A few years ago I spent a week in Jamaica lounging on the beach, drinking amaretto sours, and eating unlimited amounts of jerk chicken at an all-inclusive resort that I reviewed here. If you follow my travels you probably know that this isn’t my most frequent type of travel. I don’t like to be cooped up in one place for too long – I have to be in the thick of things, doing something daring.
I enjoyed my time in Jamaica and, believe it or not, I enjoyed my time relaxing on the beach. My favorite part of the trip, though, was our visit to Dunn’s River Falls. The Falls are a natural marvel, flowing from a spring into the Caribbean and making a 180 feet tall & 600 feet long geological structure perfect for climbing. These characteristics make it one of Jamaica’s most popular tourist attractions.
When you arrive at the Falls, you are sorted into groups and paired with a guide who will escort you through the climb. The hike takes anywhere from one and a half to two and a half hours, so be prepared to spend a little bit of time on location. Be sure to stick around after the excursion as well; I enjoyed walking through the booths that locals had set up with crafts and other items for sale.
The actual climb itself is amazing. You go with a rather large group and help one another up the waterfall. It would be a great team building exercise! The beginning is rather steep, and is where you’ll need the most assistance from your team members but once you get going it gets easier. The Falls also house several pools that you’re able to stop and enjoy.
My favorite place to stop were the “slides” – slippery, steep slopes that are essentially natural slides plunging into semi-deep pools. Your guide will allow you to take turns at several different locations to slide or to hang out in the nearby waist-deep pools.
If you plan on hiking Dunn's, be sure to wear shorts that are good in water over your suit bottoms (I liked wearing Nike athletic shorts), a sturdy bathing suit top, and closed-toe water shoes (the shoes are required). The terrain can be rough on your feet so keep them safe! Also, you won't want to be losing your suit during the outing so be sure that your top is going to stay put and that your bottoms are covered in shorts. It might not be the best look but it'll save you a lot of grief, especially if you lose your top in front of your parents - Lord have mercy. ;)
Jamaica was made even better simply because of the people that went. My family and another family (that might as well be my second family) traveled together and made the experience amazing. I've known the people in these photographs for my entire life and I wouldn't have wanted to share these experiences with anyone else.
My two cents on all-inclusive resorts: If you're ever staying at an all-inclusive resort, please, please leave the resort grounds. After this trip I told myself that I probably wouldn't return to an all-inclusive simply because I didn't get as much of the cultural exposure that makes me love travel so much. This was the first time the majority of my family had left the country, and they said that had they not left the resort they would not have considered this trip any different than a traditional beach vacation. Leaving the resort, even if it was just two times, made them realize that the world outside of the United States is different, simply put. International travel is so much more than a beach or a hike. It's an experience.
Hi, I'm Madeline
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