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Dunn's River - guide or no guide

Portland, ME
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109 posts
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Dunn's River - guide or no guide

Hi guys,

I haven't decided if we want to take the traditional "tour trip" to the falls or if I want to bum a cab and go ourselves. Would you recommend getting the guide once you get there or going on your own? Do you have to pay extra for the guide? What exactly will they do for your besides hold your camera and tell you where to go? Thanks, Kelly

Negril, Jamaica
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836 posts
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1. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

After studiously ignoring this attraction for 7 years, I finally decided to go and check it out this past May. I learned three things:

1) Given a choice, Sunday is the best day to go. The park will feel like it's all yours. No cruise ship crowds and apparently few, to no large tour companies on that day. Some Jamaican families and a handfull of visitors, and that was it....perfect for what I look for when touring. The grounds are beautiful, lush and green and plenty of places to sit for some quiet meditation.

2) Used a guide (because I thought you had to) and would never do it again. You are quite capable of doing the falls on your own. Perhaps it was just the guide we were assigned, but there was no discussion, nothing other than him silently holding out a hand once in awhile to help drag me when I was lingering to look around and enjoy myself, or to say "put your foot there." Stick to the sides until you get your bearings and see where to step next. You can go straight up the center for more of a challenge. Take your time - it's too pretty to rush through(!!!!) and do wear water shoes or something with straps and rubber soled bottoms. I did it barefoot but would not advise this for people who aren't used to it. Stop where you want in the little pools to just sit in the water and look around you and enjoy the surroundings. The tour groups in the large chains give you no time to do this. Go to the top, walk down, and do it again!! The guide does not cost extra but if like most other attractions, he does not work for a salary, just tips.

3) The people in the craft market were the exact opposite of anything and everything I have ever seen posted...no grabbing at me, no pushing things in my hands, no "aggressive behavior", no rudeness. (I think I was kind of looking forward to this...brings out my "tweaked" sense of humor sometimes.) As I wondered my way through the aisles they did ask me to look at their wares. I stopped and chatted with them in small groups, did look at things they had, bought nothing (same thing you find in Negril.) I found them to be polite, personable, and not understanding at all why some people rush through without stopping or growl or mutter under their breath when asked to stop. I did tell them that if people WERE rushing, it was perhaps because they are now at Dunn's but must rush to catch the bus to Dolphin Cove or the duty free center or wherever else it is that their bus is scheduled to be. As to why the VISITORS seem rude (and yes, I saw some that definitely gave that impression) I could only state that I assumed it was from fear...that I myself came on the trip MAINLY to see the craft market and the reactions of the vendors and that I found it to be nothing at all like I had read about. If I was a new comer to the island, I'd be nervous too based on others writings, but as someone who lives here (they didn't know this until I finally told them when I left the market) that I myself had absolutely no clue as to why they had the reputation they did.

I can't be that unique of an individual to have been treated differently than 99% of the other guests going there.

Jackson, Michigan
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6,156 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

kaultra,

I personally would rather go with a private guide than with the regular tour group. This way you can go at your own pace and stop where you want to stop for refreshments, souveniors, sight seeing, etc.....Just my opinion though.

Englefield Green...
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167 posts
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3. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

I did it both ways. The human chain thing with the guide is OK if yoiu're intimidated but really you can do the climb on your own. Main use of the guide is he can ake your photo if you have a water camera. We used a guide and then ran down and did it again ourselves - can take the easy route or find harder routes.

As to taxi or tour - depends where you're staying, how many you are and what else you want to do. I would recommend hire your own cab & driver for the day - from MoBay we got this for $80. Add $15 each ot get in to Dunns. Our cab was for the whole day so do whatever else you want!

shoeburyness england
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65 posts
4 reviews
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4. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

check out the falls at coyaba gardens i think they are much nicer and private than dunns falls which seemed very busy when i visited.

montreal
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11,515 posts
25 reviews
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5. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

Personally I say NO guide.

Like Sienna, I too enjoy stopping all over the place to enjoy the surroundings, and you just can't do that with the "human chain"

Also like Sienna, I have climbed several times barefoot, but others might well prefer to use the water shoes or other footwear.

I know what you mean about the Craft Market Sienna! I have never felt it to be "that bad"... I have found downtown Mobay, Ochi and even areas of the Negril beach to be much "pushier" than at Dunns...

ENJOY!!!

Blessings and respect to all.

Steve

Portland, ME
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109 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

Thanks so much to you all. I think I will try and do it on our own, Sunday! The thought of the human chain and holding hands with strangers does not sound romantic. I'm not a big fan of rushing around either! I guess we can just take a cab from Sans Souci and go there. Now is the craft market like shopping anywhere else? I was thinking about going shopping at Taj Mahal. Would the craft market at the falls be the same stuff? That way I could kill two birds with one stone :) Thanks again. Kelly

Negril, Jamaica
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836 posts
1 review
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7. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

After more consideration, I stand corrected on not doing the falls without a guide....for people not used to hiking/climbing in water, or who are unsure of the difference in rock color that will let you know where a particular rock has moss growing that may be slick, or for people who may have somewhat unsteady equilibrium, a guide may be best for the first time up...you can then go to the bottom and do it again on your own.

I myself find my balance totally off if someone ahead of me has a faster pace (due to longer legs?) and is pulling me, while I'm holding on to someone behind me also at a different pace. That's why "chains" are not in my best interest, but others may find this not a hinderance.

Taj Majal is closed on Sundays. There are the typical souvenir shops and stores with name brand jewelry. The craft market has everything from Thsirts to sarongs, to pottery to woodcarvings to craft type jewelry etc. Not all stalls will be open on Sunday but enough to give you still a wide variety.

Portland, ME
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109 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

Tottt, thank you, I'm not looking for expensive jewlery, just souvinears(sp?) I"m going to bank on the craft market at the Dunn's and hit the Taj on Monday or Tuesday if I need to. Thanks again. K

long island, ny
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613 posts
33 reviews
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9. Re: Dunn's River - guide or no guide

Just one more piece of info.

The chains never stay together for long anyway.

As stated above, people go at their own pace. What starts out as a long chain, breaks up by the time you get to the second "pool".

If you are not particularly athletic, or have other physical issues, why don't you consider getting a "personal guide" Please note that if you do go for the personal guide, you should tip him well, and in advance. This way he will stay with you the whole way up. I would suggest approx $ 20 usd for a tip for a Personal" guide. Tip less if you are with a group