Our First Trip to Jamaica, Day Two

Published on 09.16.12

Rather than sit around at the resort the whole day we decided to take a tour. The first one was to Dunns River Falls. Pretty much everyone says you have to go here - it’s a beautiful waterfall that you actually “climb” up with about 30 other people holding hands. And it was certainly beautiful. But let’s backup a minute.

We crashed the night before pretty early because the tour to the falls left at like 8:00 the next morning. Hey what happened to “vacation?” Nah, it was fine. Especially after the amazing breakfast buffet down by the beach. No complaints there.

So we get on the bus with a few other couples and the guy behind us says, “I would have thought you two would have come to the Bob Marley tour yesterday!” I look around because 1. That’s a really bizarre way to start a conversation and 2. what does that even mean?

Apparently it means we look like we like the types who dig rasta and weed. I don’t know - between my headful of hair and Ashley’s dreads I guess I could see his point. Fair warning - if you go on the Bob Marley tour some crazy stuff will go down behind closed doors. We didn’t ask specifics and they didn’t tell. Moving on!

The Dunns River Falls trip was our baptism by fire into our first “where did all my money go?” escapade. When we looked online before we left we saw that a tour was $15 each. That’s way cheap! But when we went to schedule the tour from the resort, it was magically $40 each. Now, I understand there’s a bus and coordination involved so that’s fine - though more than double’s a little steep.

We got there and were firmly instructed to be back at 1:00. “I’ll give you 10 minutes and then you have to find your own way back,” says the bus driver. Dang. We’ll be back at 1:00 then.

The first thing that happens is we’re told we can’t bring our bag and we have to rent a locker. That’s kind of annoying - but thankfully we can share and the “hey, you look like weed-smokers” couple shares one with us. We’re also told we can’t bring cameras because they’ll get wet, and even if we have a waterproof one we should give it to the camera guy because he’ll be able to take better pictures of us (and want a tip later).

I opted to sneak our waterproof camera into my pocket (muwahahaha), but they were right. Most of our shots were foggy and blurry. And if we had brought the backpack with our phones they would have been destroyed.

The climb itself was just fantastic and we had so much fun. Definitely recommended for the falls part. Not so much of what came next, though.

As we headed back up, all the guides kept asking for tips. Hey, you know - $5 here, $5 there and this trip is getting more expensive than we were planning. I keep remembering the living conditions I’ve seen, though and try my best to help them out.

And then we had to go through the arts and craft area. You can’t get out of the Falls without going through it. Now, on the website it made it sound like some kind of amazing tourist destination - like a mini mall full of authentic Jamaican craftsmen. It was actually what I’d like to call Loseyourmonyesville.

I am not one to be easily taken - I’m extremely skeptical of just about anything, but these guys were good. They’d latch on to you, compliment everything about you, compliment your wife and then give you a “free gift.” I learned quickly that this was just a way for them to continue the conversation, ask your name and start carving it in stuff. I’m not kidding.

In fact, I had a free carving shoved in my hand when I wasn’t even looking. Make sure you keep your hands in your pockets :)

Suffice to say, we ended up buying some souveniers - and getting close to our pickup time. We used that as an easy out as best we could, but as we walked up the ramp to the parking lot we were greeted by more tricksters. “You’re late, they already left!” one guy says to us. I’m in full on attack mode now and snappily reply, “No we’re not,” and keep walking. Thankfully we found our crew, but had to wait for at least 30 minutes. During which we were approached 5 times by taxi drivers to take us back.

Saying no so many times was getting a bit exhausting so we were very glad to get back to the resort, grab a late lunch and get some sun before dinner. We got to video chat with the kids that night and it seemed like they had each gotten a year older. Crazy.

We turned in early again that night because Wednesday was a big day - We were going to drop off our adoption papers in Montego Bay and head up to the Robin’s Nest to meet some amazing kids.

And we’ll tell you all about it next time!

(Sorry for the lack of pictures - they’re on the cheap waterproof camera and not digital).