chance to visit the local Farmers Market, interact with the vendors, and taste some of the fruits that are in season.
You will then drive to Dunn's River Falls. The falls drop in a cascade (or steps) from a height of 600 feet down to sea level. They are constantly fed by beautiful crystal-clear water running down from the nearby mountains and rainforest. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to make the entire climb. There are places along the way where you are able to slide down into pools of water, take a swim and climb again. There are local "guides" at the falls who will lead you up. These guides are separate from your tour and will expect a gratuity when you reach the top.
Next, you travel on to Ocho Rios, where you can be let off in town to do some shopping or be dropped back at the cruise pier or your hotel. Guests ending their tour in town are responsible for their transportation back to their hotel or cruise ship.
Please Note: You are not required to climb the falls, but you must navigate several flights of steps to reach a place where you can see a portion of the falls. Although there are changing facilities at the falls, we suggest wearing your swimming suit under comfortable beach clothing. Water shoes can be rented at the falls if you do not have sneakers or your own water shoes. Flip flops are not recommended. Climbing the falls is not recommended to guests with back or hip/knee concerns.
Reviewer: Aaron Meier
If your looking for a small group and personal guided tour. My wife and I has a blast it was just us and the driver. He was willing to stop and let us take pictures anywhere it was safe to. (Side of the road overlooking the bay) He also answered any questions we had. The falls was great. We walked up on our own, not sure why they have guides. Would book with skymiles cruises again for excursions.
This was a unique tour. We are a family of four (children aged 16 and 13) so finding things that keep everyone interested can be a challenge. We like to explore a little off the beaten track and combine the fun, the cultural and special interest in our tours. This one appealed as being a little different from the standard ""tourism"" tours, and that is exactly what it turned out to be. We were picked up from the ship and taken a short drive to a drop off point where multiple tours originated. Quickly and efficiently we were assigned to our group, which turned out to be just the four of us with a driver in a comfortable, air-conditioned taxi. Our driver was excellent - knew the area like the back of his hand, and very informative on local culture, flora and fauna. First stop was on ""spice hill"" where a local Jamaican spent 15-20 minutes telling us about the local fruit and spices with samples of all of them to taste. He told us how they were used in local cooking the highlights were the local spices and to cook jerk chicken - so powerful and fragrant - we couldn't help but purchase some to take home with us. The tour continued through Fern Gully (didn't stop) and then into the Jamaican countryside with explanations and stops to point out items all along the way. Our next full stop was at a local school, catering to 4-11 year olds. The children were all in school, in uniform, but we were greeted by the head teacher who gave us a brief tour through. Fascinating to see all the kids working - and great to see what they were learning (definitely 1-2 years AHEAD of similar levels in a US school). The kids were wonderful and had a few questions for us which we answered - they loved a quick photo and to see the picture of our ship. From there we went on down to Dunn's River Falls, again with stops and information. We stopped wherever we wanted for photo's or just to look closer. Dunn's River is covered in many reviews, so will let you read them for that detail......
Reviewer: Pack-N-Go Joyce
My fellow traveler and I were the only two in our tour group, so it could not have been a more personalized experience. Enjoyed seeing various areas around Ocho Rios as well as meeting residents and learning about their vocations. The smiles and hugs of the beautiful school children were priceless! The falls were crowded but the guides made it fun. Great first experience on this island. Organized, friendly, knowledgeable guide.
Reviewer: Dave the Rave
We were only couple on this excursion and had our own personal wonderful guide in his private luxurious taxi. Took us to off the beaten track plantations and local markets, explaining in detail all about our location, history,etc. everywhere we went from dock to mountain top. Took us into Dunes' Falls park, ducking the hustlers,showed us where to get our Red Stripe once up the falls, waiting patiently for over an hour whilst we checked all out. Then to a shopping plaza, advising which stores to avoid, to buy gifts. A true gentleman and Jamaicam Ambassador!! Thanks Sutton!
The guide and driver were both excellent. We did a small group trip for our wedding party and everyone loved this tour. The trip to the school was great and the kids were so cute. We also went to a coffee plantation and learnt about local spices. Then it was off to Dunns River Falls to climb the falls. Great value and appreciated that the guide was very friendly and helpful with some in the group that could not climb the falls.