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Bonding In JamaicaJune 22, 2009 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
Chukka Caribbean Adventures' horseback rides are all-terrain affairs
Got clients looking for some good, old-fashioned family fun in Jamaica? Travel Agent recently toured some attractions that would be perfect for the clan that craves soft adventure experiences together.
Jamaica has more than 150 attractions, the most of any Caribbean island, so it wasn’t easy to narrow them down. But we gave it our best shot and zeroed in on four of our favorite attractions. Here they are (in no particular order):
Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica: This property at Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios—considered the hottest attraction in Jamaica—has been collecting some awards in the Caribbean lately. Travel Agent visited this more-than-100-acre stretch of land and took part in its most popular excursion: the bobsled ride.
Custom-designed bobsleds travel over stainless-steel rails on a 1,000-meter gravity-driven ride through the forest. Like any good roller coaster, it’s absolutely terrifying and 100 percent safe at the same time. I had to flip my cap backward to keep it from flying off during the ride, grab the handle bars until my knuckles turned white and scream my lungs out as I raced at about 100 miles per hour. The handlebars allow you to control the bobsled’s speed. If you push them forward, you fly. If you pull them back, you glide. I pushed those darn things as far forward as they would go, giving myself a temporary facelift. I rode alone but if you don’t want your child flying solo, you can have two bobsleds attached to each other. The front sled rider controls the speed while the passenger on the rear sled enjoys the ride.
Mystic Mountain also offers ziplining and a Sky Lift Explorer that provides beautiful views from high above the trees. Agents can either book at www.rainforestbobsledjamaica.com or contact Norma Bailey-Moore, sales and logistics manager, at 876-469-4135 or [email protected].
Dolphin Cove: Considered Jamaica’s best marine attraction, Dolphin Cove has a natural cove surrounded by 5 acres of tropical rainforest. In addition to swimming and playing with the dolphins, visitors can also hold, feed, swim and learn about Caribbean sharks. Travel Agent didn’t try this, but perhaps your clients will have more courage.
Admission allows families to captain their own mini boats and explore the coast, snorkel and interact with stingrays, take a glass-bottom kayak ride, watch a shark show or view exotic birds, snakes and iguanas on a jungle trail walk. Agents should contact Roger Kerr, executive assistant to the vice president of marketing and public relations, at 876-795-2272 or 876-795-2795, ext. 247, or [email protected].
Dunn’s River Falls: This is, perhaps, Jamaica’s most well-known attraction, but it wasn’t until our last visit that we got to finally climb the falls. There really is no better family bonding experience than this. When you climb the falls, your guide will instruct you to hold the hand of the persons before and behind you, forming a chain of leverage. What better metaphor for a family?
We tried this with a group of cruise passengers, so our experience wasn’t quite as good as the ones your family clients may enjoy. After all, the lady in front of me was a little on the older side and didn’t really appear as though she could pull my weight up the slippery rocks, and the gentleman behind me was a middle-aged Frenchman wearing nothing but a black Speedo. Enough said.
Dunn's River Falls, according to its website, is “a living and growing phenomenon [that] continuously regenerates itself from deposits of travertine rock, the result of precipitation of calcium carbonate from the river, as it flows over the falls.” In plain English, that means that it’s drop-dead gorgeous. The small, dome-shaped cataracts are usually associated with thermal spring activity found in limestone caves. This, combined with its proximity to the sea, gives Dunn’s River the distinction of being the only natural attraction of its kind in the Caribbean. Agents can contact Laura Heron, acting general manager, at 876-974-5015, or [email protected].
Chukka Caribbean Adventures’ Horseback Ride N’ SwiM: This was the first Caribbean excursion this writer went on about three years ago, and it has only gotten more popular since. (Tell families that the little ones need to be at least six years old.) A bus ride along the scenic coastline passes the quaint town of St. Ann’s Bay—the location of the original Spanish capital of the island—to the Chukka Cove Polo Club. The three-hour horseback ride takes in Richmond and Llandovery—two of the oldest sugar estates on the island, with property titles dating back to the 1660s—and passes along the beachfront to Chukka Cove’s private beach. Here, your clients can take a shower and relax while the guides re-saddle the horses for the return trip to Chukka Cove. Later, they can browse the gift shop filled with Jamaican treasures or enjoy a cold drink and jerk chicken from the Chukka Grill and Bar. Travel Agent is sure your family clients will have lasting images of this unforgettable ride. For details, visit www.chukkacaribbean.com. Agents should contact Lance Gibbs, e-business manager for Chukka, at 877-4CHUKKA or 877-424-8552, or [email protected].
Thrill seekers can hop into the bobsled ride at Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios