Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Day Trip to the Blue Hole from Falmouth, Jamaica

I may be a bit behind, but I'm finally working on posts about the ports from our most recent cruise... 
Blue Hole Jamaica
Our first big port stop on the Allure of the Seas was Falmouth, Jamaica. I was really excited about this and did a lot of research for all the adventurous fun we could have for the day. Of course there is always Dunn’s River Falls, however we really prefer things a little more off-the-beaten-path, where there will be less crowds. That led me to the excursion that included time at the Blue Hole. This particular excursion described itself as a tubing adventure to the Blue Hole. In actuality it included spending the morning at the Blue Hole (after a 1.5 hour drive that was not mentioned in the description), then getting back in the van to head to the tubing run, which ended at our lunch destination. 
Jamaica Road Trip Views
At least if you are in a van for 3 hours, there are gorgeous views almost the whole way! 
I LOVED the gorgeous, adventurous options at the Blue Hole! It was an adrenaline junkies paradise! It starts with a guide led hike up the waterfall, which is followed by descending the waterfall by cliff jumping off different points in the falls into swimming holes below! The final leap to the bottom can be done by rope swing! It was absolutely awesome and EVERYTHING I had imagined it to be… almost. Below are a few things I wish I had before going, that might have led me to choosing different options to get to the Blue Hole. 
Blue Hole Jamaica
Cliff Jumping Jamaica
Waterfall Blue Hole Jamaica
The waterfall in the back is the one you can climb (also pictured at the bottom of the post intro shot). 
What ultimately sold me on the Blue Hole, over Dunn’s River (other than the lack of crowds), was the fact that there is still a portion of the falls that you can climb up- in a similar fashion to Dunn’s River. The hike you do to the top of the Blue Hole is more along the side of the falls, with certain spots where you will cut across through the water. However, there is a large section of the falls that has been smoothed over enough, by the cascading water, to allow for people to try to climb. They have fixed a rope to it to help you get up. I was so excited to try! Unfortunately, if you book through the ship, the tour you go with (Chukka Tour Group) doesn’t allow you to do that. We don’t typically book excursions through the ship, but when researching Jamaica there didn’t seem to be many options for booking on your own (at least for the Blue Hole). The ship excursions cost more and tend to be a little more strict, hence, why we don’t use them! Since we had never been to Jamaica and couldn’t really find options for renting your own car, we booked through the boat to make sure we had the insurance of getting back on-board before it left without us. While it was a good thing we did (we literally got back to the boat within a minute of time to board), I hated all the restrictions. We were forced to wear life jackets, which are horrible for cliff jumping, and we weren’t allowed to do some of the more exciting parts of the Blue Hole, such as the waterfall climb! Plus, I would have much preferred to spend all our time at the Blue Hole, exploring and jumping off cliffs. While the tubing was fun too, it was similar to tubing I could do in the states. The guides that work the Blue Hole specifically (not with the Chukka tour group), said to book through an independent tour guide, so that you can do whatever you want while you are there. The Blue Hole guides would have let us do anything and kept apologizing that they couldn’t because they had to stay within the excursion group guidelines! The Blue Hole guides were really great!!

If you’re planning a trip to Jamaica, I would definitely recommend time at the Blue Hole!! I would love to go back and be able to do the things we didn’t get to and just spend more time exploring the falls and swimming in the pools. Due to time our tour kept pushing us along. I did sneak away for a minute to swim under the fall and it was totally worth the guide they sent back to drag me away and make me stick with the group!!
Swimming in a waterfall
Tubing in Jamaica Chukka
River tubing views
*Another note if you do book through the boat- the Chukka tour guides will try to tell you that you HAVE TO have close-toed water shoes. I had bought a pair of Chacos- that I had been eyeing- specifically for this trip, knowing they would be good for the waterfall climbing. However, they were not close-toed and Babe actually had no water shoes. So they stop you by a little water shoe hut on the side of the road and tell you if you didn’t bring any that you MUST buy some or you can’t do the Blue Hole. This is a lie!! Half of our bus bought shoes, but we risked it, and are very thankful we did! There were no rules at the Blue Hole saying you had to have shoes. Most of the people there were bare foot. We are pretty sure our tour guides knew the people at the shoe hut and were in some kind of deal together. We are all for supporting the local economy, but not because we are forced to and definitely not for water shoes! To be safe either bring your own or just know that you really don’t need them.

If you have the freedom to either rent a car or book through a private tour group, I would definitely recommend doing that! If you are on a cruise though, it might be worth it to not risk it and just book through the boat. While there was a lot I would have liked to change, Jamaica was one of the ports where I could have seen us getting stuck somewhere and not making it back to the ship in time for departure. Everything was far away and roads were hard to navigate, so- while I would have loved the freedom- I am also very thankful the ship would have been forced to wait for us since we booked through them.

**I've decided it would be fun to ask Babe his point of view (get a guy's perspective); being a man of very few words you can always except something short and sweet. So here it is... 
Babe’s “Man-Point-of-View”:  The bus ride sucks; the scammers got most of the people in the van, but me and the guy from Germany weren’t being fooled (into buying the water shoes)!


Have you ever been to Jamaica?
What fun things did you do while you were there?

34 comments:

  1. Fun!! When we stopped in post it was to Ocho Rios and we mostly looked around the shops and got drunk at Margaritaville and almost missed the boat haha. Would love to visit more of Jamaica more thoroughly! #WanderfulWednesday
    (www.caliglobetrotter.wordpress.com)

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    1. You gotta love a good time at Margaritaville though, haha!! If you visit Ocho Rios again you can also get to the Blue Hole from there if it seems like something you would like to do. I actually think it's closer to Ocho Rios.

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  2. I like to go on tours as well if renting a car is just too much of a hastle and it looks like you had a pretty good time :)

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  3. I have never been to Jamaica but it seems like you had a great time there. maybe i should consider Jamaica too.

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    1. It's definitely worth considering!! Especially if you ever plan to do a cruise!

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  4. Not been to Jamaica yet, but from your photos this looks like a great spot to visit. Glad you outwitted the scammers!

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  5. Looks like a great place to visit. A pity though you had to do the ships excursion. I have never been on a cruise before but if I do I will try and book my tours independently.

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    1. Yes, definitely try that if you can! We LOVE cruising, but like to have more freedom on port days!!

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  6. Exhilarating! That sounds like a fantastic adventure. I never realized how big Jamaica was until a few months ago when I really started looking into the island. The blue hole looks lovely.

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    1. I know, I never realized that either, but it's definitely pretty good sized!! If you ever make it there, the Blue Hole is definitely worth a stop if you have time.

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  7. Looks beautiful! I love waterfalls and nothing beats some hiking, fresh natural water pools, and waterfall climbing ! Looks like a great trip

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  8. Cliff jumping is something I did few months ago in Kawasan falls. Al those canyoneering adventures are awesome.

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    1. Ahhh, awesome!! Thanks for the tip on a good spot. I am always looking for another cliff jumping experience!

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  9. Cliff jumping looks like so much fun- what a great day you had!

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  10. woow looks so fun!! I wish we had waterfall like this nearby to swimm around!!

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  11. Oooh what fun....jumping into the waterfall and being under it. What an adventure. Loved the pristine surroundings in your picture. I can well imagine what a good time you had.

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  12. Wow looks awesome, I have always wanted to try cliff jumping but I get so scared, it's the only adrenalin activity I can't do. How do you find the courage to jump, I am always scared I will hurt myself!

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    1. I make my husband or someone else go first typically, lol!! If they get hurt, then I won't jump. So far they have come out unharmed, so I give it a go!! There's been a few times that I have hit the water funny (feels like getting slapped), but the sting usually goes away in a few seconds! Hope you give it a try sometime!! It's definitely a great rush!!

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  13. Inspite of the restrictions of activities in Blue Hole,,, overall you had a great time in Jamaica... Thanks for sharing some tips also,,,

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  14. This looks like my kind of day! Hiking, cliff jumping, swimming, what fun! I tend to look for things off the beaten path as well, so this looks lovely! I'm usually a bit afraid of things like cliff jumping, but I usually also make myself do it :P

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    1. And that's the best kind of thrill; being afraid and doing it anyways! Get it!!

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  15. WOW it sounds so exciting. Good read. I did a similar thing in Philippines.

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  16. This looks so fun, and a little scary (for those scared of heights like me). I remember doing a lazy river type excursion in Jamaica but there was a lot less adventure and a lot more drinking involved!

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    1. Haha, yeah, not too much drinking with this trip. Though our lunch (after all activities were finished) included an endless supply of rum punch!

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  17. I also took a Royal Caribbean cruise recently, but we didn't stop in Jamaica. It looks like fun even if there was a water shoe scam. I would love to see the Blue Hole for myself someday.

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    1. Hope you make it happen!! We loved it and getting to experience so many different islands in one trip is one of the main reasons we love to cruise!

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  18. I got an invitation for a press Media trip for Jamaica but couldn't make it as I didn't had visa. But would definitely visit there soon!

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    1. Hope you get to do that soon! Sorry you couldn't make it for the media trip.

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  19. Seems like you had a fabulous time jumping into waterfalls and frolicking in the water :) The name 'Blue hole' had me intrigued initially. Such a fun day trip.

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  20. I too like the sound of the blue hole because there are not so many people there. I have been looking for things to do in Jamaica on my next visit. The hike up there sounds a challenge too.

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