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Tour of the USA. From Orlando to the Western Caribbean. Jamaica

Gian Luka • 6 minutes read • May 22nd, 2017

Let's continue our journey (Tour of the USA. From Orlando to the Western Caribbean. Freedom of the Seas). Jamaica was our next port after Haiti. Though we associated Jamaica with Bob Marley, cannabis, and reggae, we chose a democratic vacation and decided to book a tour on the ship.

In fact, Jamaica is not the safest island in the Western Caribbean, and the island is really not the beach one. It also influenced our choice. We ordered a tour of "Green Grotto Caves + Dunn's River Falls". A guide met us at the port. I should note that the tour service is arranged at the highest level, and we easily found our guide. We arrived in the caves in about 40 minutes.
Some information about the caves:
Green Grotto Caves are named after the green algae covering the cave walls. The cave has several levels, exits to the surface, and a beautiful underground lake. The length of the cave is about one and a half kilometers. In addition to the tourist route, there are "wild caves" untouched by civilization. Because of their history, these caves had a lot of names. (Some photos were taken from the caves official website)

Indians were the first inhabitants of the caves (ceramic artifacts were found there). While Jamaica was under the British rule, runaway slaves and Spaniards (corsairs) used to hide in the cave. After the First World War, the smugglers (Cubans) traded in caves, and at the end of World War II, Jamaica used caves as a warehouse for barrels with rum.

An interesting fact: the caves were involved in the filming of the James Bond "Live and Let Die" movie. It was the decoration of the Dr. Kananga's underground base on the island of San Monique. Here's a film frame:

I should note that there's a myriad of bats in the caves. According to our guide, there are 21 species, including the rare ones. Bats live right under the ceiling, and there are hundreds of them. However, they did not create any discomfort; rather, it was interesting to watch their behavior.

As for the underground lake, it is unique because it has brackish water. That's why there are representatives of marine fauna living in it.

We did not meet the sea reptiles there, but we met such a sleepy cutie:

Lemons grow near the cave:

The route passing over the surface impressed me very much. Somewhere in the middle of the route, the cave comes to the surface, and a part of the route goes through the jungle. It was fascinating. Just like in the second part of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

By the way, we were given hard hats with shower caps before the visit: safety first. :)

After the caves, we headed to Dunn's River Falls. The waterfall was about half an hour's drive from the caves. We had to climb the waterfall's ledges from the point where it runs into the Caribbean Sea.

Some info about the waterfall:
The height of the waterfall is about 180 meters. The waterfall consists of many ledges and falls directly into the Caribbean Sea. You can see the waterfall in the James Bond "Dr. No" movie. Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) was walking near this waterfall.
The waterfall is beautiful, and we liked this kind of tour. It was a new experience for us. We felt like James Bond climbing the wet rocks in a rapid stream. Although water is quite cold, and I would advise you to wear rubber shoes because it is very slippery and there are sharp stones sometimes. Although the local guides easily walk barefoot. Here are several of our photos and the photos taken from the waterfall's official website.

The waterfall is located in the territory of the National Park. If you have free time, you should take a walk in the park. It is beautiful!

I recommend you to take your camera, but you should take care of protecting the camera from water. Photos will be excellent. The local paparazzi photograph the entire process of your ascent, but the price of these pictures is unreasonable, and their quality is doubtful.

After the waterfalls, we got to the local souvenir market. As always, the local citizens immediately surrounded us offering different stuff. You can feel a persistent smell of "Rastamen" in the market, as well as in other places where the local people hang out. :)
According to our guide, drugs including cannabis are strictly prohibited in Jamaica. :) However, if a person believes in Rastafari (it turned out to be a religion), he is allowed to use, since the authorities of Jamaica can not interfere people because of their religious beliefs. 

On the way back, we listened to reggae music played by the Bob Marley's disciples, though we did not hear his music during the whole excursion.

Jamaica has a very decent port. We were in Falmouth. As I understood, the port was built specifically for cruise companies, or even for their money.

Here's the Royal Caribbean International's video of this tour in Jamaica

Our next stop were the Cayman Islands (Tour of the USA. From Orlando to the Western Caribbean. Freedom of the Seas. Grand Cayman and Cozumel).
Author: Gian Luka
Translated by: Olesya Zhukova

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