Posted February 17th, 2018, 11:40 AM
Last edited by land lover; February 17th, 2018 at 11:52 AM
Dunns River Falls is one of my favorite sites in the Caribbean. My first time there, it was part of a tour. Since that first visit, I take a taxi, so that I am under no time pressure -- no tour group waiting for me! I can spend a couple of hours there, mostly sitting under a waterfall, getting a shoulder massage from the river.
I join up with one of the groups being corralled together by a guide. I walk up river a bit, and then give the guide a few dollars and sit down under a waterfall. I'll slowly climb the falls, and find other waterfalls to enjoy. When I am ready to go, I attach myself to another group and give that guide a few bucks.
The guide thing, I am told, is that we are required to be with a guide. So I pay the one at the bottom and another at the top, and I am free to lounge in the falls unmolested. I do not feel extorted, any more than I would feel extorted when I tip the tour guides in Rome or London. What's the difference? That these guides are black? That they speak funny? I enjoy them.
Every time I have been there, the vendors are pretty aggressive. I have bought a few t-shirts and towels, but for the most part, I decline to stop and browse or talk. They want to engage you in conversation, but I mostly say nothing except "no thanks, man" and "not interested."
I always immediately walk away from anyone offering drugs and anyone blatantly smoking them. I am not being judgmental, I am just protecting myself. I won't even say "no thanks," I am silent.
Carry small bills -- $5s and $1s, a few $10s. So you can tip the guide and pay for a t-shirt without flashing any $$$.
Still love Jamaica with all its flaws and after many visits.
However, when we did a land trip in Negril our teen sons were offered pot numerous times when we were not in "guarded areas", obviously, they must be successful selling to tourists. It was decriminalized in 2015 in Jamacia. Our sons had great pleasure in getting to know the locals especially the Rastafarians that worked at the Beaches resort and learn about their beliefs....also the creole spoken in Jamaica can only make one smile.
I think the best lesson learned by our kids when staying in Jamacia.. was don't steal Farmer Williams turnips
, we were watching the local news, which in itself, in more depressed countries can be a learning experience. When they showed a car trunk full of turnips...the owner of the vehicle, once confronted with the stolen goods was macheted to death, by a mob. Not pleasant, but reality for many throughout the world.
OP, Dunns Falls is a fun experience.....enjoy the beauty and culture of Jamaica, overlook the negatives. If you are gng on a ship excursion....all your questions can be answered by your guide or at the excursion desk on board. But, the experience you have, will be what you make it...sometimes going in with your eyes closed yields a true experience.....afterall....what did we do before Cruise Critic,trip advisor...etc???