Great day in Jamaica
08.12.2013 - 15.12.2013
Located on Jamaica's North Coast in the Parish of St. Ann, Ocho Rios offers breathtaking sights and exhilarating adventures for visitors of all ages. In the last twenty years, Ochee, as it is known by the locals, has grown from a small, sleepy, fishing village into a world class tourist destination. With a deep water pier that can hold up to three cruise ships, allowing for easy disembarkation, Ocho Rios has become Jamaica's premier cruise port. The name, Ocho Rios, is misleading, as eight rivers do not exist in this area of Jamaica. Historians seem to think that the title is a British misinterpretation of the original Spanish moniker Las Chorreras, a designation meaning "the waterfalls." This assumption is more than understandable, as the region is an amazing place of beauty with many water features, areas of lush forest, and, of course, gorgeous Jamaican beaches.
The Island Girls chose not to go to the most visited attraction in Ocho Rios, Dunn's River Falls. With its 600-foot waterfall gently progresses down a stepped series of volcanic rocks seemed a recipe for disaster for the ladies. Instead they opted for a tour titled “Jewels of Ocho Rios” - a four hour tour of the area.
After introductions from the Tour Guide Arlene and driver Blair, the Island Girls boarded the air conditioned coach and were driven along the northeastern coastline to a small town known as St. Ann’s Bay. En route, Arlene, a beautiful girl, sung a welcoming song…not necessarily a contestant for Jamaican Idol, but it was the thought that counted. She then proceeded to explain the four most important phrases in Jamaican culture:
1. Irie Mon – to be at total peace with your current state of being. The way you feel when you have no worries. “Everyting is irie mon.”
2. No Problem Mon – Everything is OK
3. No Mon – Self Explanatory
4. Yeah Mon – The Island Girls are really good with this one! Just ask them…
The quick tour through the town was narrated by Arlene, explaining the history, tales and interesting facts about Jamaica – through the town squares, by the Court House of 1866 and Statue of Columbus and then back to Ocho Rios. First stop was a visit to local artisans at the Wassi Art. The Island Girls listened intently as a potter explained about finding the rocks and soaking them to retrieve the clay. Once that was explained, he proceeded to take a clump and in a matter of minutes, produced a six inch vase with a circular design and lip. From there it was onto the gift shop to purchase a couple of examples of their work.
Back on the coach, it was time for feeding with a nice visit to the Almond Tree Restaurant – a little time for leisure, relaxing on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace that overlooks the hypnotic Caribbean Sea whilst enjoying a cup of Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain coffee and a piece of scrumptious banana bread.
Then it was onto to Jamaica’s Garden of Eden, the place that the Taino Indians called “Coyaba” or paradise. The Island Girls could hear the roar, feel the fresh mist of the spray from the spectacular waterfall, cascading down level after glorious level. With another professional guide, the ladies worked their way through the rainforest. They saw all shades of green, splashed with exotic flowers of every conceivable color. Coyaba Gardens presented a fascinating museum with ancient artifacts form the natives and early colonials excavated on the site.