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Visiting Ocho Rios Jamaica - Ten Day Cruise through the Panama Canal

There are so many things to do in Ocho Rios Jamaica! Make Jamaica your next vacation destination!

Visiting Ocho Rios Jamaica - Ten Day Cruise through the Panama Canal
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The fifth and last port on our ten day Panama Canal cruise was Ocho Rios, Jamaica (first: Aruba, second: Cartagena, third: Panama, fourth: Costa Rica).  We had originally signed up to spend the day at an all inclusive beach resort, but as we got closer to the end our cruise (((sob))), we realized that we'd been floating on an all inclusive resort for a week, and would rather do something a little more adventurous in Ocho Rios.  

We went to the excursion desk and asked them to sign us up for something challenging.  So they did!  In Jamaica we toured the Green Grotto Caves (okay, this part was pretty leisurely), and then climbed a waterfall (this was the challenging part).  Thank you again to Princess Cruises for allowing us this wild adventure.  It goes without saying that all opinions are mine and they are sincere. 

why you should visit ocho rios jamaica

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Pulling into port never gets old for me.  Seeing the jewel toned water near the coast and experiencing the first glimpses of a place I've never been.  It's a traveler's happy place.  

Ocho Rios had a modern skyline along part of the beach which reminded me again of Miami, but then as you panned over, there were beautiful white buildings dotting the hillside and those made me think of Greece and the Mediterranean! 

excursion options in ocho rios jamaica

ocho rios jamaica coastline from a cruise ship

We took a short bus ride to Green Grotto caves, stopping on the way to pick up water shoes for those who didn't have their own.  I strongly strongly (strongly!) suggest purchasing a pair if you plan to climb the waterfall - they were very comfortable and made me feel a lot safer than had I just worn sneakers.  

Board your air-conditioned transportation for a scenic drive along the Ocho Rios coastline and through the town of St. Ann's Bay, where Columbus' ship was marooned, en route to the Green Grotto Caves in Discovery Bay - Princess Cruises website

calabash in jamaica

flowers in jamaica

flowering cactus in jamaica

The vegetation in Jamaica was super colorful and vibrant.  It is reminiscent of the building colors and you can clearly see that they were inspired by the lush landscape.  Across the street from the caves was a jerk chicken restaurant that smelled absolutely divine.  Deeeeeevine.  Sadly, we didn't have time to grab any.  Guess I'll just have to go back!

Located near Columbus' 1494 landing site, the extensive maze of limestone caves are five million years old and have an exciting and rich history. Used by runaway slaves, Taino Indians, and pirates, the caves were also utilized during the Second World War as a secret hiding place for large barrels of rum. Visitors to this attraction date as far back as the 18th century.  - Princess Cruises website

where to eat jerk chicken in jamaica

visiting the green grotto caves in jamaica

They gave us super sexy hair nets and hard hats.  Safety first, yo.  I felt like a lunch lady.  Which, kind of I am, so I guess it was pretty appropriate.  

Greet your guide and don a protective hard hat for your tour of the caverns' interconnecting passages. Walk through chambers, light holes, stalactites and stalagmites, and see the subterranean lake that lies deep within the cave's core. - Princess Cruises website

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night club in the green grotto caves jamaica

The entrance to the Green Grotto Caves was the biggest and most expansive part.  it housed a stage, a bar, and several tables and chairs.  Turns out, in the seventies it was used as a night club!  They later learned that the vibrations from the music were damaging the health of the cave and stopped, but some remnants remain.  It was fun to see how the caves have been used for so many different things over the years. 

roots growing into the green grotto cave in jamaica
escape route in the green grotto caves in jamaica

During the 17th C when the English invaded the island of Jamaica, the Green Grotto Caves were used as a hideout for the Spaniards who were being driven out of the country.

In the mid 20th Century, between the two world wars, they were used by smugglers running arms to Cuba. In the latter years during the Second World War, the Government of Jamaica used the entrance of the cave as a storeroom for rum in barrels.  - Green Grotto Caves website

Our guide stated the caves were also used as part of the Jamaican underground railroad, and that the escape route shown above was for a local politician!  No one recent, of course.  At least we hope. Hah!

cave tour guide in the green grotto caves in jamaica

more roots

As you walk through the caves you will see limestone formations that have been christened after the individuals they resemble, including Abraham Lincoln, Freddie Krueger, and cartoon character Scooby Doo, among others. Your guide will demonstrate the caves' musical stones and you can make a wish at the wishing well. - Princess Cruise website

non venemous snake in the green grotto caves in jamaica

green grotto caves was used to hide rum

Do you spy the snake in the cave (two pictures up).  Thankfully the snakes that we saw at Green Grotto weren't venomous like the eyelash viper we saw in Costa Rica. Another fun fact about these caves, the filming of the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die, used the caves for villain Doctor Kananga's underground base beneath a cemetery on the fictional island of San Monique! - Wikipedia

wishing well at the green grotto caves

james bond was filmed at the green grotto caves

Our guide kindly handed out pennies for the wishing well, but no one wanted to be the first one into the cave.  I'm not normally brave, but I figured Princess wasn't sending me somewhere unsafe, so I stepped up and went in.  Nothing scary at all, and got to make the first wish.  That has to count for something, right?

dunns falls emptying into the ocean

dunns river falls rapids climbing the waterfall

After the cave tour, we headed to Dunn's River Falls to climb the waterfall.  I know I've said it before, but I feel like it bears repeating.  Wesley and I love waterfalls.  This one was very cool and it emptied directly into the ocean.  I've never seen that before!

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The water was moving quite quickly, and we had to climb together holding each others hands at the rougher parts.  If you do this excursion, prepare to be soaked.  I wasn't, but I'm a good sport so no big.  

will i get wet at dunns river falls in jamaica

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One of Jamaica's national treasures, Dunn's River Falls is a breathtaking beauty. A natural phenomenon due to its ability to regenerate itself with deposits of calcium carbonate and sodium from the flowing water, it is also one of the only waterfalls in the world that empties directly into the sea. Approximately 600 feet high, sparkling water cascades over natural stepping platforms that allow you to climb from the bottom to the top. 
A frequent sight is a group of enthusiastic climbers holding hands in a chain, as they're being led to the top of the waterfall by a trained guide. For visitors who prefer not to get wet, a walkway along the side of the falls allows you to take full advantage of the experience. The surrounding area is lush with overhanging trees, cool mists, and tropical foliage. - Princess Cruise website

dunns river falls waterfall cruise excursion

waterproof camera phone case for dunns river falls in jamaica

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If you plan on checking out Dunn's River Falls, my suggestions would be to get a waterproof phone case so you can take pictures and videos (here's what we used), and go early.  The waterfall is very popular and the park gets super crowded by late morning/early afternoon.  Choose an excursion that does the falls first and gets you there as the park opens.  It will make for a more enjoyable experience!

And if we've got you thinking about cruising (doooo it!  #iheartcruises #cruiser4life), then make sure to check out all the amazing destinations and itineraries offered by Princess Cruises!  

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