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9 Things to Know About Dunn’s River Falls

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If you’re cruising to Jamaica, an excursion to Dunn’s River Falls should be at the top of your list. As a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the Caribbean, the falls promise a fun and memorable adventure. But before you go, here are 9 things to know about it.

1. Dunn’s River Falls is a natural waterfall

Dunn’s River Falls is a natural waterfall that is fed by underground spring water. While the falls’ tiered appearance may make you think it’s man-made, this is actually the result of lime deposits in the water that continuously build up rock in a staircase formation while the water continues to flow over. Dunn’s River Falls is also one of the few waterfalls in the world to actually flow directly into the sea!

2. The water is cold.

Since it’s fed by a spring, the water at the falls is cold – really cold. Don’t worry, you get used to it really quickly. Plus, the cool water is refreshing as you are working up a sweat while climbing.

3. Wear water shoes.

Sneakers won’t cut it here, as they’ll just get weighed down with water and trip you up. You absolutely must wear water shoes. If you don’t wear your own, you’ll need to rent some at the falls for $5. I bought my own pair for $5 at Walmart before my cruise, so now I have a pair that’ll come in handy on other excursions during future vacations.

4. You climb in a group.

You climb the falls in a small group with your guide, and everyone holds each other’s hands in a chain as support as you climb. When I first learned this I groaned, but once I began climbing I ended up being thankful for it. There were some places where the rock was slippery or where the water was rushing over my feet so forcefully that I felt I may slip, and it was oddly comforting to have some helping hands.

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5. They scrape the algae.

In order to ensure that the rocks aren’t too slippery, Jamaican workers at Dunn’s River Falls have to scrape the algae off the rocks. This is for your safety, and your guide will let you know before you start your climb to avoid any black rock.

6. There are lagoons.

The falls cascade down into the sea like a staircase, with shallow lagoons in between each ascent. That means the lagoons give you a short break in between each climb, which the guides like to use for photo opportunities.

7. Bring cash.

You’ll want to bring cash, and plenty of it. Your guide will definitely deserve a tip at the end, and there will also be photographer who will follow your group along the climb taking photos and videos. (Even better, bring your own waterproof camera to save from having to buy the excursion pictures.) There are lockers on-site to store your wallet and items while you make the climb.

8. There’s a staircase.

If you don’t want to or cannot climb the falls, there’s a staircase that has been built into the land next to the falls so that you can follow along while others climb. There are also a few places where the stairs will open up to a lagoon, so look out for these if you get tired during the climb and would like to finish the rest by stairs. This also makes the falls more kid-friendly, as sometimes the climb can be difficult for little ones.

9. There may be spiders.

The falls are located within the Jamaican rainforest, and with that comes all the critters as well. In addition to watching your step while climbing, you must also mind your head – as you may find yourself frighteningly close to the low-lying webs of some very colorful, very long-legged, very creepy spiders.

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CARIBBEAN

World’s Steepest Zip Line Opens in the Caribbean

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Carnival Corporation and Rainforest Adventures celebrated the official grand opening of the Rockland Estate eco-park attraction on April 11, 2018 in St. Maarten. To mark the occasion, a ceremony was attended by esteemed government officials, as well as Rainforest Adventures president Josef Prescel and key Carnival Corporation officials.

With financing from Carnival Corporation and built by Rainforest Adventures, Rockland Estate is set to quickly become one of the most popular attractions in the Caribbean. It features the world’s steepest zip line, a mountain chair life with gorgeous views, and a heart-racing tube ride. For those that don’t care to get their adrenaline pumping, there’s also a museum that showcases the history and culture of St. Maarten and its people. Guests from eight of Carnival Corporation’s brands with cruises visiting the island will have the opportunity to experience the new shore excursion.

Sentry Hill Zip Line

Here are some details on the rides and attractions at Rockland Estate eco-park.

  • Soualiga Sky Explorer: Soualiga Sky Explorer encompasses 68 four-passenger chairs that take guests to a transfer station for zip line and tubing rides, and then on to the top of one of St. Maarten’s highest points at 1,125 feet for panoramic views.
  • Sentry Hill Zip Line: From the transfer station at the midpoint of the Soualiga Sky Explorer, guests can take a ride on the zip line, where riders traverse a 1,600-foot, four-span line that provides unforgettable mountain views.
  • Schooner Ride: The Schooner Ride at the midway point of the Soualiga Sky Explorer gives guests the chance to surf down the mountain in large 40-inch inner tubes across a specially-designed 657-foot track of heart-pounding curves and fast straightaways.
  • Top of Sentry Hill: One of St. Maarten’s highest elevations, Sentry Hill, offers walkways and platforms that encircle the mountaintop, showcasing 360-degree vistas of the island with views of neighboring Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius, and Anguilla.
  • Flying Dutchman: The Flying Dutchman is Rockland Estate’s main attraction and the world’s steepest zip line. It guarantees the ride of a lifetime while securely harnessed in a chair, dropping visitors 1,050 feet from the top of Sentry Hill down the mountain over a 2,800-foot span.
  • Emilio Wilson Museum: Originally built as a plantation home in the 1700s, the museum tells the powerful story of Trace Wilson, who was born into slavery on the property, and her direct descendant, St. Maarten pioneer and preservationist Emilio Wilson. It also highlights the customs, traditions, lifestyle, and stories that have earned St. Maarten the moniker “The Friendly Island.”

Schooner Ride

Carnival Corporation also partnered with Rainforest Adventures to develop Rainforest Adventures Jamaica at Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios – a mainstay of Jamaica rainforest activities where guests can travel from the seashore to 700 feet above sea level at the top of a mountain. The company also worked with Rainforest Adventures to design and built the Magical Flying Beach Chair at the Carnival’s Mahogany Bay Cruise Center in Roatán. The chair lift system takes cruise guests from the welcome center to Mahogany Beach via a six-minute ride across nearly 1,200 feet of suspended cables.

Photos: Rockland Estate Facebook page

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CARIBBEAN

Grand Cayman Welcomes Six Ships in Port Today

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Georgetown, Grand Cayman businesses have been preparing for a slew of cruise passengers that sailed into town today on six ships. It’s one of their busiest days this year, and nearly 20,000 cruise guests descended upon the island.

Police have already drafted more officers to the waterfront in the last few months to prepare for the large number of travelers, which has partially been because of the recent hurricanes in the eastern Caribbean. Several cruise lines diverted their ships to Grand Cayman when their original port stops were affected by the storms. The Port Authority expects to see an additional 70 ships, bringing close to 250,000 extra guests to the island through the end of April as a result. This meant that several days this month, the port has already seen up to six ships at a time.

Today was expected to be among the busiest days, with Norwegian Epic, Carnival Vista, Liberty of the Seas, Celebrity Reflection, Marella Discovery II, and Norwegian Pearl all making a call there – in total, 19,722 guests.

Store owners are prepared and glad to see the impact that the additional guests were already having on their businesses, though were sympathetic as to the reason they were receiving so much spin-off traffic. Shops hired extra workers to accommodate the busy cruise days, and the town has been handling the crowds well.

Matthew Bishop, CEO of Island Companies which owns several stores, said its businesses were seeing improved sales across the board. “The arrival of the cruise traffic had been fairly good and our sales have appreciated accordingly. To a certain extent, we expected that but probably an even bigger impact has been from the high-end tourism sector. Some of that is definitely due to the storms that hit the eastern Caribbean.” He went on to say that despite the increase in visitors, there seemed to be very few issues on the waterfront thanks to the increased police presence.

Information: Cayman Compass

Photo credit via Kabir

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BEFORE YOU GO

4 Freeport Day Pass Cruise Resorts

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If you’re docked in Freeport, Bahamas, you might want to check these resorts out if you don’t want to be near the hustle and bustle of all the places most of the other cruise passengers will be.

1. Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach

viva wyndham freeport

Located just 25 minutes away from the cruise port, this resorts features a white sand beach, pools, a Jacuzzi. There’s also land sports like a trapeze and tennis, as well as water sports like kayaking and snorkeling.  They offer unlimited food and drinks, which includes alcoholic beverages.  There’s also programs for kids, and activities for adults throughout the day as well.  This resort has a little bit of everything, so you’re sure to find something for everyone.

Cost: US $89 adult; $55 child

Website: resortforaday.com/Viva-Wyndham-Day-Pass-Freeport-Excursions

2. Grand Lucayan Resort

grand lucayan resort freeport

Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport, Bahamas.

Located about a 20 minute ride from the cruise port, the Grand Lucayan Resort features a white sand beach and a fresh water swimming pool.  There is a kid’s center as well as activities for the adults throughout the day.  They also offer spa and massage services on site.  One thing to remember is to budget for your food and drinks – those aren’t included in the price.  There are water sports you can do as well, but those are also an additional fee.  If relaxing on the beach sounds like your kind of day, then this resort would be a good, affordable choice.

Cost: US $20 adults; $11 child

Details: https://cruiseradio.net/grand-lucayan-resort-day-pass-option/ 

3. Paradise Cove Beach Resort

Located in the Bahamas Beach/Deadman’s Reef area, Paradise Cove Beach Resort offers day passes for all travelers, including cruise passengers.  In fact, it has direct access to the reef right off the beach.  As a bonus, roundtrip shuttle service is complimentary from the cruise pier when you buy a day pass package.  A day pass includes the use of either snorkeling gear, kayaks, and paddle boards, unless you purchase an all-inclusive – then you have the use of all three.  Also included is a lounge chair, lunch, and one rum-based drink.

Cost: A beachgoer pass is $32. For snorkeling, kayaking, or paddle boarding, it’s $40. An all-inclusive package is $75.

Website: www.deadmansreef.com

4. Bahamas Cruise Excursions

photo: Memories Beach Resort

Bahamas Cruise Excursions’ Memories Beach Resort has the best of both worlds: fun for families, as well as peace for couples looking to escape.  Located across from Port Lucaya, the resort’s day pass includes unlimited drinks at multiple bars on property, a full buffet lunch, beach chairs, wifi, and more.  There are also snacks at their sports bar, a café, and an ice cream bar, so you won’t go hungry!  For those that prefer to take in a pool as opposed to the ocean, the resort also features a pool complete with a swim up bar, pool chairs, and staff for anything you might need.

When it’s time for fun in the sun, the pass includes water toys as well.  This means you have free use of kayaks, paddleboats, Hobie Cats, and more.  There’s also a gym, tennis court, and as a bonus – kids and teens activities and blues as well.  You really can’t be bored here!  The day pass is for 9am to 5pm and works well with most cruise ship arrival times.

Cost: $84.50 for 13 years old and up; $42 for kids 3-11; toddlers 2 and under are free.

Website: bahamascruiseexcursions.com/FreeportResortPass

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