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“Transportation, not a guided tour, unfortunately :(”
Review of Know Jamaica Tours

Know Jamaica Tours
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Know Jamaica Tours: we are the best transportation /tour guide provider throughout the entire island of Jamaica, there are others around no doubt, however if you really want the best where you are guaranteed value for your dollar don't hesitate to look Us up! Yah Mon we operate from all resorts throughout Jamaica and from all cruise ship ports. Booking with us is easy as 1, 2, 3!!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Vancouver
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Transportation, not a guided tour, unfortunately :(”
Reviewed December 26, 2012

After reading all the wonderful reviews we booked with KnowJamaica Tours. Marva mentioned In her e-mails, that she’ll be hosting our “Irie jam private tour” for 3 people in Ocha Rios for $150. I was excited to meet her because I‘ve read many good things about Marva specifically as tour guide in Jamaica.

It was quite a disappointment to find out after waiting at the cruise terminal for half an hour that our guide is not Marva, but her employee Maroon (spelling?). He got Marva on the phone, she sounded nice and we chat for a minute. She promised to check on us later, but we’ve never heard from her again.

We wanted to do some sightseeing, shopping, visit Dunn’s Falls and to spend some time on the beach. During the long drive to Dunn’s Falls we found out that Maroon is not a “guide”, but just a driver. He was very quiet most of the time. It's partly not his fault because the drive to Dunn’s Falls isn't a very scenic one so there's not much to point out but he could've filled us in on general facts about the country like history, culture, government, or any other interesting facts. My daughter and myself asked him a couple of questions and he briefly answered them, but being a "guide" I expected him to volunteer more information (after all, it is the country he lives in and he knows more about it than we do).

After the falls he took us to the “craft” market (terrible) and to some beach (nice), and then dropped us at the cruise terminal. We could've saved money by just using the Dunns River shuttle and taxis if we just wanted transportation and not an actual island "tour" that we expected.

I am writing all this just to warn: if you OK with just having a driver to get you from point A to point B - then you are fine. But if you want to KNOW Jamaica or learn about Jamaica, then be aware of who is going to be your “guide”.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank TanyaBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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  • Any
English first
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Use Know Jamaica and get to Know Jamaica!”
Reviewed December 25, 2012

Outstanding experience with Know Jamaica! Marva and I emailed to make arrangements and we were met soon after disembarking from our cruise. Javia took us around Jamaica using local roads so that we could get a feel for his beautiful country. He was very courteous and knowledgeable. He was wonderful with our two boys as well. I can not say enough. WHEN we go back, we will definitely use Know Jamaica tours again.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Theresa O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Excellent Ocho Rios Tour Guides”
Reviewed December 21, 2012

We booked our Ocho Rios excursion before leaving for our cruise and it couldn't have been easier. Marva Shaw was quick to respond, and secured us a fair rate for a morning trip to Dunn's River Falls. Marva also told us exactly when and how to we'd meet up upon our arrival in Jamaica.

Upon arriving in Ocho Rios, we were pleased to find that Javia Shaw was already ready to take us on our Ocho Rios tour. Javia was very knowledgeable about the area and gave us plenty of advice. He was an obliging host who made us feel at home

He drove us to Dunn's River Falls where he'd arranged most of the details, taking care of the entrance fee and securing us a guide into the Falls. There was relatively little to worry about, although visitors should still be aware that vendors and guides at Dunn's River Falls are adept at securing money from tourists, so best to keep enough small bills for tips. Javia told us that the less we took into the Falls, the better, so we wouldn't have to bother with the expense of lockers. He kept our belongings safe in his car while he waited for us.

Javia told us to take as long as we needed, although he explained that most visits are roughly an hour and a half, to permit a leisurely climb up the falls. Once we left the park, he drive us around and dropped us off at a beach close to our ship.

It was such an enjoyable visit to Ocho Rios because Javia helped us keep to a schedule, so we could accomplish a lot in a short time and still have time to relax at the beach before our ship left port. Know Jamaica Tours are solid. They know what they're doing and they do it well, to make your time in Jamaica as stress-free as possible.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank bdb2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Farmington, Minnesota
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Best Private Tour”
Reviewed December 18, 2012

Day 1 was an all day tour starting at the resort with a service called "know Jamaica" and they were fantastic. The only negative feedback was that they only accept cash for payment and it would have been nice to book ahead of time (like we did) and pay online so our cash could have been used for other things.

Otherwise, Javia was an absolutely fantastic guide and a lot of fun to be with! We hired them for two days of private tours and it was worth it. Keep in mind that; 1) I can't stand sitting still and needed to get off our resort, 2) Javia is passionate about his country and loved to talk about it, 3) No question was off limits and it was relaxing to be able to not have concerns about asking something awkward or uncomfortable. If you are concerned about driving on the left-side of the road (we are American's) don't be although I would describe the driving conditions and culture as being more "free form" and much closer to driving on a race track than having a relaxing drive around the country :) This is not bad, but be prepared for driving excitement.

Javia (driver and son of owner Marva) picked us up on time and we promptly headed out of town to see Jamaica. We asked to see the country side and had a list of things to see in the area. Javia was very knowledgeable and determined the best route to choose and what other things could be fit in to the tour. We headed east and then south from Ocho Rios down to Kingston (about 1.5 hour drive) and then picked up another tour guide from Kingston who knew all the ins and outs of the city. Spent a bunch of time in town and then headed north to Strawberry Hill and then to Blue Mountain. The Hill has great views and is $10/ person to get access; it was worth it. You get a complimentary drink and can tour the grounds for pictures - very nice.

I originally was expecting that the Mountain was going to be a drive and then hiking at the top for some pictures but we ended up going half way up the mountain to the coffee plantation and stopping there for pictures because it would have taken another hour or more to get to the top given road conditions. This was disappointing, however, we were out of time for the day with how long it would take to get back in time for dinner reservations so that was the compromise that was ok. The coffee plantation charges $20/ person for a review of the history of the plantation and the coffee, followed by a cup of coffee and then hike up to the top of their hill. The tour was ok but definitely not worth $20/ person. Maybe 5 or 10 at most and the view that you get is about the same from the previous Strawberry Hill so my advice is to not bother unless you want to stop there for a bag of coffee to bring home. They don't have any coffee processing facilities on site and that's something I wanted to see. Instead it's just the house (very nice) but it's an over priced tour.

Javia stopped periodically and had us meet some locals and try local fruit and food and we were very happy to have the opportunity to do so. Sitting in a car all day driving around and snapping pictures from a window can be very impersonal and it was nice to talk with people.

Day 2;
This was more of the commercial site seeing tour in the area. Again, Javia from Know Jamaica picked us up for a private tour and this time we wanted to see local artisans and not the mass-produced junk that the cruise ships get to see but real artists.

We stopped at a couple places east of town and a cruise ship had just arrived so it was full of retired folks walking around. After quickly looking at the wares it was time to get out of there and we stopped at two more places; 1) The first was a pottery place on the north side of the road (coast side) and we bought some pieces there. Don't know the name of it but the owner was extremely nice and friendly and took the time to spend with us on throwing clay on a wheel. 2) The 2nd stop was on the bank of the road (south side) to a private local who was a specialist in wood carving and preferred iron wood. This gentleman was the best wood carver I have ever seen and made us extremely sad that we didn't have more money with us because we would have bought many pieces from him if we could have. He is a very nice older fellow that has a small little shack on the side of the road and is a gem that if you are into wood carvings, should absolutely make the time and buy something from him. If for no other reason, I would go back to Jamaica just to spend some time with him and buy more carvings.

Afterwards we went to a local jerk shop (food was great) and then to the Coyaba Garden. The Garden was nice but the tour was below average. Tour guide was not happy to be there at all and the information was canned / recited.

My wife and I were extremely happy with Know Jamaica and the private tour we booked for two separate days and recommend them to anyone wanting to do the commercial or the more adventurous site seeing. The vehicle was comfortable and A/C and it's safe to leave your belongings in while walking around. Javia is very friendly, knowledgeable and a lot of fun to tour with and it was a great time.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Kerry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Excellent ! Must do!”
Reviewed December 13, 2012

If you are travelling to Jamaica via a Cruise you must book KnowJamaicia Tours !!! We travelled on the Carnival Breeze to Falmouth Jamaicia on Dec 5th 2012. After reading the highly praised tripadvisor reports we booked via email with Ms Mava Shaw and her company. Her correspondence was immediate and accurate. My husband and I were traveling with our children (13 & 15) as well as Grandma in tow (aged 76) we wanted to make sure we were all accommodated as well as got to see the island a little bit. We chose to go to the Dunn's River Falls and tube down the White River. When we arrived in port we simply needed to ask for Ms. Marva Shaw and we were promptly pointed in the direction of our driver Javia. As we were driven in an immaculate new minivan to the falls we were given a detailed description of the history, countryside and culture of Jamaica. We easily climbed the falls (just enjoy it and get wet – you won’t be concerned about falling over if you just give in and get wet. (It wasn’t slippery –like some reports- guides were barefoot). Grandma waited on shore and took in the view of climbing the falls easily from the side. Javia then took us to White River were we tubed in truck tyres (it was a fantastic experience in old tyres compared to modern rafting tubes plus a local young guide sung a harmony of Jamaican songs as we floated and bumped our way down White River – we felt as though we were doing something the locals have done for many years to have fun). Javia dropped us off and picked us up at the end of river tubing adventure whilst looking after grandma. We absolutely loved it, it was a highlight for us! Javia then stopped at a not so busy souvenir shop in Ocho Rios. He then took us to a private beach were we had a late lunch, swim and reflected on this beautiful island and its people. We were able to maximize our time on the island, it was simple and private. I do recommend this tour company. I never book the on-shore excursions with the cruise companies and always prefer the more personalised self-booked options. The staff on Carnival Breeze did state in careful wording they would not guarantee anyone safety unless they booked with a Carnival recommended tourist operator and not to venture outside the port area unless so. I must state we felt completely safe in the hands of Javia and KnowJamaica Tours and he did collect and drop off within the port area whilst keeping an eye on us all the time. We could not have had a better time !!!!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank Travr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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