I admit it. I’ve become a bit of a travel snob. Gone are the days when I was just thrilled to be leaving the country. Now, it seems that unless the destination is far away and relatively obscure, my inner snob considers itself above all that. And just like any snob, the antidote for such arrogance is a heaping serving of humble pie. I got just such a serving when I disembarked my cruise ship in one of the most routine ports of call in the entire Caribbean–Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Though located in a lovely setting with lush green forest spilling down the mountainsides to the azure blue water of the Caribbean, it’s a scene I’d seen many times before, and like I said, I’ve become a bit of a snob, so it takes a little more than that to impress me. As I saw the hordes of tourists disgorging from the ship and packing into their waiting tour buses for the ride to Dunn’s River Falls–just as I was–my expectations dropped, and I thought this excursion could never live up to its billing as a world-class site with so many people converging on it at once. But the humble pie was ready to be served, and as our group gathered at the base and looked up at the human chains working their way up the multi-tiered cascades, I figuratively had my mouth full.
Suddenly the throngs of fellow tourists didn’t seem such a nuisance, and I quite enjoyed the unspoken camaraderie as we all made our way through the jungle and scampered over wet rocks in between stops to take pictures. Having been to New Zealand, Alaska, and the National Parks of the west USA, I thought I’d become a bit jaded to the spectacle of falling water. Not here. Each level had its own character, and watching the dappled sunlight reflecting in the swirling pools, I told my inner snob to choke on it.
Once that was done, I thought that the show was all over and that there’d be nothing else worth seeing. Well, apparently humble pie is best served with gravy, and our gravy was in the form of the swift running turquoise waters of the White River. Floating on an inflated inner tube and meandering along the curves brimming with green, even my inner snob had to finally admit that he was badly mistaken.
So for all you elitist travelers that consider yourselves above visiting any place that doesn’t require getting thirty-seven vaccinations, remember this one important fundamental truth: If a place is popular, its not without reason. Ocho Rios is one of those places. So get your bathing suit on, check the seal on your waterproof camera, and get ready to eat some humble pie. And since this is Jamaica, it might even be available in the form of brownies 😉