Jamaica: Explore the Incredible Ocho Rios

Located in northern Jamaica, Ocho Rios has become a tourist destination that includes a cruise port, bustling beaches, many hotels, but most importantly, a destination that offers unique explorations.

Here our ship, the Msc Seaside, arrives at 9:00 am and departs at 5:00 pm. Plenty of time to explore, but we decided to take the MSC excursion. Among the various options offered, there was the one we chose: by raft on the Martha Brae River.

The trip takes 5 hours, starting with a scenic bus ride along the coast (about an hour) to the Martha Brae Rafting Center. Once there, we are treated to a typical Jamaican drink at an open-air wooden bar surrounded by stalls and vegetable gardens. Then the real adventure begins as we board a two-person bamboo raft to explore what the locals call “the land of wood and water”.

We traveled along the river, which took us through bamboo groves where we could admire the local flora and fauna. During the trip, our “captain and coxswain” Wilkie told us the legend of the Martha Brae River, once called Rio Matibereon. The story tells of witches, gold, caves and some very greedy Spaniards. The trip ended when we reached Rafters’ Rest where the bus was waiting for us.

We really enjoyed the excursion and it was very relaxing. The price of the excursion is $79.90 each and we bought it right on the ship at the excursion office.

Back at the port, we walked around the stalls and all the little shops near the ship. I recommend that you always carry your ID with you when you disembark and leave your passport in your cabin so that if you lose your ID, you always have a replacement on the ship without the risk of having to go to the local police and report the incident and risk not being able to get back onboard. Jamaica is a very beautiful place, but not a very safe place; I recommend taking care of your backpacks and bags.

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Valentina Rigamonti