This was our 2nd trip to Jamaica and although we'd done this before, we loved it so much we decided to do it again. On arrival, we were given fruit punch before going down to the rafts. A big change from last time (17 years ago) is that last time it was rum punch, now you have to pay extra for the rum!
We were in a fairly big group but they got us all onto our rafts quite quickly. There is a lady with a clipboard organising them to make sure all the raft captains get even numbers of trips. The whole trip is very peaceful and tranquil, moving along in a shallow river. Our captain, Willy, pointed out birds, plants and other sights along the way. There was a bit of overtaking going on and we were chatting to people on the other rafts at the same time. The trip takes about 45 minutes.
There are people selling souvenirs along the way but they are on the bank so you can just ignore them, or ask your captain if you want to stop. People do have mini models of the bamboo rafts and they tend to throw these over to you and then swim and get them again if you don't want them. Last time we were told that if you pick them out of the water, they assume you want them so if you don't, then just ignore it. I think people in our group paid about $5 for them.
Near the end of the trip, your captain will probably produce some carved gourds for you to look at. They all say they do these in their spare time but I'm inclined to think they are mass produced somewhere and the captains just sell them, but they do carve names and dates on to personalise them. Obviously you need to haggle over the price. We didn't bother because we had run out of smaller notes and suspect he wouldn't have had enough change!! Saying no thanks really wasn't a problem. Willy took several photos for us of the two of us on the raft.
We did this on a trip combined with climbing Dunn's River Falls and this was a lovely way to spend part of the day. I'd definitely recommend it.
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