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About Barva

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Melfa, Va., USA
  1. Barva

    Ochos Rios Take it Easy Tour A to Z

    I have read nice things about A-Z on this board but have never used them. Our family adores Marva Shaw from [url]www.knowjamaica.com[/url]. She has set tours but she can also tailor the tour to fit your preferences. If you want to take it easy, she can arrange that! Just contact her through her website and let her know what you would like to do. We were just with Marva on Dec. 19 and had an absolutely fabulous day so I do highly recommend her services. Have a great trip!
  2. Barva

    What's wrong with Jamaica?

    I hesitate to add to this very long thread but have decided to put in my two cents' worth. On our first trip to Jamaica, we were not thrilled. DRF were nice but we had a negative experience with the vendors leaving the park. We were not impressed with Dolphin Cove. We were prepared to stay onboard during our second cruise there. Instead, we did our research here on the Jamaica board. Contacted drivers and ended up with Marva Shaw. We ended up loving our experience that time. We just returned from our third time there last Weds., having Marva as our guide. Yes, it is a very poor country BUT it has some wonderful ambassadors amongst the JUTA drivers mentioned frequently on the CC Jamaica board. If you take advantage of their terrific services, you will have a lovely time. Just do your homework before you go. Jamaica is not a stop for a spontaneous jaunt.
  3. Barva

    Tour Guide Recommendations

    We have just returned from the 12/16/07 sailing of the Mariner of the Seas which stopped in Ocho Rios on Wednesday, December 19. We used our favorite driver/guide/and wonderful Jamaican friend, Marva Shaw from http://www.knowjamaica.com. We were with her in July 06 and had a fabulous time with her. We had an even BETTER time last week. She took our family (wife, husband, and 11 yo son) to Dunns River Falls, a tour of the Enchanted Garden Falls and Aviary with Clarence the aviary/grounds keeper, lunch (not on the beach but I am sure she would accomodate your request easily) at a local jerk shack (very yummy), and then tubing on the White River. We also met her son Javia who has recently joined her business along with several other delightful guides and drivers who work with Marva. She has a brand new van which is very comfortable. She is also very protective of her guests. You can leave all of your gear (including cameras, purse, etc...) in her van and she will guard it like a hawk. At Dunns River Falls, I stayed in her van and knit while my dh and ds climbed the Falls. It was an extremely busy day at DRF. The bus/van/JUTA taxi carpark was packed. Lots of other drivers and guides came over to speak to Marva, Javia, and me. Marva is very well-respected among her peers. I was also the subject of fascination because the locals were used to crocheting but not knitting. Everyone wanted to see what I was doing and making (a turquoise boa scarf for Marva). As before, we had a wonderful time river tubing. I could do that for hours. Your family will love it. It is not cheap ($20 USD each plus a tip for your river guide who had to work very hard when dh fell out of the tube but all was fine thanks to Sean's quick work) but well worth it. I hope this helps! Have a great trip! I will post our pictures shortly but haven't had time to upload them to webshots.
  4. Thank goodness for the CC archives. I couldn't remember what we paid for our lunch at the Ranch with Marva but I found the post I wrote last winter with the info in it! We paid $45 USD for 4 of us and we ate way too much. I think that the tip was on top of that but I am not sure. I doubt that you would need over $50 for the 4 of you and that is including tip. We were adventurous and tried all sorts of dishes and Red Stripe beer. Have a great time! We'll be there in December!!! :)
  5. Barva

    Ocho Rios

    We have been to Ocho Rios twice. We did Dunn's River Falls and Dolphin Cove. On our second stop in Ocho, we booked Marva Shaw through knowjamaica.com. We did river-tubing, toured a garden, visited the Enchanted Garden to see its aviary and waterfalls, lunch at a local jerk shack, and shopping. The day was spectacular. I have included the link to our webshots album of that day. Have a great cruise! [url]http://travel.webshots.com/album/552503449pdjGlW[/url]
  6. Barva

    Marva and Javia - Are you okay???

    Cindy - I have been posting on the Stay Safe thread with news about Marva and Javia. I spoke to Marva on Sunday and Monday and she left a voice message yesterday. They are fine and were spared major damage. They have been without power and water since Sunday but should have it back by today or tomorrow. The Freedom was in port yesterday so they were back in business. She sounds very good. She appreciates everyone's thoughts, prayers, and concern.
  7. Barva

    Stay Safe

    Hi all. I missed a calll from Marva Shaw this afternoon but she did leave a nice message. First, she said to tell everyone hello. They still have no power or water but are hanging in there. She so appreciates all the thoughts and prayers sent toward Jamaica. The Freedom was in Ocho today so she said that they were back in business as far as that goes. So, I gather from her post that her parish must not have the water and power but Ocho must if they allowed the Freedom to dock there today. She said that if anyone needs to get in touch with her to call the first number on her website. Otherwise, she will get in touch with you as soon as she has internet access.
  8. Barva

    Stay Safe

    It is interesting how we do become attached so quickly to people we meet along our journeys. It is ironic to see the strong negative feelings about Jamaica on the boards and yet see the very strong positive feelings so many CC posters have about individual Jamaicans. It is in a way very much like the country itself, full of contradictions. But then again, I know that making the personal connection is one of the reasons I travel. We did not make any personal connections on our first visit to Jamaica. We left with a rather negative feeling about Jamaica. We contacted Marva for our second visit and our perception changed with her first phone call. We are returning in December because of her. The CC boards also add the personal connection and enrich our knowledge of the places we visit. Our cruises have been far better with the knowledge gleaned from these boards. Keep safe,
  9. Barva

    Stay Safe

    Michele - I am so glad to be able to pass along good news. She did send you a special hello. I told her how disappointed you were that you missed her call but that you were so happy to hear her voice message. Marva said that it was a long, long night last night. We couldn't believe that we had spoken just yesterday morning. It felt like a week ago to her! When I hear again, I'll post right away.
  10. I talked to Marva Shaw in Jamaica tonight. She drives in Ocho but lives further east in Oracabessa. She said that everyone on the north side of the island made out with mininal damage. Her house lost shingles but the roof stayed on. Water did get in around the windows and she spend the morning cleaning up leaves and water. They still don't have power or water or cell phone service yet but her house phone was working (that's how I contacted her). She was worried about the extent of storm damage in Kingston and Negril. Her only contact with the outside world has been the radio so she was anxious about other places in the path of the storm. She wanted me to pass along many, many thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers.
  11. Barva

    Stay Safe

    Hi all. Good news from Marva Shaw!!!!! I called her this evening to check on her and see how she fared during the storm. The land phonelines are working in St. Mary's where she lives. She is great! Everyone is still assessing the damage on the Southern coast but the north side of the island just got lots of rain and wind. They still do not have power or water or cell phones. Marva got by with roof shingle damage but her roof held. She spent the morning cleaning up leaves and water. She kept thanking everyone on CC for all of their prayers and thoughts. She was so grateful to have been spared the worst. She hopes to have her utilities back by mid-week. I told her that I would check back with her Weds, night for an update. She also wanted to know how the other areas in the path of the storm were doing. The only contact with the outside world has been her transistor radio and they have been using it sparingly because of the power outage. My dh was able to give her a report. So if anyone has emailed her, please be patient and know that she will get back to you as soon as she can. She was very adamant about that. And again she was so touched by and grateful for everyone's thoughts and prayers for the people of Jamaica.
  12. Barva

    Stay Safe

    I am heading to bed and just hoping that Jamaica and Cayman and Coz and all of the folks there will be spared as much as possible. Michele - I was so glad to hear Marva's voice! And now we will both be glad to hear again soon! Let's hope that everyone did "baten dong, baten dong and be safe" as our friend from Antigua cautioned!
  13. Barva

    Book tour

    I don't know if you ever got in touch with Marva at http://www.knowjamaica.com. Just contact her through the website. Jamaica is right in the middle of the storm right now so I am not sure what Marva's situation is (and she probably doesn't know, either!) When she can, she will get in touch with you. Marva is simply terrific. Let her know what your interests are and she will customize your tour to your interests. My son loves birds so she took us to the aviary at the Enchanted Garden. It was absolutely fabulous. The whole day with her was. Over a year later, we are still friends and in contact. I talked to her today because of the hurricane. Here is a link to our Jamaica album from July 06. We have had over 21,000 view of the album in a year! Thanks, CruiseCritic! http://travel.webshots.com/album/552503449pdjGlW Keeping Jamaica and the islands in our thoughts,
  14. Barva

    Is there anywhere deep enough to cliff dive?

    We are not the cliff-diving type. However, when we went tubing on the White River, my dh and ds got to jump off the river bank into the river. It was beautiful, fun, and exciting (but not high on the danger scale).
  15. Barva

    Stay Safe

    Hi all. I haven't posted in a while, have hardly even been a lurker. My dh reads the boards every day and keeps me up to date. In regards to Marva: We were in Costco this morning and my cell phone rang. It was Marva!!!!!! (I'm sorry that you missed her call, Michele!) She sounded okay and worried at the same time. She was calling then because Jamaica was going into storm mode and they were cutting off the power very shortly (around 10:30 a.m. Jamaica time). She didn't know when she would have computer or phone service again. She wanted to let us know that she was getting as prepared as she could. Her son Javia was there with her and helping her get everything in order. She had her vehicles parked out in the open but felt that they were as secure as she could get them. The winds had started and she said that her roof was rattling quite a bit. I asked if they were going to a shelter but she said that they were going to ride it out at home. Remember, she lives in Oracabessa, not Ocho. I let her know that everyone was praying hard for her safety and the safety of her island. She is SO appreciative of everyone's support, esp her CC folks. I finished the call with letting her know that we would try to contact her as soon as the storm had passed. We have been monitoring the storm and I am afraid that her parish got some of the really heavy winds. I am anxious to find out how she is faring. I will write in as soon as I do hear from her.