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Published: December 20th 2007
We were both very excited to go to Jamaica. We left the ship early and hopped on a bus out to the ‘Happy Retreat’ Plantation, where we had a tour around the plantation homestead (circa 1730-35) and learned about all the local plants, fruits and spices and how to prepare the famous Jamaican ‘Jerk’ foods. The owner of the homestead also gave us a brief history lesson on the Ocho Rios area and the homestead itself - we even got to try some local Jamaican rum punch - which was yummy! We saw some of the local farm animals too - including a colossal fat and hairy piggy named Herbert! The drive up to the plantation traveled through the incredible ‘Fern Gully’ - an area of incredibly dense rainforest, featuring over 500 types of fern - it was so impressive - the forest was so thick on all sides that cars needed to use their headlights as it was almost pitch black at points!
After the plantation we headed down to the centre of Ocho Rios township for a look at the local markets - which sold a huge range of paintings, clothes, carvings and various other touristy things. It
was pretty cool and we bought some oil paintings and Martin got straight into the Jamaican beer! I was a bit of a hit with the locals because of my dreads and every stall owner either called me Bob Marley, White Rasta or a combination of both!
Our next stop were the famous Dunn Falls - a gorgeous collection of stepped falls cascading down through the lush rain forest. The falls were very beautiful, but hard to photograph as they were infested with tourists walking in the actual falls up to the top! We had a great time here as the falls really are magic to behold - so picturesque and peaceful!
After some time admiring the beauty of the falls we had to head back to the ship before the weather hit! We had been lucky and had quite a pleasant sunny morning, but by mid afternoon the clouds had gathered and rain was imminent! A whirlwind tour of the area, but well worth the effort - we both had a great time and will def have to return to Jamaica at some time to explore Montego Bay, Runaway Bay, etc!
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