A friend and I had arranged to go with Barrett Adventures to see Dunn's River Falls and Secret Falls. We had heard about Dunn's River Falls and how awesome it was, but we especially liked Carolyn's explanation online about getting there before anyone else. Skeptical of the price, $120 pp, we decided to book online and pay in full.
Carolyn was suppose to be our tour guide for the day, but Shawn met us at our resort. At first, we were nervous because we would have preferred to have a female tour guide, being two young women trying to see Jamaica, but we started feeling at ease when talking with Shawn in the car. He answered SOOO many questions. We talked about Jamaican schools, house interest rates, food, culture, etc. He stopped to let us shop at some shops along the road, which seemed to be his friends or people he knew, but we didn't care (we were in Jamaica!). We bought some stuff and went on our way.
Next, we arrived at Dunn's River Falls. Shawn walked us all the way inside the falls to meet a tour guide. We waited for more people, and then we went down to the beach. We were very turned off by the tour guide and the whole experience at Dunn's River Falls. Not only can you not do what you want, but you are instructed to hold hands with multiple people while climbing the falls. I'm sorry, but a <10 year old child isn't going to help me from drowning or falling over in a waterfall. After about two rocks up, my friend and I ditched the tour group all together. It seemed like they were trying to video you the entire time to make you pay for it. Also, before exiting the falls you have to walk through a ton of little shops were people are trying to sell you overpriced junk. We had a great time, but we were excited to travel to the Secret Falls.
Just a short drive, and we were at the secret falls. Kevin took us around the falls, taking pictures of us with my waterproof camera, helping us over rocks, and doing some flirting with us. He showed us where we could swim under waterfalls, climb up rocks, and check out cool caves. The falls were BEAUTIFUL and like nothing I have ever seen before. Very few people were there including us and a lady who took her bed and breakfast people with her. Kevin and a friend of his cracked open an almond for us to eat, and Shawn got an all spice leaf out of a tree for us to smell. The whole experience really felt like we were seeing ACTUAL Jamaica.
After leaving there, we told Shawn we wanted to shop some more, so he took us to Fern Gulley. We bought a few things there, and then we went and ate some patties at a local shop. We bought 2 patties for $4 US Dollars. We told Shawn we wanted to try a Ting soda, so he stopped and got us some. I told Shawn I wanted to get some Blue Mountain Coffee as a gift, but I didn't want to pay a ridiculous amount. No problem, he just took us to the grocery store where it is much cheaper than the little shops!
The whole tour, we felt very safe and never rushed. We pretty much asked Shawn to take us places we wanted, and then we went! No tours I have ever been on have been this flexible. We didn't have to wait in line or be bombarded with our tourists ever.
I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended Barrett Adventures. My friend and I were skeptical of the price, but we definitely got what we paid for and more. We ended up tipping Shawn all together $60 for our trip. We thought he was an excellent tour guide. If ever back in Jamaica, we will definitely book through Barrett Adventures again!