Today we took a 2-hour drive through Jamaica's country and mountain sides to beautiful Ocho Rios, where we were able to experience Jamaica as tourists! Our day was packed, full of fun tours and sightseeing provided by Chukka Adventure. We participated in a 4-play adventure package.
Before getting started with our day, our Chukka tour guide, Leroy gave us some interesting facts about Ocho Rios. Ocho Rios is known as the number one tourist location in Jamaica. It is located in the parish of St. Ann which has a population of roughly 16,000 people! Leroy touched on a bit of history along the way, pointing out fields where sugar cane plantations used to exist before Jamaica gained their independence from British Colonial rule. The closer we traveled to Ocho Rios, it was apparent that the vibe and development was completely different compared to what we have seen in Kingston thus far. Unlike Kingston which has more commercial buildings, Oho Rios was completed dedicated to tourist attractions, which is the mean source of income for its people.
Ok! So, our first stop on the list was at Dunn's River Falls & Park. The activities here included Zip Lining over the falls, and then after being able to climb the falls. We each started one by one crossing the falls and zip lining to each checkpoint while being able to enjoy the scenery from above. After we completed zip lining, we were able to start at the bottom of the falls and make our way climbing about 50m to the top. We had an awesome guide that led us through the falls and showing us some unique areas to the falls, which included a rock slide. As we made our journey to the top we also made sure to stop along the way and enjoy the fresh flowing water. Our group agrees the falls was definitely the most fun of all.
Throughout our climb, we came across the natural water massages. Our faculty really enjoyed the massages.
After we finished with the falls, we went back to the Chukka camp for lunch, where we enjoyed music and one of Jamaica's famous dishes, jerk chicken. The next activity on the list was driving ATV's! The group found this interesting as this was a first time adventure for most of us. We each got to drive our own ATV as we made our way throughout the trails of the park. Our ATV excursion brought us to the edge of a cliff, where we each took a turn jumping 15 feet down into the warm, salty, ocean.
The last stop on the list was Horse Back Ride n' Swim! Our guides assigned us horses according to our personality. We made our way one by one through the rocky trails which led us down by the bay where we got to experience riding horses in the ocean. We then moved on to part two: the swim! For this, we got to ride our horses bare back treading and swimming through the ocean which made for a very eventful excursion as many of us had never done something like this.
There were two aspects of today that made it so memorable, exciting, and enjoyable. One aspect was the upbeat, inviting manner of all the guides at Chukka Adventure Park. Many jokes and laughs were exchanged throughout the day and each guide brought something different to the experience. The second was that each activity of the 4-play Chukka Adventure brought forth first time experiences for at least one person in our group. With that, our group bonded a little more, whether it was through support and encouragement when someone was nervous to try an activity, or lots of laughing and cheering with each other about accomplishing these eventful activities. I think we can say this for everyone today, that the excursions included in Chukka Adventure 4-play struck us in a way that made us think about coming back to Jamaica to re-do these excursions again and that Ocho Rios knows how to make an impact into a tourists vacation experience!
Thanks for reading!
Jen and Brittney