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Manu | 8 April 2016 | 2 comments
Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios is the entrance door to the luscious Jamaican jungle

As always, it is when you step out of the capital, that a country reveals itself. Same with Jamaica.

We were 42 on the mini van from Kingston to Ocho Rios. That minivan by law should carry 12 people. But law here is something that adapts to yourself and to your needs.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

On the overcrowded bus with the Jamaicans

The travel to Ocho Rios, in the North of Jamaica, has been a travel itself. People talking all the time, laughing, chatting, screaming, all this on a super mini van with super loud music in it. And me. In the middle of all of them. At the beginning people look at you as as weird animal, wondering what the hell I am doing in there. But after a while they get used to my presence and they almost ignore me. It is when I don’t expect it that a man from the sit ahead, turns and asks if all is good with me. At that point, I understand this is how I am gonna meet the real Jamaica, right in that tiny village of the North where I am heading.

And I was not wrong. Kemar, a couchsurfer with whom I had been in contact earlier this month, came to pick me up and brought me up the mountains surrounding Ocho Rios, to a little village called Three Hills, where a small community lives in a kind of little village, far away from the mess of downtown.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Kemar, my Rastafarian couchsurfing host

Together with him I explored the local world around. Ocho Rios is famous for one touristic waterfall up in the forest, the Dunn’s River Falls, where tourists pay to enter and walk on it. Not everybody knows that that forest is full of waterfalls like that, and they are free and it is where Jamaican people go to spend the hottest hours of the torrid days of late March.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

One of the hundreds of waterfalls hidden into Jamaican jungle

The temperature outside is about 35 degrees, until you enter that jungle and suddenly the atmosphere becomes fresher and more joyful. The entire jungle around seems to be filled with waterfalls, till the ocean. They form or get formed by white watery rivers that transform the green majestic forests into something too beautiful and peaceful to be described.. These fairy tale, untouched forests are literally populated by locals and non that come here to do the weirdest adventure tours of Jamaica. The waterfall where we decided to sit by was the waterfalls where some crazy guys use to climb the waters down with a rope.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

The national sport in the jungle of Jamaica is to climb the waterfalls down with a rope

The thing is not crazy enough till you discover these guys actually run tours where they bring tourists to do that. And people do it. And not only. When you discover these crazy guys can actually walk down and even up the waterfall, like some sort of spider water men without rope you are completely blowed away by their ability. Thy must have done it so many times since they were young, that it seems their feet are completely used to it and don’t feel the slippery surfaces anymore.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Locals are able to walk up and down the waterfall without any rope

Beside that, the little lake just under one of the waterfalls is full of those little tiny fish used everywhere for fish saunas. And it comes for free. You can sit there and stare at all the human and natural landscape that slides in front of your eyes, in the middle of an ancient forest of Jamaica, populated by its noisy music people, and just enjoy all that beauty for free.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

A comic scene: a girl scared to jump surrounded by locals who try to help her

Ocho Rios is a very small port town with good vibes. People seem a bit more relaxed than in Kingston, said that it is also true that the company of a Rastafarian makes thing easier in town. People have a lot of respect for Rastafarians, here in Jamaica. When they see them in the street they love to call them out loud: “Hey, Rastafarian!”, and often if they pass by next to them they like to greet them and shake their hand. Rastafarian people are a sort of other social category that here in Jamaica is seen with a good eye in the society.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Meeting the locals: my favourite part of every travel across the world!

The society here is not South American, as in their neighborough Cuba. Here the society, the world surround you is hotter, it is Caribbean’s, it is in a constant explosion of colors and vibes, like the Nature surrounding it. And it is African as well. Africa is their min influence, even if they often don’t like to admit it. This reminds me of a sentence by Pete Tosh that nowhere like here seems so accurate to mention: “It doesn’t matter where you come from. As long as you are black, then you come from Africa”. Indeed. Here, in Jamaica, you feel the truth of these words. They say this country is dangerous and violent, but because is seen from our point of you, the point of view of the whites, living in our comfort, and once again, judging something we don’t know anything about it.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Jamaicans relaxing time

This trip across Jamaica is tough, physically and mentally. Everyday there is a myriads of little pieces to be seen to have a general, fair idea of this country. This leaves you mentally tired sometimes, to be careful, to understand the language, the communication, the gestures, to find a safe way though the people, the see the safe way, to listen to the sound of those people in the mess of noises they are able to produce, and also to start trusting them, something not easy to do around here but that opens up a new world if done with the right people. Jamaica is like this. It needs to be given time to be understood and then loved. It needs not be judged but to be learned and heard.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Jamaican chilled lifestyle is all embodied in the Rastafarian people and their philosophy

You need to get into its rythm and once in , you won’t be able to leave it anymore.


Ocho Rios, Jamaica


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