Sunny Jamaica offers a variety of exciting opportunities for family travellers. Whether you opt to stay in one of many, beautiful all-inclusive resorts, rough it on your own terms, or pack in a great day during a cruise vacation – Jamaica has you covered. While we already covered much of what this amazing Caribbean island has to offer children and teens in our Jamaican Spotlight article, today we zero in on the Ocho Rios area.
Besides showing the very best of one of Jamaica’s most wonderful cities, we also spotlight the potential of Jamaica to provide fantastic opportunities to families during a cruise. Cruise vacations are a fantastic way for families to pack more into less time, while enjoying a wide variety of activities catered towards various ages.
We take a look at Ocho Rios through the lens of one real family, who recently enjoyed a day there during a recent seven day Western Caribbean cruise.
Here are the top tips to make the most out of your time in Ocho Rios, from a Real Family:
1. Book a Guided Tour
Jamaica is one of those countries best approached with a little guidance. There is no substitute for the experience of a good guide, and the ability to understand which areas should be avoided.
A tour company can also offer a driver and a carefully planned itinerary. This is indispensable for a family on a cruise. With relatively stringent time concerns related to a port day, a guide can make the difference between getting in all you wanted to as opposed to re-boarding the ship feeling like you missed out.
For Ocho Rios, Jamaica we recommend:
Contact: Carolyn Barrett
About Barrett’s Adventures:
Covering the entirety of the island, Barrett Adventures are experts on the local scene and can help construct the perfect day for your family. Recognizing the inherent beauty of the island, coupled with the local culture and the amazing opportunities for family fun, Barrett encourages you to skip the tourist traps and embrace your adventurous spirit. The small, personalized tours feature the history and flavor of the island, and take you off the beaten path to discover hidden gems and idyllic hideaways. They can cater to families of all sizes and backgrounds, they will find the activities and sights to fit your personal needs and desires. From luxury to rustic, educational to active, according to Carolyn – “If it is doable in Jamaica, it is doable with Barrett Adventures.”
From Our Real Family:
Carolyn and everyone at Barrett Adventures were highly professional to deal with. They offer fair prices, which takes a lot of the stress out of planning a vacation.They were very knowledgeable and we loved working with them. It is always a pleasure to dream up a great vacation day with someone who really knows what they are doing – they offer support and guidance and work with you. They are willing to simply craft a great day for you, or you can ask them for specific things you would like to do and they will give you a fair price and a great day. Their driver Shawn helped us get around to all the things we wanted to do and their guidance helped us get the most out of our time on the island.
2. Get Active
Jamaica has some of the best opportunities a family can find anywhere for active and exciting fun. Our real family enjoyed the following exciting thrills:
- Zip Lining (at a facility that also offered paint ball) – http://www.hevansscent.com
- Waterfall Climbing (at a facility that also offered rafting/tubing) – http://www.barrettadventures.com/tours/CarolynsSecretFallsAndTubing
We have more details on both of these facilities in our itinerary for Ocho Rios. Also keep in mind that this advice ties into our first tip. When working with a tour company like Barrett Adventures, you can suggest any exciting activity you want (say surfing, or parasailing, or anything else you can dream of). You can also simply say that you want to break a sweat, or hit the water, or do something fun that works for your 4 and 6 year olds, and they’ll let you know what your options are.
3. Bring Home a Memory
Our real family enjoyed a couple opportunities for this. Another great feature of travelling with a tour guide/company is having the opportunity to have someone else there to snap family photos. There is no simpler way to get you all in the picture than handing off the camera to a driver and making sure you always remember the time you hiked up a waterfall together.
It can also be great to stop of for a small something to bring home. Some like T shirts and other small items that don’t break the bank, while helping you remember your trip. Others like food souvenirs – using some nice spices or ingredients you brought while away can be a fun way to bring back memories of your trip over a shared meal. Whatever you choose to buy, ask a tour guide for a recommendation to stay at a reputable shop. Our real family recommends Rainbow Souvenirs in Falmouth, Jamaica for fair prices and friendly staff.