Western Caribbean Cruise: Ochos Rios, Jamaica, Part I

by Stephany on May 30, 2012

One of my favorite sounds from the cruise was waking up to hear the ship setting down anchor. I can distinctly remember each and every sound the ship made as it did so and the way the ship felt. There was something incredibly exciting about knowing we had arrived at a new destination and peeking through the curtains to see where we were.

And Jamaica was simply breathtaking.

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I’m not sure why I felt such a pressing need to visit this country, but I did and it was the one destination I wanted to go on this cruise. We booked an incredible excursion and while we wouldn’t have long on the island (we had to be back on the ship by 2:00 p.m.), we planned to make the most of our short time there.

We left the boat a little before 7:30 a.m. and then I proceeded to snap picture after picture after picture of this beautiful country. I couldn’t believe I was in Jamaica and all the fun that awaited us this day! I was completely in the moment, soaking in the beauty and the people.

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We were herded onto our bus quickly, with a large group of people doing this adventure with us. The bus driver was fantastic, telling us about the flavor of Ochos Rios. We learned it’s not "Yes", it’s "Yeah, mon" and now I want to make that a part of my everyday language. There’s just something relaxing about that phrase, am I right? Yeah, mon.

The drive to Mystic Mountain was quick and before I knew it, we were standing in a rain forest.

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We were given a brief introduction of Mystic Mountain, then took an air tram up the rain forest to where the shopping, bob-sledding, zip-lining, and pool were located. We rode the air tram three times: up to Mystic Mountain, a round-trip ride after zip-lining, and then back down to the entrance of the park. Each and every time was absolutely sensational and I couldn’t stop myself from snapping picture after picture after picture. To be able to travel through the rain forest, be so high that I could spot our cruise ship in the distance, and listen to the sounds you only find in nature is an experience I will never forget. The air tram took 20 minutes one-way, so over an hour of our time in Mystic Mountain was spent on the air tram. And it still didn’t feel like enough.

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Once we were in the park, we headed straight for the bob sleds. Our excursion was a bob sled/zip line package. My mom was most excited about the bob sled, I was most excited about the zip line. We got into our little cars, we’re given instructions on how to use the brakes, and off we went! The bob sled let you handle how fast or slow you wanted to go and I had the gears, so it was all up to me! I started out slow but then realized the bob sled was not going to fly off the track if I went full speed ahead so I went for it!

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And then it was over.

It was the quickest ride I’ve ever been on and frankly, left me feeling a bit annoyed. I had so much fun on the track, making the sled go as fast as I could make it that to have it be over so soon was heart-breaking. (And while I could ride it again, it would cost $22 per person. No thanks.) I had a blast in the short time I was able to ride it, zipping through the rain forest, but I was really looking forward to the second part of the excursion: zip-lining!

Have you ever been in a rain forest?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa of Lisa's Yarns May 30, 2012 at 7:38 am

Yes, I have been to a couple of rain forests when I studied abroad in Australia. They are so beautiful! I went horse back riding through a rain forest, which was a sort of cool experience, but sort of terrifying for me as I had never rode a horse before!

Sounds like a really fun excursion!! I never really associated Jamaica with rain forests, honestly. And I kind of had a bad perception of that island after hearing a couple of stories from others who traveled there, but your positive description of that island is changing my perception of it!

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Stephany May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Wow, that sounds like a great experience! Carnival has some horseback riding excursions that sound really awesome. I’ve only been horseback riding once, but it was such a fun time that I would love to do it again!

We heard a LOT of negativity when we told people we were going to Jamaica. How people accost you to buy things & such. There were some sketchy people near the cruise port (one asked my mom for some marijuana!) but once we showed no interest, they left us alone. Overall, I had a great experience in Jamaica. You just have to remain aware of your surroundings!

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Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields May 30, 2012 at 9:11 am

This trip looks like so much fun! I have never been in a rain forest! Hopefully I can do that someday! :)

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Krysten May 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

I am so jealous of you Steph! Jamaica is one of my all time favorite places – even me, who is always stressed out, can totally relax. That place is AMAZING.

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Stephany May 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Jamaica has such a relaxed, island feel to it. It was just so fun to be there! I would totally do a destination wedding there… if I could ever afford it!

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Melissa May 30, 2012 at 11:13 am

This sounds like so much fun! Jamaica sounds gorgeous. I know how you felt about taking pictures over & over and it just NEVER being enough! I felt the same way visiting Santorini and some of famous Greek beaches. I was like I’M HERE HOW DO I CAPTURE THIS FOREVER. It’s just not possible. There are some places in the world you just need to visit yourself :)

I’m excited to hear about zip-lining! That’s the park that makes me extremely nervous, ha!

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Stephany May 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I tried not to fall into the trap of being more concerned about taking pictures than being in the moment but it was hard because everywhere I turned was just awestruck beauty. I want to go back!

I can’t wait to write about the zip-lining. I thought it deserved its own post because it was SO fun!

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Travel Spot May 30, 2012 at 11:24 am

I love that photo of you and your mom with the Jamaican! Did you just randomly stop that guy on the street for a photo or what!?

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Stephany May 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm

No, when you get off the cruise ship at a stop, they have random photographers taking pictures of you in front of the ship, with props & stuff. Sometimes they have people dressed up as a “cultural” photo or whatever. So he was with the cruise line, I guess? And that photo cost us $10. Worth it, though! It’s a cute photo. :)

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E May 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm

One trip on the bobsled seems like a bit of a letdown for how fast it is. I can’t wait to hear about the ziplining–you know how I feel about ziplining through a rain forest. :)

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Stephany May 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm

It was such a let-down! Especially considering over half of the ride was on a controlled track, going at a sl-o-o-o-o-w pace. Not my favorite, but the zip-lining & air tram MORE than made up for that!

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Dani May 30, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Being in a rain forest is one of the coolest feelings in the whole world- everything is just so vibrant! Love them! But I’ve never been to Jamaica. Looks beautiful!

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Stephany May 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm

It is SO gorgeous in Jamaica. This was my first time in a rain forest and gah, just beautiful. I need to visit more of them!

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