When I imagine a trip to Jamaica, I imagine a bobsled team. You know, the winter sport with ice and snow and frozen tracks. A slight obsession with the movie Cool Runnings fueled my early views on Jamaica, so it’s a little hard for me to think of this warm, tropical island without thinking of ice and snow at the same time.
Known mainly for two main cruise ports – Ocho Rios (known as Ochi) and Montego Bay (known as MoBay) – Jamaica isn’t going to be the setting of Frozen 2 anytime soon, despite my paradoxical view of it. It’s actually the real deal when it comes to tropical islands – miles and miles of beaches, idyllic tropical weather, lush foliage, rainforests and stunning waterfalls.
Water – and not ice – makes up a lot of the island’s trademarks. Near Ochi, Dunn’s River Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean and probably one of the most photographed. These waterfalls flow down almost 600 feet and cascade directly into the Caribbean Sea. You can climb this natural wonder in about an hour or hour and a half (usually with the assistance of a local guide). For more water action, check out river boarding or white water rafting in either Ochi or MoBay.
Almost as addictive as those songs from Frozen are those of the island’s greatest export: Bob Marley. His legacy and music live on today all over the world. When you visit Ochi, you can visit the areas were Bob Marley grew up (a quiet village about an hour and a half away called Nine Mile), lived and even his final resting place.
Don’t be fooled by all the American trappings in MoBay – this second-largest Jamaican city is the spot for more of that famous reggae music and regularly features some of the best live music and concerts around. This port town also features a fair amount of Jamaica’s famous beach-lined resorts, and those resorts love to sell day passes to cruise passengers. Sipping a Jamaican Rum Punch or Hummingbird by the pool or sparkling surf of the Caribbean is a great way to enjoy all the sunshine Jamaica serves up. Fun fact: Several of these exclusive resorts are built on the remains of old sugar cane plantations, and you still can find some of those historic buildings on the properties today.
And if you still can’t let go of the winter and bobsled connection to this island – like me – Jamaica has just the thing for you. Located at Mystic Mountain (near the Ochi port), there’s a signature Bobsled Jamaica ride that takes you down a 1,000-meter long track installed into the side of the mountain. Because there’s no ice or snow at all involved, it’s good to know that Mystic Mountain is really a rainforest adventure park with the Sky Explorer (a chairlift that carries you 700 feet in the air) and a Zip-Line Canopy tour.
Clearly this writer needs to get snow, ice and Frozen off the brain. I think a Jamaica excursion will cure that – hope to see you there soon!