Happy Tuesday all! Thanks for sharing all the places you’ve stayed when you all went to Jamaica. I have to say that I was so completely tempted to joke with you all by telling you that we rented out the entire resort and that is why you didn’t see any people in our pictures LOL. I just tried to make sure I took pictures at time when nobody was around or waited patiently for them to move out of the camera lens.
This vacation taught me that I am not someone who can stay at the resort only as I have a desire to get out, explore and experience where ever we are visiting. We decided on 3 different Jamaican Excursions to take during our visit. We booked all our excursions through AmSTAR Tours.
- The Free Bike Tour around Freeport offered by Secrets Wild Orchid
- Hiking Dunns River Falls & Snorkeling
- Visiting Nine Mile and the Bob Marley Mausoleum
There were two other excursions that we plan on doing when we return because they just sound amazing.
- Negril Beach ~ the longest beach in Jamaica (7 miles), Sunset & Watching the Cliff Divers
- The Black River (where you see crocodiles) and the Mayfield Falls
- Then again, the pineapple, rum & coffee plantation tours would be awesome too.
Our resort also offered a shopping excursion that took you to 3 shopping centers for $16 each way, however, we were able to stock up on everything we wanted to buy during the excursions we went on as well as at the resort.
EXCURSION #1 ~ THE BIKE TOUR
The bike tour takes approximately 2 hours and you ride about 4-5 miles including photo, shopping and fruit tasting stops.
The first path you go down takes you right to the edge of the ocean where you can see Montego Bay and the storefront on the other side of it.
The ride itself is so pretty because you are out with nature. For those wanting more nature, the Secrets resort also offered a Nature Walk that we didn’t take because The Husband didn’t want to see any frogs!
Stop #2 was the big Almond Tree.
Our guides busted open almonds straight from the tree and others that had dried on the ground so we could try them.
It’s kinda crazy because almonds straight from the shell taste more like a Brazil nut then they do raw almonds ~ delicious!
A few other trees we saw as we rode…..Coconut!
Nutmeg….it’s inside these plum like fruit.
Bananas ~ crazy fact we learned about bananas….Did you all know that each banana tree has only one bunch that it harvest each year and it takes 9 months to grow it? After that, they have to cut the tree down to a stump where it regrows one bunch the next year.
After a short shopping excursion through FreePort (where the prices were cheaper than the resort!), we headed over to the local fruit stand.
We all picked a fruit to have our picture taken with The Fruit Guy. I picked a pineapple and The Husband picked a coconut….what does that say about us? I am sweet and he is a nut?
Another fun fact ~ there are over 12 types of pineapple grown on the island. All this time, I really thought there was only one type.
We had the chance to try every single organic fruit & several juices he had at his fruit stand. I love that he busted out a huge machete to cut everything up, starting with the sugar cane.
Sugar Cane is super juicy and sweet but it’s kinda weird how you eat it. You bite it, suck the juice out (right hand) and toss the fibery stem out (left hand).
This is totally The Husband’s blackmail picture so I figured I might as well put it out there….for the record, I am the only dork that left my bike helmet on the entire 30 minutes we were there LOL.
With his machete, he cut this pineapple into super fancy bites in under 2 minutes.
This is called “Cheese” Pineapple and it is the sweetest pineapple I’ve ever had…it literally melts in your mouth with each juicy bite.
This fruit is called SweetSop, they also make Soursop. It’s the craziest fruit I’ve ever eaten in my life but it’s really delicious. You eat all the pulp around it (it’s texture is like a mango) and spit out the black see. The flavor is pretty intense, but, it is like a cross between a passion fruit and mango.
The ugliest fruit that I loved were these June Plums. They taste like a cross between an apple and a plum. They are peeled and you eat just the inside.
After sampling the fruits that were local, he broke out several fruit juices he made for everyone to try. Each juice serves a purpose in helping or healing your body.
This one was made out of sweet cactus and okra…..it’s supposed to help your joints but I couldn’t get past the egg white consistency.
This juice was for the guys to give the energy and “sharpen their pencils”. I had to try it after hearing that….it has peanuts, mango, banana, papaya, honey and I can’t remember the rest.
My personal favorite juices were the beet juice and this carrot mango.
EXCURSION #2 ~ HIKING DUNN RIVER FALLS & SNORKELLING
This trip was by far my favorite excursion we did. You start off with about a 1 1/2 hour bus ride that takes you over to Ochos Rios. The Bus Driver did a great job at pointing things out and telling us the history of Jamaica during our ride.
The first stop is having a Jamaican Lunch on this private beach before boarding the boat.
The water is so beautiful ~ blue, clear and you can see everything in it perfect for people like me who have phobias of walking in the water (swimming is ok….but, walking freaks me out….like, what will grab or bite you in the sand!)
Cool Runnings was the group that ran our entire excursion and the name of our boat.
If you are brave enough, you can actually sit on these nets and look down the entire time you ride the boat.
The boat ride over to Dunn River Falls is pretty short, about maybe 15 minutes. No worries though, we still found plenty of things to take pictures of along the way.
I love how people have stairs straight from their docks to their houses.
You have about 1 1/2 hours to hike the falls and check out the shops when you get to the top.
I will be the first to admit that I was pretty freaked out about actually hiking the Dunn River Falls. When you look at it and hear them say it is 500 feet and there are no rails (you hold hands) it can be intimidating. You are greeted by a guide who takes you up to the top of the falls.
They do have a dry trail you can hike up instead which I seriously pondered until The Husband told me….look, you run every day, you can do this and I am glad I did.
This will forever go down in my book as one of the funnest things I’ve ever done in my life. If you do one thing in Jamaica, hike these falls ~ anyone can do it, really….Oh and buy a water camera because everything will get wet as you go under the falls and into the pools of water (something I wish I had done!)
The final part of this excursion was to get back on to the boat and snorkel the reefs in the crystal blue waters of Ochos Rios for about 30 minutes.
EXCURSION #3 ~ REGGAE CULTUER & NINE MILE
The irony of this excursion for me is that this was the one thing I knew I wanted to do when I went to Jamaica and it was my least favorite. In fact, I almost wish I skipped this one and chose another excursion.
ON this 2 1/2 bus ride, there is a bus driver and an actual tour guide who explains everything you see along the way and teaches you the Jamaican language.
The trip to and from Nine Mile is really what made this excursion fun for us ~ oh and so did the visit to the Ultimate Jerk Center for lunch (that is coming up on the food post)
It was really interesting to see how everyone just builds where ever they want because there are no government permit requirements.
The other thing that is awesome is all the colors and personality in all the buildings and businesses.
After spending about an hour on the main highway that was built just 8 years ago, you head down the side roads that take you through several small towns.
Everyone carries things on their heads from our waiters/waitresses to people walking down the street selling things or taking supplies home. That takes talent!
You all know how we love the photo booth shots ~ I couldn’t resist….I think I am either too short or my head is too small for dread locks though….
Because he wears them well
The last hour of the drive is down these crazy, kinda sorta paved roads where people drive pretty insane and on the wrong side of the road.
It takes you through rural Jamaica where people live out in the country and live off the land.
Nine Miles is the small village where Bob Marley was born and several of his family members still live.
When you get to the Mausoleum they have these big purple doors that they open just barely to let the tour buses in and quickly close to keep locals out. It’s pretty interesting to watch.
The ONE REVIEW I wish someone had posted for me to read was this ~ If you are not into smelling pot or being in a smoke out, do NOT go on this tour. I knew from the reviews that they let people smoke pot behind the doors, but, I had visions of a “smokers circle” and that is not how it it.
This guy in the window sells all things pot from brownies to tee to stubs and they freely let everyone smoke them through the entire tour….which does not really work since the entire museum is in closed doors.
I rarely have strong opinions on my site, but, this one needed it….We had to go sit outside and couldn’t go on the tour because the smoke caused me to have a big asthma attack
There are 3 gift shops, an outdoor band and a documentary about Bob Marley as well.
The view from the top of the stairs over the purple doors
As you leave Nine Mile you see these cute primary school ~ I love the name ~ Prickly Pole.
On the way down the mountain, you stop to visit the Bethel Lighthouse Church before finishing the trip with lunch at one of the best Jerk Places on the Island.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
When you were in Jamaica, what excursions did you do and what were the highlights?